The Cowboys went into Seattle confident that they had an offense that may be finding itself after getting a few things going the week before. They were even more confident that their defense having nine sacks would handle a Seahawks’ offensive line that had given up 12 in the past two games. What happened on that field was a complete mental breakdown by the Cowboys on every level of their team all within four quarters of a game.
If you had to blame the Cowboys loss in Seattle on one thing (using one word only), what would that word be?— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) September 24, 2018
Suggestions: coaching, offense, design, scheme, etc.
You only get one word. Go.
You just can’t encapsulate that type of loss with only word because it truly was a monumental failure from everyone involved. There is one word that comes to mind but people are tired of hearing it. Maybe we should pay more attention to it.
From the first series of the game, it was a comedy of ineptitude. After Deonte Thompson’s return set them up at their own 34, the offensive gameplan screamed “we want to punt.” Seattle’s defense showed run, the offense gave them 12-personnel, exactly what was expected. Ezekiel Elliott manages to actually get five yards on the first carry and the Seahawks try to assist with a 12-man penalty. The drive ends after three plays and eight yards:
Time for that Cowboys defense to come out and show the Seahawks yet another ferocious pass rush. On 3rd and 5, Tyrone Crawford executes perfectly but the NFL officials are undefeated:
Clean hit!— COWBOYS ✭ (@AmericasTeam_21) September 24, 2018
2018: Roughing the passerpic.twitter.com/J51rV0dQME
Thankfully the Cowboys still get the Seahawks off the field with the help of Sean Lee being in on six tackles of a 10-play drive. The Cowboys offense starts to move a little with Elliott rushing for seven and Tavon Austin takes a jet sweep around the right side for 18-yards. Then another miscue:
Cowboys burn their first timeout of the half with 5:37 remaining in first quarter.— Corbin Smith (@CorbinSmithNFL) September 23, 2018
This drive ends abruptly after Dak Prescott throws a nice ball to Michael Gallup, who can’t complete the catch and Earl Thomas, of all people, makes him pay:
That is a drop Michael Gallup and a pick by Earl Thomas...right off his shoe— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) September 23, 2018
Whatever chemistry that was built between Dak and Gallup in training camp has taken major blows since the season started. He had a drop in the Giants game that would have been huge for the offense:
Oh and yea...that was a drop by Gallup. Gotta bring that one in, rook.— Patrik Walker [No C] (@VoiceOfTheStar) September 17, 2018
Any time these two try to connect with each other, it’s either poor execution from the rookie receiver or Dak floats it on him. That just makes it even harder for this offense to sustain drives or find consistency of any kind:
Dak was just off the whole day. Sails this one to Michael Gallup. pic.twitter.com/EiAPw4F8KS— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) September 24, 2018
The Cowboys defense bailed them out from that interceptions putting up a three-and-out for the Seahawks. Just when the Cowboys think about getting Dak on the move, Tyron Smith was helping the rookie and Barkevious Mingo goes untouched. Mingo knew exactly what was coming and denied the bootleg:
A violent sack on Dak Prescott but Elliott gets an 11-yard gain setting up the 3rd and 9. Dak has Elliott open, places the ball where it needs to be, but no reward. Hot and cold quarterbacking is certainly part of it but the skill players have contributed to this ineptitude in the passing game:
Dak Prescott so far: 2 of 7, 4 yards, one interception. Ezekiel Elliott with a bad drop that could've been a first down. Passing game issues remain.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) September 23, 2018
When the offense can’t do anything but turn the ball over after the defense has successfully stopped the opponent three times, it’s only a matter of time before something gives:
Russel Wilson to Jaron Brown for six pic.twitter.com/pltUeRLkGv— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) September 23, 2018
Cowboys defense finally bends with Russell Wilson hitting Jaron Brown for a 16-yard score down the seam. Seahawks lead 7-0 with 9:28 left in the first half. Insurmountable?— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) September 23, 2018
Trailing by a touchdown, the Cowboys offense gets off to a nice start with big gains by Elliott and Cole Beasley but as we’ve seen on multiple occasions, it just hasn’t been sustainable. Elliott almost gets his QB killed and luckily this play wasn’t a worse outcome on a total whiffed assignment:
This is atrocious from Elliott. Zeke catapults the linebacker right into Dak's face. He has been to be better when asked to pass block, pic.twitter.com/VIkhMXKxiu— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) September 24, 2018
They take a few steps forward but giant leaps backwards:
First down and it's three yards for Zeke.— UK Cowboys Fans (@UKCowboysFans) September 23, 2018
Second down is Zeke again but there's a flag against Dallas. Five yard penalty.
Dak delivers a nice strike to Allen Hurns to keep hope alive in this drive despite the miscues:
After the 18 yard gain to Beasley.— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) September 24, 2018
Run for 3 on 1st and 10
Illegal formation on 2 and 7
Dak delivers a great ball under pressure on 2nd and 12. pic.twitter.com/PHQBn8hxtg
On a 3rd and 2, Prescott looks to have delivered a 32-yard touchdown to Elliott but it’s negated due to poor awareness and illegal touching. There is just no excuse to be one of the league’s best players and not know where you are on the field:
Here's the 32-yard touchdown pass that was called back. This was an excellent drive from Dak Prescott. This seemed to completely change this team's mindset going forward. pic.twitter.com/lszUUpIhpf— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) September 24, 2018
On the what would have been scoring drive that started at DAL's 20 yd line:— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) September 24, 2018
Dak Prescott would have been 3/4 , 60 yds, TD if Zeke stayed in bounds.
This is NOT me defending the QB, I'm just pointing out what was left on the field.
Ezekiel Elliott's right foot was out of bounds before he caught pass, so loss of down on penalty. Brett Maher makes 50-yard field goal afterward ... Seahawks now lead, 7-3, with 5:26 to go in second quarter.— Brandon George (@DMN_George) September 23, 2018
As much as we ridicule this quarterback, my colleague Connor has a point, Dak Prescott provided chances to win and his playmakers let him down at an alarmingly high rate. The Cowboys got on the board but this was just another disappointment. The Seahawks offense was working out all of it’s kinks against the Cowboys, too. When you can’t consistently pressure Russell Wilson, this happens:
In 2018, all Tyler Lockett does is score TD's and gain hearts. pic.twitter.com/MeA0sHP4qn— C.J. Tumbarello (@TumbarelloHB) September 23, 2018
With two minutes left before the half, the Cowboys were thwarted by a Seahawks defense that suddenly could rush the passer after struggling for their first two weeks. Jarran Reed bullied the rookie Connor Williams:
It was as if these two teams traded places overnight:
Still shocked Cowboys D managed only 2 sacks vs. Seahawks OL that gave up 12 in 2 gms w/ sack % of 14.8 while allowing 29th rush offense grind at will & more shook by DAL OL getting busted for 4 sacks by NFL’s 28th DEF in sacks— ✭Michael Sisemore✭ (@MrSisemore) September 24, 2018
To make matters worse, the Seahawks receive a gift with nine seconds left in the half on 3rd and 7. This was unacceptable by Randy Gregory and dug the hole deeper with an easy three points.
Not sure which was worse, Ezekiel Elliott drifting out of bounds on a play that would have been a TD or Randy Gregory hitting opponent in face directly in front of official after play to set up FG for Seattle to end half.— David Moore (@DavidMooreDMN) September 23, 2018
Third quarter and the defense gets the Seahawks off the field with help from Byron Jones who was having the best day of all the cornerbacks on the roster.
Second half is ago.— UK Cowboys Fans (@UKCowboysFans) September 23, 2018
Seahawks run the ball with Carson for three yards.
One yard on the second down.
3rd and 6 Wilson to Marshall is incomplete. Byron Jones doing a good job tonight.
Byron Jones Jammed Marshall Up!!!!!!— Jesse With No “i” (@Mr4thAndLong) September 23, 2018
Byron Jones is just flat-out balling.— KD Drummond (@KDDrummondNFL) September 23, 2018
It's not a competition but he's been the best CB. By far.
Stop us if you’ve seen this before because just about every player that was doing great things would also make backbreaking mistakes. Byron Jones’ holding call on the punt wiped away perhaps their best chance to turn this game around:
Woof. I just now realized how much that penalty hurt. Cowboys were about to start near midfield. Instead they're on their own 11. That's not winning football.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) September 23, 2018
The Cowboys offensive woes in a matter of a few short tweets:
First two offensive plays for Cowboys this half: Rico Gathers hit with penalty and Ezekiel Elliott falls down.— David Moore (@DavidMooreDMN) September 23, 2018
Tyron Smith gets burned badly by Frank Clark with Mychal Kendricks cleaning up for the sack and another drive that had no chance:
Feels strange to type, but Frank Clark just abused Tyron Smith on that play.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) September 23, 2018
Holding on the punt return. False start to open a drive in the shadow of the goal post. Slip on second down. Busted protection for a sack on third.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) September 23, 2018
For a team that has won so much on the road in recent years, there’s just not much composure here. #cowboyswire
Finally, something positive in the third quarter, the Cowboys defense gets their first sack on tag-team efforts from Sean Lee and DeMarcus Lawrence. It’s also the first Seahawks possession to end on negative yards:
Sean Lee wants to be part of the Hot Boyz. That'll help. Lee and DeMarcus Lawrence combine for the Cowboys' first sack of the day #cowboyswire— David Helman (@HelmanDC) September 23, 2018
Four straight completions for Prescott has the Cowboys at the Seahawks’ 17 for a 3rd and six but Frank Clark destroys it again:
Arguably the most promising drive of the day for Dallas, and Frank Clark wrecks it on third down. Brett Maher salvages it with a FG, but the way this offense is playing, FGs aren't going to cut it. #cowboyswire— David Helman (@HelmanDC) September 23, 2018
The really troubling thing is the way this game has gotten away from the Cowboys.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) September 23, 2018
It's not like Seattle's offense has looked like a juggernaut. And Dallas has run the ball well. They just don't even have a semblance of offensive balance, and it's killing them. #cowboyswire
Russell Wilson just marches down the field in a matter of six plays as the third quarter is nearing the end. Already closing in on the red zone, Daniel Ross for the assist:
Daniel Ross with the encroachment flag. Seahawks playing a little hurry up and have the Cowboys rattled.— UK Cowboys Fans (@UKCowboysFans) September 23, 2018
End of the third quarter. 17-6 to the Seahawks.
The Seahawks used Chris Carson perfectly to batter the Cowboys defense for over 100-yards rushing and this touchdown run:
With time left to still get back in this game, Ezekiel Elliott established himself as the best and worst player for the Cowboys one game. He had well over 100-yards rushing but the only stuff that will be remembered is how Elliott cost the team two potential touchdowns:
Full play of the Ezekiel Elliott fumblepic.twitter.com/ltlAcl8avE— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 23, 2018
If you had told me two hours ago that Zeke would have 127 in the fourth, and that the Cowboys would be rushing for 8.5 as a team, I'd have assumed they were putting the finishing touches on a nice road win.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) September 23, 2018
We've seen games where Ezekiel Elliott struggles to get anything going.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) September 23, 2018
As far as I can remember, this is the first time Zeke has had success moving the ball and still struggled. This'll be one he wants to forget.
To their credit, Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch played well in this game gave the Cowboys the ball back for another opportunity. Jaylon pressured Wilson to force a punt.
Jaylon Smith nearly gets home on Wilson but couldn't get the sack. Pressure does force bad throw.— Patrik Walker [No C] (@VoiceOfTheStar) September 23, 2018
Just inside nine minutes to go, we see the Cowboys offense finally get into the end zone on a shovel pass from Prescott to Tavon Austin:
It was far too little and way too late for this Cowboys team but they would actually get two more possessions. A poor decision by Prescott on a throw to Geoff Swaim results in Earl Thomas’ second interception and a poetic cherry-on-top for the All-Pro safety:
The Cowboys should trade for Earl Thomas to play safety and wide receiver pic.twitter.com/HNDt1L6wmD— Barstool Sports (@barstooltweetss) September 23, 2018
Earl Thomas took a bow at the Dallas Cowboys bench after picking off Dak Prescott twice pic.twitter.com/wSGpHTqw1z— Fanatics View (@fanaticsview) September 24, 2018
Of course it’s Earl Thomas. The Cowboys were on the verge of clawing their way back into this game, and the All-Pro just slammed the door on them. You couldn’t make that up.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) September 23, 2018
Dak Prescott would walk into his fifth sack on the last possession with :53 seconds left and this ugly game finally ends for the Cowboys offense. Nothing went right from the beginning and when it did, it never lasted long. The Cowboys are 1-2 and though it’s one game, the struggles by just about every Cowboys player that the team needs to succeed was most troubling.
You can blame coaches for their part but don't forget:— ✭Michael Sisemore✭ (@MrSisemore) September 23, 2018
All Pro LT got worked
Safeties look lost
Best player 21 has 3 huge mistakes
OL surrenders 4 sacks
DL can't get home
ST errors all over
QB & WR's can't get on same page
The Cowboys players haven't been good at all
To put it rather harshly, we leave on this, everything was horrible:
Tyron Smith sucked.— ✭ Armchair GM ✭ (@DCBlueStar) September 23, 2018
Connor Williams sucked.
Ezekiel Elliott sucked.
Michael Gallup sucked.
Tavon Austin sucked.
Dak Prescott sucked.
The play calling sucked.
The OC sucked.
The OL coach sucked.