Now that, my friends, is what we call a total team effort! Wait, that's not what we were looking for?
Well, that stuff they said about the difficulties in traveling to Seattle that we poo-pooed? Legit. Worries over having 11 days off after such an emotional, watershed victory in the Meadowlands? Confirmed. Thoughts that we just aren't any better than the .500 team that ended last season? Now, plausible. The Cowboys took a trip to the Pacific Northwest and got their rears kicked, 27-7.
In the most inexplicable ways, yet so unmistakingly familiar, the Dallas Cowboys broke down in every facet of the game. First it was the special teams; twice in the opening few minutes. Then it was the offense struggling. Finally, the defense succumbed to the total team air of sucktitude. The defense gave up second-half drives of 90 and 88 yards to the Seahawks led by Russell Wilson. Russell Wilson, folks. The themes of the day? Concentration, physical toughness and good old fashion want-to. Dallas failed to employ any of them.
When it all started piling on, it appeared that the Cowboys stopped fighting. Which might be the worse indictment that could be made for a professional team. You know what they say about not giving full effort on the football field; it's the gateway to injury. Well, we got a lot of those as well.
Follow the jump for more of a recap of the awfulness.
The Cowboys started off the game in just about the worst imaginable way. Embattled backup running back (and it pains me to type that) Felix Jones fumbled the opening kickoff and gave the ball right to the Seahawks. Fortunately for Dallas, Rob Ryan's defense was able to duplicate the goal line stand they produced Week One against the Giants and held the Seahawks to just a field goal.
Unfortunately, the offense wasn't ready to respond and the special teams were still in a stupor. The Cowboys went three and out, then proceeded to have a punt blocked when Dan Connor was beaten badly, giving Chris Jones no shot of getting the kick off. Jut like that, it was 10-0 Seattle.
Dallas' offense would dominate the rest of the first half yardage-wise; but even they were riddled with mistakes. The usually reliable Jason Witten had three drops credited to him while Dez Bryant threw in a couple of his own. Tony Romo would go from escape artist making dazzling plays to interception guy. He only had one on the game, but there were at least three other passes that went directly to Seahawks players. He did complete a beautiful lob to Miles Austin for a second quarter score, but each great play was matched by an errant throw or a drop.
Not wanting to be outdone, the Cowboys defense decided that it would wilt midway through the second quarter. They allowed a dink-and-dunk offense to push them five yards backwards on running plays and gain seperation on passing ones.
To me, the Cowboys made a very smart decision late in the half, that many questioned on Twitter. On 3rd and 3 from around the Seahawks 40, Romo's pass was tipped and fell incomplete. Many thought Dallas should go for it, but when you're team is struggling while playing a rookie quarterback I think it's the correct call to just get to halftime.
Did nobody remember the 2010 season opener against Washington?
Alas, it was to no avail as the Cowboys emerged from the locker room with an even more lethargic effort than they went in with.
Dallas held Seattle on the first possession but wasn't able to capitalize as the teams exchanged punts. Along the way, Dez Bryant fumbled a catch (he also fumbled a punt, then recovered) that was scooped up by Doug Free. That might have been one of the best efforts of the ball game.
When Seattle got the ball back, they were finally able to break big gains against the Dallas defense with the run with gains of 8, 6 and finally Marshawn Lynch for 36. Victor Butler, subbing for Anthony Spencer was the culprit that allowed the jaunt. Two plays later, Wilson would find backup tight end Anthony McCoy wide open for a 22 yard score.
The rout was on. Along the way, Cowboys fans had to suffer the indignation of Sean Lee having his clock cleaned on a blindside block by Golden Tate. The hit should have been illegal under the NFL rules, as Tate launched himself under the chin of a defenseless receiver. As a great microcosm of the game, a penalty was called; on Dallas for a ticky-tack hit out of bounds. There was nothing called on Tate.
Lee seemed to have every right to being concussed, but willed himself back into the game. Dallas also suffered injuries to Barry Church (early) and Gerald Sensabaugh (later); leaving their safeties in a state of McCray-Silva. Defensive linemen Kenyon Coleman and Marcus Spears also went down in the second half.
It seems the biggest injury suffered, however, was the one from training camp that had Jay Ratliff as a "DNP-injured". His presence wasn't needed against New York, but it was ridiculously missed in Seattle. The fact that a one-dimensional team was able to create clean pockets throughout the game and running lanes in the second half is inexcusable for Rob Ryan's defense. The Cowboys seemed to barely bring any pressure when it appeared they could have pressed the receivers and sent extra men.
Apparently the game plan was to let Russell Wilson beat himself instead of forcing the issue. One must give Seattle credit for making DeMarcus Ware a coverage linebacker for several plays; but Ryan needs to scheme him free. Period, point blank.
Of course, there is plenty more to discuss, but at the end of it all Dallas was simply inept in an opportunity to create momentum for itself today. Golden opportunity lost and now the team will have to power off, take out the cartridge and blow in it.
Valley Ranch and a scratch to start from await this 1-1 team.