Despite a first half filled with concentration errors and penalties, the Dallas Cowboys gathered themselves enough to defeat the overmatched Seattle Seahawks, 23-13. When one looks at the stats from the game, it will appear that the Cowboys righted their ship this Sunday, but a closer evaluation will reveal several areas that the team still needs to solidify.
On the bright side, Tony Romo played a superb game, throwing for 279 yards, two scores and several beautiful passes over the Seahawks secondary. His first scoring pass was on a great play call, where TE John Phillips motioned out wide left. TE Witten stayed inline left as the Seattle defenders discussed whom to cover, then raced up the seam and caught the ball in stride to head in for the score. He'd also connect with Laurent Robinson in the back of the end zone on third down from within the red zone.
That score improved the team's red zone efficiency for the game, which was abysmal early on. The Cowboys were inside the 10 three times in the first half, twice at the one yard line, and only came away with six points. One of those failures came when Dez Bryant fumbled after catching a slant and racing to the goal line only to be met with tremendous force by a Seattle safety. Another failure came after DeMarco Murray raced down to the one; but the team failed to convert on the next three downs.
Murray continued to impress, running around and through the Seattle defense all day long. He amassed 139 yards on the ground and added another 47 through the air. Whatever doubt remained, it appears that Murray will be the Cowboys lead back for the forseeable future after repeated scenes of him putting his head down and keeping his legs churning.
The defense kept Seattle at bay for most of the game, but that had more to do with Seattle's inept passing game than defensive stoutness. Marshawn Lynch ran for 135 yards. Once the Cowboys took a 17 point lead in the fourth, behind Dan Bailey's third field goal, the D allowed the Seahawks to march down the field to score a meaningless touchdown instead of slamming the door shut on an inferior opponent. Meaningless only if you didn't pick the Cowboys to cover the 11.5 point spread.
Perhaps the second most important thing outside of the victory is the re-injury to Miles Austin's hamstring. He went out after a 37 yards catch in the second quarter.
BTB will have more on this victory in the coming days. For now, tell us what you're taking away from this game.