SEATTLE – The Cowboys and Seahawks had yet to light up the scoreboard in the first two games, so this matchup seemed to be a somewhat defensive showdown. For the most part, that was the case as the Cowboys never could get any continuity on offense and scored just one touchdown in a 24-13 loss.
There were some moments that stood out, including both of Earl Thomas' interceptions or the two touchdown passes from Russell Wilson, but throughout every game there are several moments or plays that go unnoticed or could be overlooked. Still, they play a huge role in the eventual outcome.
Let's look at five plays that changed the direction of this game.
Crawford's early penalty – Say what you want about the NFL's new rule on players putting their body weight on the quarterback, but the penalty itself hurt the Cowboys early in the game. When Tyrone Crawford was flagged for a personal foul on his hit on Russell Wilson, it kept Seattle's drive alive. While the Seahawks didn't score, the penalty prevented a punt deep in their own territory. Seattle would've punted from its 12, giving the Cowboys field position around midfield. Instead, Dallas not only started from its own 15, but the next four possessions were all inside the 25 as they struggled to ever gain positive field position.
Zeke steps out of bounds – As great as Thomas played in the game, he should've allowed a touchdown pass down the sideline when he let Ezekiel Elliott go by down the sideline. Dak Prescott found the running back in what appeared to be a game-tying 31-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, but as Elliott was cutting up the field, his feet stepped out of bounds, making him ineligible to be the first receiver to touch the ball. That penalty wiped out the score and led to a field goal instead.
Gregory's costly mistake – It's not likely anyone will forget this play because it symbolizes much of this game. But it's not often that one penalty directly leads to three points. Randy Gregory decided to hit a Seattle lineman in the face with just five seconds left before the half, pushing the ball up 15 yards and directly leading to a 47-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski as time expired, giving the Seahawks a 17-3 lead.
Tavon's East-West scramble – Down 17-3 late in the third quarter, the Cowboys were on the move and seemed in position to perhaps cut the game to a one-score deficit. On first down from the Seahawks' 21 – after two straight completions to Hurns (12) and Swaim (11) – Prescott hit Tavon Austin over the middle at the 17-yard line. The speedy receiver likely could've gone up the field for another yard or two, but instead tried to take it wide and get more yards on the outside. Thomas can also run, and fetched Austin back at the 21 on the sideline for no gain. The Cowboys picked up 4 yards on the next run and could've gotten into a position for four-down territory. Instead, a field goal cut it to 17-6.
Zeke's open-field fumble – For a guy who rushed for 127 yards and averaged 7.9 yards per carry, it wasn't Elliott's best performance, to say the least. After breaking free in the fourth quarter for a 26-yard gain, Elliott was stripped from behind and lost the ball, which was recovered by Seattle at its 13-yard line with 10:46 left. Even if the Cowboys had kicked a field goal there, it would've been 24-9 and they scored on the next drive. Don't forget they were down inside the 20 on the following drive, which possibly could've been a one-possession game. So while the fumble occurred when it was 24-6, the Cowboys weren't out of the game just yet.