If I told you going into the Dallas Cowboys showdown with the Seattle Seahawks that one team would totally outplay the other on every side of the ball, while holding their opponent to 34 second half yards in a 27-7 blowout win, right away many would think that the Cowboys won.
But that would be wrong.
Shockingly, it was the Cowboys that got outplayed at every turn, losing a 27-7 blowout on the road in Seattle, and looking like a far cry from the team that beat the Giants opening night. There are many reasons things went south for the Cowboys, and it started right from the opening kickoff.
The Cowboys had their backs against the wall early, fumbling the opening kickoff and losing the fumble to Seattle, setting up great field position. Dallas would hold Seattle to just a field goal, but on the next possession, Dallas would see a punt get blocked, and the Seahawks had a 10-0 lead less than 5 minutes into the game.
The Cowboys used a ton of DeMarco Murray in the first half, giving him the ball 8 times for 38 yards, and helping set up a 22-yard TD strike to Miles Austin. But those would be the only points the Cowboys would muster, and that first half would be the only time DeMarco Murray proved effective. Four carries for 6 yards in the second half meant that the Cowboys totally abandoned the run, something that had been working effectively to that point.
Dallas also got beat on the line. The O-line couldn’t stop the Seattle rush, forcing Romo to scramble most of the afternoon. The D-line couldn’t get pass the line of the Seahawks to apply pressure on rookie QB Russell Wilson. As a matter of fact, Dallas barely pressured at all, choosing instead to lay back and give Wilson all the time he needed to make his passes.
The pressure was so lacking that even without left tackle Russell Okung playing for Seattle, DeMarcus Ware was held off the stat sheet. In the Giants game, there was a backup left tackle, and the Cowboys blitzed like there was no tomorrow. But against the Seahawks and their backup left tackle, they played soft.
They couldn’t stop the run, allowing Marshawn Lynch to run wild for 122 yards, and they couldn’t stop the pass. And to top it all off, Sean Lee got laid out on a helmet-to-helmet hit, and there was no penalty called. But me ranting about how bad the replacement refs are is for another time. The fact is, the Cowboys still would have lost even if that had been called their way.
I wouldn’t hit the panic button yet, especially since the Seahawks might actually make some noise this year. But there was a lot wrong with this team. Dez Bryant dropped catchable balls, Jason Witten dropped catchable passes, and Kevin Ogletree was nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, Felix Jones is making a good case for being traded as he is totally worthless to this team right now, both on special teams and in the running game.
Up next are the gritty Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who blew a large 4th quarter lead against the Giants and are hungry for a win. Being a Rutgers fan, I am very familiar with Greg Schiano’s coaching style, so if Dallas doesn’t game plan right, they could be 1-2. There will be a lot of disguised blitzes and coverage, mcuh like what the Seahawks did. The Tampa Bay defense can be tough, and their offense is scoring points, so the Boys will need to be sure to contain that.
Right now it’s time to focus on next Sunday. If the Cowboys lose that game, then maybe it’ll time to be panic. But for right now, I think the panic occurring in the local media is ridiculous and unnecessary. Maybe the Cowboys lost a game that they otherwise should have won, but no one really expected the Cowboys to beat the Giants, and they did. 1-1 is still 1-1, no matter how you get there. But if you ask me, I’d rather that win be against a division rival.
The Cowboys are still a better team from last year, but they did show some of their vulnerabilities from last year when things don’t start going their way. The key is sticking to what they do best, and they’ll be fine.