The battle against the Seattle Seahawks, at their house, was seen from the moment the 2020 schedule was released as one of the toughest challenges they would face - and it proved to be a real challenge. The Dallas Cowboys had to fight their own mistakes as much as anything before losing 38-31 on a last-second interception thrown by Dak Prescott.
It was predicted by many to be something of a duel between Prescott and Russell Wilson, and that was how it wound up. Both would have some impressive stats, with Prescott going over 450 yards passing for the second week in a row, while Wilson had five touchdown passes, also his second consecutive week to do so. Both had some strong pressure on them, with the Cowboys having their first multi-sack game, for a total of four. Prescott only went down twice, but both QBs were often just getting throws off. It was really Wilson’s ability to escape and then make pinpoint throws that made the difference.
The Cowboys would trail the entire way before taking a one point lead on a Greg Zeurlein field goal with 3:59 left in the game. Unfortunately, it was too much time, as the Seahawks would drive down, the pass rush that had been effective many times did not put pressure on Russell Wilson and he dropped a perfect 29 yard TD pass to D.K. Metcalf. A two point conversion pushed it back to a seven point lead, with only 1:47 left. The Cowboys would march as far as the Seattle 22 before the second sack of Prescott set the table for the heartbreaking interception that sealed it.
This game may have been a lot of things, but it wasn’t boring. We saw: The Cowboys open the game with six straight passing plays; Aldon Smith get two sacks; a muffed kickoff by Tony Pollard that put the ball at the one yard line; a safety on the ensuing play by Ezekiel Elliott that certainly made the footing in that endzone look questionable; Cedrick Wilsons’ first touchdown; a sure Seattle touchdown by Tyler Lockett denied by Trevon Diggs, who punched the ball out of his hold and got the ball back on a touchback; a forty-eight second, 75 yard touchdown drive; Russell Wilson being pressured but still burning the Dallas secondary too many times except for when they were drawing flags; a Daryl Worley interception that was negated by one of those flags; another Ezekiel Elliott touchdown with Antwaun Woods as his fullback, two missed extra points by Greg Zuerlein, one blocked and the other just doinked; a Dak Prescott interception that led to a touchdown; and a Cowboys team that seemed to either be making a great play or just blowing it.
Oh, and in something that could have long term implications, Joe Looney left the game and Tyler Biadasz came in to play center. So the Cowboys were running with second year UDFA Brandon Knight and rookie UDFA Terence Steele at the tackles and rookie Biadasz at center. It should be no surprise that Dak Prescott was under some strong pressure himself. In the third quarter, Looney was deemed healthy enough to return - but instead of coming back in at center, he took the right guard spot while Zack Martin kicked out to right tackle, sending Steele to the sidelines. The shakeup seemed to work, as Cedrick Wilson would get his second long touchdown reception of the game afterwards. After having to wait so long, this turned out to be a real breakout game for
And that was all before halftime. One that ended with the first 23-15 halftime score in NFL history, for you scorigami fans.
One thing that was evident is that there were far too many mistakes by Dallas, and they just kept it up to start the second half, as Dak was sacked and lost control of the ball, which popped straight up for Benson Mayowa to catch and take down to the Cowboys’ five yard line. A couple of plays and the deficit was 15.
The contention that Smith is the best defender is hard to argue with, because he got a third sack in the third quarter, and shortly thereafter basically forced Russell Wilson right into Antwaun Woods, giving the latter his first sack of the season.
It was really a boom or bust game for the Dallas. Prescott would make some beautiful throws, then just miss one like he did to a wide open Blake Bell on third and one. It forced the Cowboys to go for it on fourth down, the second time they did so. But unlike last week, they converted both of them, and the second conversion led to a Michael Gallup touchdown that pulled Dallas to within two. They still trailed because of those two bungled extra points, and went for two but Noah Brown was just not able to get to the line after catching the ball.
Another case of how it was such a wildly up and down game was in the fourth quarter, when a ball that should have been picked off by Ugo Amadi bounced first off his chest and then off his foot for an alert Gallup to snatch for a positive play. In general, it was a rough day for both secondaries, which were beat up coming into the game.
Something that was a real issue last season reared its ugly head. Dallas faced bad field position all game long. Some were definitely due to the special teams, but others were just how the battle of field position played out. However, those two failed extra points definitely go on the ledger for John Fassel’s bunch.
Elliott was very quiet in this game. He didn’t have much room running the ball, and at least two clear drops, although he did get a one yard touchdown run. Neither team had much of a ground game, as this was a duel between the quarterbacks all the way.
Perhaps that string of pass plays to start things off may have indicated that the thrust of the game would be to put it on Prescott’s arms and into the arms of the wide receivers. That last bit might have been the best thing they could have done, as Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Gallup, Wilson, and Brown all had catches. The emergence of Wilson, who had basically done nothing so far in his career, really strengthens the case for Dallas having the best wide receiver group in the league. When you can roll out four wideouts in a game and they all get at least 65 yards catching, you have something going on. Especially when Gallup was leading the way with 138 yards and that touchdown.
It was all too much for the Cowboys to overcome, but one thing was in their favor: By the time they started their game, the rest of the NFC East had lost their games. Well, except for the Philadelphia Eagles, who tied the Cincinnati Bengals. So the Cowboys remain tied for the “best” record in their division at 1-2. Next up are the Cleveland Browns, who actually have a winning 2-1 record.
There were a lot of mistakes that led to the Dallas defeat. If they can clean a few up, that offense can get some things done.