The Dallas Cowboys just confounded the NFL. They handed Russell Wilson just his second loss at home in his career. Ahem. In his freaking career. That’s how good Seattle is in Seattle. That’s how hard it is to beat them.
So how did the Cowboys do it? They must have been perfect. Here’s a little secret: they weren’t.
For starters, Dallas lost the turnover battle. That’s right. They lost two fumbles and only had one takeaway in the game, courtesy of a Wilson interception. So they beat Seattle in Seattle and they were minus 1 in giveaway/takeaway.
They also didn’t shut down Marshawn Lynch. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry. You know who did shut down Marshawn Lynch? The Seahawks. They only handed him the ball 10 times. They only gave the ball to their key offensive player 10 times on a day when he was averaging 6.1 yards per carry and they never trailed in the game by more than one score. Nice going.
The Seahawks needed more of this
And don’t get me wrong. Dallas did do some things right. For one thing, they flummoxed Wilson, who came into the game the #3 rated passer in the NFL, but posted a miserable 47.6 passer rating. And Dallas’ offense did everything you ask your offense to do. They did not abandon the run, despite DeMarco Murray being a full yard below his per carry average in this game. So what. It’s not necessarily the yards, it’s the attempts. They build up. Murray had 29 carries in this game for a more than respectable 115 yards and 1 touchdown. It wasn’t spectacular. It wasn’t dominating. It was a HUGE part of Dallas amassing a 37 to 22 minute advantage in time of possession. It’s probably the biggest single reason they won the game. But the NFL’s a passing league. Go tell someone who cares.
And a lot less of this
Let’s not forget Tony Romo. Facing a pass defense that stifled Peyton Manning, a pass defense that stifles EVERYONE, Romo was cool, calm and collected. He threw for a game-necessary 250 yards and 2 touchdowns.
He took one sack. He threw no picks.
Give some credit to his o-line who protected him as well as they opened holes for Murray. But make no mistake, Romo was not facing some lite version of the Seahawks vaunted secondary. Dez Bryant was contained. Jason Witten was contained. No Dallas receiver had a big day (Terrance Williams led the way with 2 catches for 70 yards – chump change).
Yeah, that’s right, Tony. You earned that shit.
Teams will no doubt take no notice of the blueprint of the Dallas victory, although few have the offensive personnel to duplicate it. Seattle will undoubtedly give itself a refresher course on NOT abandoning its game plan. But the biggest story coming out of this game is Dallas itself.
The Cowboys are like the Yankees in baseball, the Lakers in basketball or Notre Dame in college football. Half the people love them, half the people hate them, and it’s undoubtedly better for the game when they’re good and relevant. Dallas hasn’t been that in a while.
Maybe this year, they are.