The Dallas Cowboys had a great opportunity to keep their season alive, but couldn’t pull it off, losing 21-12 to the Seattle Seahawks. The defense played well, but the offense couldn’t do anything. It was a terrible way to go out. The Seahawks became the first team since 1966 to have more penalty yards (142) than total yards (136). The last time these two teams met in the regular season (2015), the Cowboys also only scored 12 points and lose 13-12. But that was with Matt Cassel at quarterback. With Ezekiel Elliott making his return, there was really no excuse to put up such a pathetic offensive performance.
It’s Christmas Eve so I won’t keep you long, but here are my quick thoughts on today’s game.
1. Early games
It was almost the hat-trick for the Cowboys when it comes having everything work out to perfection for them to get the help they needed from other teams. The Cincinnati Bengals came through and defeated the Detroit Lions. The New Orleans Saints beat the Atlanta Falcons, giving the birds one of the two losses they needed to fall behind the Cowboys. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a chance to upset the Carolina Panthers, but a touchdown in the final minute foiled that. All the Cowboys needed is for Atlanta to lose next week against Carolina and they would control their own destiny.
Of course all that is moot now.
2. Complete collapse
The Cowboys had a chance to get back in the game when they drove down to the three-yard line with just under eight minutes left to play. What happened next is hard to describe.
For some reason, instead of powering the ball in with Elliott, the Cowboys tried passing it in. A holding penalty backed them up and then Bailey missed a chip shot field goal. Any chance the Cowboys had to mount a comeback faded.
Scott Linehan has some explaining to do.
3. Topsy-turvy Jones
The Cowboys starting free safety make a special play on special teams when he flew through the air and flipped upside-down to keep the ball from going into the end zone. This pinned the Seahawks back inside their own one-yard line.
4. Feeding the beast?
The Cowboys were giving the Seahawks a heavy dose of Ezekiel Ellliott early on. He had 11 carries for 51 yards in the first quarter alone. The offense was moving the ball well behind Zeke, but whenever they started mixing in the pass, they faltered. Elliott finished with 97 yards on 24 carries, but it still felt like he was severely underused.
5. Livin on the edge
The Cowboys defense got some great plays from some of their reserve edge rushers. Taco Charlton recorded his third sack of the season as well as a nice tackle on the Seahawks wide receiver on a bubble screen.
Benson Mayowa made an appearance for the defense as well. He had two consecutive splash plays when he tackled Seahawks running back, Mike Davis, for a loss and then sack Russell Wilson on the very next play.
Pro Bowler, DeMarcus Lawrence joined the party with a 22-yard sack on Wilson. The defense did a great job, but unfortunately they didn’t get any help from their offensive counterparts.
6. Bailey blows it
The only scoring the Cowboys could muster in the first half came off the foot of Dan Bailey. He knocked down a 34-yard FG, followed by two 51-yard FGs, including one that doinked off the goal post. Fortunately, it hit the inside part and caromed through the uprights. He accounted for all the Cowboys points.
Unfortunately, he missed two easy field goals late in the game that were costly. It hasn’t been a very good three games stretch for the Cowboys kicker. Baltimore Raven’s kicker Justin Tucker has a good cushion now for most accurate kicker in NFL history.
7. Dez Drama?
Do you know what is going on with Dez Bryant? He had a drop early in the game and then had the ball punched out toward the end of the first half. He was clearly unhappy about something on the sideline and it all started when the Cowboys were effectively moving the ball. Did he get hurt? Was he wanting in the game? Who knows.
Commentators trying to read Dez Bryant's lips & body language on the sideline and speculating about what he's feeling is easily one of my least favorite things about #Cowboys games.— Jordan Ross (@CHQ_Jordan) December 24, 2017
8. First half let down
While the Cowboys appeared to have their way with the Seahawks in the first half, the scoreboard didn’t reflect that. Dallas couldn’t find the end zone, but kept coming away with field goals. The defense looked stout until a turnover by the offense gave Seattle a golden opportunity. Following the Bryant, the Seahawks drove 43 yards on five plays to take the lead.
Twenty-six minutes of domination by the Cowboys, all undone by 30 seconds' worth of dumb mistakes.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) December 24, 2017
Even though the Cowboys out gained the Seahawks in total yards 179 to 44, they couldn’t take advantage of it.
The Cowboys offense responded with a drive that set up another field goal by Bailey to give the Cowboys the lead back, 9-7. But unfortunately, more of the same happened in the second half.
9. Costly picks
The Cowboys defense played outstanding. The running game was effective. The formula was in place for the win, but Dak Prescott kept making mistakes that hurt. He threw a pick-six when a pass sailed over Elliott’s head and right into the arms of Seahawks defender, Justin Coleman, who returned it for a 30-yard touchdown.
Last year, Dak Prescott only threw four interceptions on the season. This year, he’s had four pick-six plays. The Seahawks got all 21 of their points off of turnovers.
10. Awuzie struggling
The Cowboys secondary played extremely well early on, only allowing two yards passing in the first half. But then the wheels came off. Rookie Chidobe Awuzie had a terrible series early in the fourth quarter. First, he got called for a facemask penalty. Then, he got called for holding in the end zone. He capped it off by letting Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin get behind him for a touchdown.
This is the third touchdown allowed by the Cowboys promising cornerback over the last three games.
Those are my thoughts on the game. How about you?