IRVING, Texas - Two years ago, the Cowboys faced a young rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson who was making his second career start.
What Wilson did that day is what he's managed to do throughout his young career. He made plays when the opportunity was there, but more importantly, eliminated the negative plays.
Wilson's mistake-free 150-yard passing day allowed the Seahawks to dominate the game in other areas, and the Cowboys flew home from Seattle with a demoralizing 27-7 loss.
Since then, the Cowboys haven't changed much, aside from a four-game winning streak this year that only signals a possible change in direction for a team stuck in mediocrity.
The biggest change has come from Seattle's side, in particular with Wilson, who last season became one of the youngest quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl.
Now, some would argue he's one of the NFL's best quarterbacks because he knows how to win.
His counterpart on the other side this week has plenty of praise for Wilson.
"He's got great poise. He does a great job, even when he doesn't necessarily know what the defense is or what he's looking at," Tony Romo said. "He'll find a way to stay calm and move until he can figure out what they're doing defensively. His speed, quickness, poise, his ability to kind of stay in the moment – those things are all key. He's done a great job with that."
More than Romo, the guys that really need to focus on Wilson are the defensive guys that must figure out how to stop him. For defensive end Jeremy Mincey, it comes down to one word: discipline.
Mincey uttered the word a dozen times in a four-minute media interview this week, suggesting it has been harped on by the coaching staff just how important it will be for defensive players to remain in their rush lanes and gaps and play sound football against Wilson and the Seahawks.
"It's obviously tough to stop them, but we've just got to be disciplined. That's the key to beating Seattle, a lot of discipline," Mincey said. "I was watching the San Diego film. They played with a lot of poise and discipline, and they walked away with the victory. With this team you've got to be focused and disciplined and swarm the ball and have a bunch of hats on Marshawn (Lynch) and just be aware of Russell's feet."
Defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford, who has thrived the last few weeks playing more inside after moving from end, said keeping Wilson in the pocket and not on the move is a must. Wilson had 122 rushing yards to go along with 201 through the air in a win last week at Washington. [embedded_ad]
"We're definitely going to have to stay in front of the quarterback, but just go out there and play ball. We know their threats, and we're going to try and control them," said Crawford, who stated that the minute the focus shifts to Wilson, the Seahawks can pound the ball with Lynch. "He's a powerful back. We know that about him, and we know he's going to run it hard. He wants to have a good game and we want to have a good game. We're going to do what we do and go up there and play ball."
If there is one player on the Cowboys defense who could want this game more than the rest, it would be Mincey. The former Broncos defensive end was on the losing side of last year's Super Bowl and surprisingly said the difference in the game went much further than just Xs and Os.
""We didn't match the intensity in the Super Bowl … that's what happened," Mincey said. "You've got to match this team's intensity. You've got to come out there just as fired up as they are. They play well at home, obviously. And we've been pretty good on the road. We've just got to keep doing what we're doing and focus on what we do best."
Then again, Mincey said the Cowboys certainly won't back down against the defending champs.
"We have a bunch of hungry men in here and Seattle wears their pants just like we wear our pants. They are all men," Mincey said. "We have to come out focused with intensity and do what we have been doing. No retreat. No surrender."
And no letting Russell Wilson go crazy, either.