Wow. Just, wow. Back in late August, as the Dallas Cowboys were wrapping up the 0-4 preseason, who could have possibly predicted this? Almost everyone had the visit to the Seattle Seahawks penciled in as a loss, and we were just worrying about how respectable a showing the Cowboys could make as they tried to avoid another 8-8 mediocrity, or worse. I mean, there were so many things out there about how miserable Dallas would be this season. Like this.
(Yeah. We're gonna rub a few people's noses in what they said before the season.)
Instead, the Cowboys just flat-out bullied the Seahawks for a 30-23 victory that should have had a much wider margin in the score, as Dallas basically gifted 17 points to Seattle with errors and miscues. Both the offensive and defensive lines had excellent nights, Tony Romo pulled off a couple of plays he had no right to despite getting blasted right in the ribs early in the game, DeMarco Murray kept on being a yard-gaining machine, and almost everyone who got on the field stepped up at some point to make a big play.
I feel like I could do an Oprah here. "YOU get a game ball, and YOU get a game ball, and YOU get a game ball, and EVERYONE gets a game ball!" But that is a bit of a cop-out. Obviously, several of the stars could qualify, as well as many of the coaching staff. Heck, I could even make an argument for Jerry Jones getting one, because he set this all in motion with the promotion of Jason Garrett and then sticking with him to this point.
But I won't go any of those ways. After looking back at the notes from the game, I have come up with another set of recipients. They will share in it, because individually they weren't a major factor, but collectively they were huge.
This game ball goes to the backups and role players who came in and showed that this year, there is indeed some meaningful depth on the Dallas roster. Here is a list of the players that I saw contributing some pretty important plays.
Joseph Randle. He came in to spell Murray, and promptly ripped off a 38-yard run. He finished with five carries for 52 yards and probably would have had more if the Cowboys had not hit the rough patch in the third quarter that led to the coaches reportedly keeping Murray in for his superior pass protection. And he absolutely crushed Percy Harvin on one kick return.
Lance Dunbar. We have been hearing since the offseason how the team, or more specifically Scott "The Offensive Genius" Linehan was going to work him in more, but had yet to see it. Against Seattle, he had four catches for 48 yards, including a couple of crucial third down conversions that featured him having to get past the yellow lines with his legs after the catch. On one of them, the defenders just looked mired in molasses as he darted past them.
Jermey Parnell. Doug Free went down late with what is hopefully a minor injury, and we held out collective breath as Parnell came in. Would he become a weakness for the Cowboys? Well, on the next play they ran Murray right behind him. For a 15 yard touchdown. Next man up.
Tyler Clutts. I am waiting to see the snap counts for him, but there were a couple of plays he was leading into the hole with some authority. Looks like the fullback is gradually being worked back into the scheme, and he is doing his job well. And he caught a pass and hung onto it.
Tyler Patmon. He had a couple of special teams tackles and a nice tackle to keep the Seattle receiver from making a first down late in the game. Patmon is starting to look like a quality backup.
Kyle Wilber. He almost disappeared from the field the past couple of games, but with Bruce Carter out, he was called on to play the SAM linebacker, and he responded with a couple of passes defended, including one that he might have returned for a score if he could have held on to it.
I may have left someone out, but these are six players who definitely get a share of this game ball. It takes all eleven players on the field to be successful in football, and these lesser seen players certainly did their share. Look to see more from them going forward.