The Dallas Cowboys preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks turned out to be a physical, hard-hitting affair right out of the gate. In some ways, it almost resembled a real honest-to-goodness football game. And right away, Cowboys Nation was given a scare they likely won’t forget all season. Let’s dive right into the winners and losers of the game.
Tony Romo - Romo a winner? Didn’t he hurt his back and have to leave the game? Yes, this is all true. But, he would have been able to go back in if it was the regular season. He took an awkward hit that directly jarred his back and could have remained in the game.
“In a weird way I feel good about the fact that – that was probably as tough a hit I took on the back as I have in the last five years,” Romo said. “From that regard, I feel very lucky that it can hold up and you can keep going.”
“At the moment when you go down – you crunch. And so your back gets squished,” he said. “You kind of feel the, almost like a sensation of if someone gave you a stinger in your shoulder or something – where it just feels hot for a second and then that just dissipates after a minute.”
Romo lives to fight another day, so he gets the winner treatment.
Dak Prescott - Prescott was forced into duty quickly, with no mental warm-up as Romo unexpectedly went down. He was in a very hostile environment against a very skilled and physical defense. Yet, he managed to do just fine. He was 17 of 23 for 116 yards with one touchdown. His QB rating was a very respectable 99.2. Most of all, he looked calm given the environment. Game by game, everybody is getting more comfortable with the idea the kid can play.
Ezekiel Elliott - What a debut. He showed everything we knew about him, and a little more. We knew he had great vision, we knew that he had the acceleration to get the corner, we knew he knew how to pick up blitzes and protect the quarterback. He proved all of that in this game. What we didn't know for sure, but might have suspected, is that he is a punisher and unafraid to mix it up.
Elliott also lowered his head and took on Chancellor at the end of a run. “I was (surprised) because there was no film on him,” Chancellor said. “I didn’t know if he was going to juke me or not, so I was a little surprised. But not the second time. Second time you know I’m bringing that wood. I was a little surprised the first time, but he has a lot of courage for that. I’ll give it to him. But if it was a full game, it would have been a bloodbath.”
Welcome to the NFL rook, and thanks for giving better than you got!
Rodney Smith - Who? Yeah, I just got to give a little love for the guy who led the Cowboys in receiving yards last night. What? Yes, with 32 yards he led the Cowboys who spread the ball around to a ton of receivers last night. 14 players had catches last night. Smith also had a heck of a touchdown catch very late in the game. Kudos, kid.
Geoff Swaim - After dropping two passes in the Rams preseason game, Swaim is looking better and better. Last night he had five catches on five targets for 17 yards and was looking like a solid safety-valve receiver. He was also praised by Bryan Broaddus for improving his in-line blocking.
Cowboys Fan’s Hearts - Admit it, when Romo went down on the third play, you had a mini-heart attack. Or maybe you headed straight for the toilet bowl and made a deposit. Perhaps you climbed out on the ledge for a peek down. Hyperbole yes, but it was no fun watching that. And it's going to be like that all year. Every time Romo gets hit it will be in the back of our minds. Still, Romo has proven to be a pretty tough customer, so we can still have some confidence.
Dak Prescott's QB Rating - Wasn't he just in the winner's section? Yes, he was. Then why is he here? Well, we're talking about his QB rating losing ground to make a simple point - Prescott was good, but wasn't as good as he's been in the first couple of games. On his first drive he had Cole Beasley open to convert a third down and missed him with an inaccurate pass. On the Terrance Williams play, it's true that Williams could have made a stronger effort on the ball to make the catch. But what is also true is that if Prescott would have led Williams up the field a few steps instead of leading him over to the safety, Williams walks into the endzone uncontested.
Don't get me wrong, Prescott is not really a loser in this game, but for the first time there was some human qualities to his play instead of the Superman we'd been seeing. His 99.2 rating shows that not every game is going to be a 158 rating. Prescott did extremely well for a rookie facing a tough defense, nothing has changed about believing that he can be a player in this league. But, for the first time, there were some mistakes and things to work on.
The Defensive Line - The Cowboys managed one sack on the game and that came late when they forced the Seahawks quarterback to run out-of-bounds before the line of scrimmage on a scramble. They spent much of the game running around in his circles chasing Russell Wilson or Trevone Boykin but never really touching them. There wasn't a lot to like about their play in this game and in the second half they were getting gashed in the run game. Definitely concerning.
Morris Claiborne - He gave up a touchdown, although it was a perfect pass that beat him. His tackling was very shabby on the night. He also had a chance at two interceptions and missed them both.
I need my 20 push ups tomorrow 24... Two picks I know you could have had... #Cowboysworld— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) August 26, 2016
Wasn't his best night.
Doug Free - Talk about an off night. Free was getting worked by Cliff Avril who almost worked Tony Romo. We'll give Free a veteran pass on this game, but he's got to show better than this once the regular season starts.