For the second week in a row, the Cowboys defeated their opponent in dominating fashion. The team's offensive, defensive, and special teams units outplayed, out-muscled, and simply outperformed Seattle on its way to a 38-17 victory.
As soon as the fourth quarter began, it was becoming more and more obvious that Dallas could not be caught. That felt good, but only for so long. Those scoring updates on FOX did little to shield us from the anxiety of how well the Eagles, the Cowboys' next opponents, were dismantling the .
Admit it, you were staring at that big, blue star on the turf at Cowboys Stadium, but the peripheral view of your imagination was skipping ahead to next week, to Lincoln Financial Field.
We, fans, usually use Monday and Tuesday to relish and reflect on Sunday's game. On Wednesday, we are ready to transition. Nevertheless, the players, the coaches, and the media are already thinking Philadelphia. It was evident from the very first question in today's press conference with Coach Phillips.
But before we look to the future, let's first look to the recent past to see how this team achieved its 5-2 record yesterday. Here's what Coach Phillips had to say today about the performance of his players against the Seahawks.
Make the jump.
DL: Phillips seemed most impressed with this group. He singled out Jay Ratliff for his ability to play injured, while maintaining his high performance level. He also credited Stephen Bowen with a nice game, saying he plays his role well.
LBs: Bobby Carpenter (6 tackles, 1 sack) was the first named mentioned, here. He said it's "good to see him step up" and that he seems to be getting better and better in his role. He also mentioned Keith Brooking's consistency (12 tackles, 1 sack) and DeMarcus Ware (8 tackles, 1 sack).
DBs: Phillips calls Jenkins and Scandrick the "sophomore sensations". He says that they challenged Scandrick during the week to regain the technique he had last year. Scandrick responded well, he said, noting that he was supposed to have help on the TD caught on him. He seemed pleased that Jenkins had a quiet game, which simply meant he was doing his job well; and, he credited Newman for "making plays".
OL: He said that Leonard Davis had one of his best games with "knockdowns" and "runovers".
RBs: Their performance, he collectively called "solid". Their pass-blocking continues to impress him.
WRs: The "confidence we have in those guys is warranted," Phillips said. He noted how well they run with the ball after the reception (singling out Hurd's score) and then poked fun at Miles Austin for his inablity to dunk the ball over the goalpost. He also noted that the two P.I. calls on Seattle should also be seen as "big plays" by Austin.
Romo/Roy: "Tony doesn't throw many bad balls," he said. He has faith, as do the rest of the coaches, that all the work they do in practice, along with the talent between the two will pan out. He likens it do Ware's lack of sacks early in the season. The players all just keep working harder and harder until it produces for them on the field.
ST: They have been "special." Other than his giving credit to Crayton and the return teams, Phillips likes what he sees from the coverage units. Buehler and McBriar help, and guys like Hurd, Pat Watkins, Victor Butler, and Alan Ball all have great games covering kicks.
Young players: Phillips stressed that getting Hurd, Kevin Ogletree, and Doug Free in the game was not a direct effect of having the game in hand. These are three young players that the coaches feel they wanted to get some more game experience.
Keith Brooking is excited about this team, but cautious about "drinking the Cowboy Kool-Aid".
"We are just now starting to see all the hard work and sacrifices we’ve made come into fruition, and it’s a good feeling," Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking said. "That’s the reason we play this game. This is so much fun. That’s the reason I came here — to be a part of Sundays like this. I’m just excited about my football team, our football team, the way we’re coming together."
"There’s a fine line, though. We need to enjoy it, but everyone’s going to be drinking the Cowboy Kool-Aid here and telling us how great we are and how good we’re doing. We have a long way to go and a lot of football to play. As long as we prepare the way we’ve been preparing and come out on the field with confidence on Sunday, we’re going to be right where we want to be."
Bobby Carpenter got in on the sack action yesterday, but this is the second straight game the defense has gotten off to a slow start.
"I've been saving them up," joked Carpenter, whose last sack before Sunday came on Dec. 16, 2006, when he dropped11/2 times in a win over the in Atlanta. "When you've got a team that can bring pressure from all angles, it makes it easy for guys to get sacks because they can't afford to double-team guys."
While Dallas celebrated having at least three sacks in each of its last five games, the Cowboys weren't happy about giving up points on their opponents' opening drive a second straight game.
"We performed well, but at the same time, we can't start off slow like this every Sunday," said Jay Ratliff, who had three tackles after being listed as questionable Friday with a knee injury. "We have to come out fired up and remain that way until the end."
The Dallas offense is more sweet than bitter right now. If Tony Romo can just get on the same page with a certain wide receiver, the sky would be the limit for this team.
On getting on the same page with Roy Williams:
"We have to watch the tape. We have to see why certain things are different ways. I missed him on a big route early in the game; I have to bring the ball down some. But he’s doing good. He’s running good routes and he’ll be fine. It’s just a matter of going back and looking at the tape and seeing what we have to do better. It’s just part of growing with a receiver or group."
Coach Phillips, yesterday, on the 9-11 disconnection.
"I still see Roy and Tony not on the same page," coach Wade Phillips said. "They're getting closer, they talk to each other afterwards a couple of times. Tony thought he was going to go there and vice versa, so we just got to keep working at that. Roy is tough to catch on that slant pass on the goal line."
Here is the transcript of Coach Phillips' post-game press conference, courtesy of Scout.com.
Remember, Romo and another "Bigg" time player allowed the Cowboys to restructure their contracts so that the team could afford to re-sign players, such as DeMarcus Ware. Great teamwork!
Tony Romo and Leonard Davis both let the Cowboys move some of their bonus money around in the spring of 2008 to save room for future signings, including Ware's extension. By shifting their bonus deferment Romo and Davis combined to save the Cowboys roughly $8 million against this season's cap.
Jason Witten's climb-up-the-TE-record books watch:
Witten’s 36 yards today gave him 5,283 for his career and allowed him to pass Russ Francis (5,262) and tiefor 16th all-time among league tight ends.
Witten caught four passes in today’s game to give him 466 for his career and break a tie with Mickey Shuler for ninth on the NFL’s all-time tight ends receptions list. He is 14 catches behind Jackie Smith (480) for eighth.
The punt return game is back on in Big D. Only five other guys have two TD-returns in one season for the team.
became the sixth Cowboy to have two punt returns for TDs in a season and only the second to do it in consecutive weeks.
Really, no false starts?
The pre-snap penalties that hounded the' offense in the previous two games were eliminated in Sunday's win against Seattle.
The Cowboys' offense ran 67 plays with only one penalty: the team-high fourth holding call of the season against tight end. It represented an improvement from the previous two games, when the offense had six false starts and one illegal formation.