Although it wasn't as aesthetically pleasing as most would want it, the Cowboys did defeat the Seahawks yesterday by two scores. That's something that isn't easy to do against a professional football team, and as always... a win is a win.
Bad, if not unexpected, news on the injury front for Dallas. OCC posted earlier that Miles Austin's hamstring injury is expected to keep him out for 2-4 weeks. Bummer. Fortunately the emergence of rookie DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys run game, along with the ascension of street free-agent Laurent Robinson lessen the blow a bit. Also, if there's ever a stretch where you are without your top offensive threat, these next four games would be it.
One can question whether Austin ever fully recovered from his Week 2 hamstring pull against the 49ers, a stance supported by his low numbers over the past three games. It appeared that he was on his way to a big game yesterday when he pulled up lame after a beautiful pass from Tony Romo down the right sideline. The first injury, as well as a tweak in preseason were to his left hammy. This one to his right. I'm just guessing, but hamstrings are important to receivers, right?
The good news for the Cowboys is that quarterback Tony Romo is getting healthy again. He felt the best on Sunday than anytime since suffering a fractured rib seven weeks ago. He completed 19 of 31 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns.
He also had an 11 yard scramble and took shots down the field.
It's no coincidence that Romo didn't take a pain killing injection before the game for first time since the injury.
"I felt healthy today," Romo said. "I felt like I was able to get out there and play at 100 percent. That is always a positive. It makes it easier to play."
Since an early-game pick against the New England defense three weeks ago, Romo has been extremely safe with the ball. His lone interception against the Eagles was at the (stone) hands of Martellus Bennett and he escaped the Seattle game without a single turnover. With a developing run game, this 'take-what-is-there' version of Romo might be exactly what the doctor ordered.
"Over the next two days, Monday and Tuesday, we'll look at it again and take another look and see if it's taking the same pattern," Lee said. "If it has, then we should make a decision Wednesday. If they feel I need more time, we'll rest it and see."
Because of the position he plays, Lee has to be able to use his arms to shed blockers.
"I can be out there, but if I can't use it there's no point," Lee said. "It's still very weak and that's part of the point."
I'd like to send a special shout out to Seahawks rookie tackle James Carpenter for making Anthony Spencer look like a competent pass rusher yesterday. Hopefully Almost Anthony will fall for the ruse and have a second half of the season like he did in 2009. This team has had no pass rush pressure outside of DeMarcus Ware.
For the fifth time in 2011 rookie offensive tackle James Carpenter (-4.3) graded worse than -3.0 overall for a game.... For the sixth time this season Carpenter gave up four total pressures and was a glaring weakness on the open side of the quarterback that the opposition was able to exploit.
On the Cowboys side of things, PFF suggested that Dallas might need to consider shuffling the starting lineup along the defensive front. Sean Lissemore has been a man-child in limited action so far this season; a trend that continued against Seattle.
Starting ends outplayed
The Cowboys will be glad for the depth that they are boasting at defensive end this season. Their starting pairing of Kenyon Coleman (-1.6) and Marcus Spears (-3.3) were poor this week and, in combination with the absence of Sean Lee and the poor play of his replacements, take a large portion of the blame for the Cowboys’ vulnerability to the Seahawks’ running game on Sunday. Fortunately for Dallas they are getting excellent play from their backups, Sean Lissemore (+2.4) and Jason Hatcher (+1.7). Lissemore’s two defensive stops were more than the starting pairing of Coleman and Spears combined for. Spears in particular must be beginning to fear for his starting spot, or at least seeing his snap count eroded into, as he is being comfortably outperformed by Lissemore to this point of the season.
Speaking of Anthony Spencer, he made a phenomenal play when he leaped over the Seattle blockers to get in for a field goal block. It was the second time of the game that Dallas was able to get a hand on a kick, as Orlando Scandrick nicked a earlier attempt that was still able to clear the uprights.
Dallas LB Anthony Spencer, for one of the best blocked field goals of this, or any, season. Steve Hauschka of Seattle lined up for a 41-yard field goal attempt that could have brought Seattle to within 13-9. However, Spencer jumped over the center, regained his balance, leapt again and blocked the field goal try. Brilliant, brilliant play.
If you want to relive the blocked attempt, take a gander here.
Bruce Carter got his first taste of defensive action yesterday, logging 11 snaps. ( I asked over/under 20 on twitter, and the under won). He made a great break on the ball on one play, disrupting the pass from Tavaris Jackson, but did not log a tackle.
"I wasn’t really nervous, but getting in on defense, it’s a lot faster," Carter said. "I think as I keep playing, it’ll slow down for me."
Lee could return next week vs. Buffalo, but Carter has at least a special teams role.
"I think I did OK, but I could’ve done better," Carter said. "I had opportunities where I could’ve made plays, but it’s going to come.
"He’s had a couple of misjudgments in fielding the ball this year and that’s inexperience," Jones said. "He’s of course done that in college and does have a good feel for where the ball is on the field. So I don’t know that that’s something that concerns me.
"I’m still concerned when we had him back there about his injury, especially that now that Miles may be or may not be out a couple of games."