The Dallas Cowboys dropped their shorts last Sunday, plain and simple. The Cowboys gifted the Seattle Seahawks 10 points out of the gate and it didn’t get much better from there. Jason Witten and Dez Bryant both had numerous drops. Romo looked out of synch with his receivers multiple times. Bryant also had two fumbles on the day. The lack of downfield success allowed the Seahawks to stack the box and nullify any chance of DeMarco Murray taking over the game, even though the run blocking was solid. The pass protection was ok, but the Seahawks back seven blanketed the Cowboys’ receivers and Romo was not seeing the field well as he threw one interception and had two more dropped.
The defense did their job until the fourth quarter, when the game was out of hand. Then the deadly combination of putting Marcus Spears on the field and getting worn down by Lynch’s punishing running style led to the Seahawks winding down the clock until the two minute warning. For three quarters the Seahawks couldn’t run the ball consistently, and outside of a few blown coverages, could not push the ball downfield through the air. The 10 points given up early were due to special teams gaffes, so the Cowboys’ defense only gave up 17 points (and 7 of those came when the game was already out of hand).
Although not provided much help by his pass-catchers, Romo had a bad game. He made his share of great plays, but also had his bad. Here are the drive-stopping plays + the blocked punt:
- Fumble on kickoff by Jones leads to 3 points
- Witten drop leads to punt
- Blocked punt caused by Connor leads to 7 points
- Bryant drops 3rd down pass because Romo’s pass didn’t allow him to use his body to cradle ball from big hit
- Romo’s pass deflected on 3rd down
- Romo’s pass to Bryant on 3rd down leaves him no chance to get past 3rd down marker (on Romo?)
- -5 yard Romo pass to Jones followed by Tyron Smith false start and Romo incompletion leads to 3rd and 20 where Romo overthrows Austin
- (Game out of hand by this point) An incompletion followed by a sack leads to 3rd and 14 where Romo overthrows Austin
On a day where both defenses controlled the game, special teams and offense cost Dallas the game. Special teams miscues are always disappointing, but for me the offense’s performance is even more so. We had the talent to put points on the board and make the difference in the game, but a poor game was had by both Romo and his receivers.
What can we take from this game? Not much. We are better served looking forward to next Sunday’s game in Dallas against the 1-1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Under new head coach Greg Schiano they play a hard-nosed style of football. In some ways they are like a worse version of the Seahawks. They like to pound you with their bell cow back (Doug Martin) then take deep shots to their WRs (most notably Vincent Jackson), and play defense. Last year their defense missed an astounding number of tackles, but Schiano is out to remedy that. They put the brakes on Carolina’s rushing attack, but gave up some yards to the Giants on the ground. Most notable, though, is the 510 yards passing Eli Manning had against them, with Cam Newton also putting up a decent amount of yards. Hopefully Tony Romo can get a piece of that pie and help out fantasy players with a big performance.
Last week this is what I predicted:
“The Seahawks will be calling for Matt Flynn by the start of the third quarter when they have 0 points, 13 yards rushing, and 76 yards passing. The offense for the Cowboys will have some three and outs, but hit on a few big plays and score enough off of turnovers and good field position to put this one away safely. Cowboys 24 – Seahawks 13”
I wasn’t far off on the defense, but they somewhat disappointingly couldn’t force any turnovers. Where I was completely wrong was the fact that I did not see the offense stinking it up so much.
This week I think we are highly unlikely to repeat the exact same mistakes that cost us so dearly against the Seahawks and should pass the ball more effectively, as well as avoid any special teams gaffes. I think Rob Ryan would be wise to call a few more blitzes in an attempt to force turnovers. The defense should once again be solid facing a ball-control offense, with only one real deep threat in the form of Vincent Jackson. Cowboys 27 – Buccaneers 21
Follow me @Ben24626