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Eatman: Somehow "ET" Still Exceeded the Hype    


SEATTLE – You know that movie that everybody talks about over and over saying you've got to go see. It's never really as good as the hype.

Or maybe it's a 5-star restaurant with great reviews, but when you get there, the food just doesn't meet the already-lofty expectations.

So many times, when something is hyped up for so long, it's rarely as advertised. But there are some exceptions.

I would imagine there were a lot of Cowboys fans that probably wanted to get a real good look at this player we've all been talking about for months.

"Ok, let's see how good this Earl Thomas is."

Well, he's not that good. He's actually pretty great and on this day, he was the best player on the field.

If there was any doubt about just how good this guy is, he answered those questions in a major way. I'll be honest, I can't say I've watched a ton of plays from Thomas over his career, but we all know where he was drafted, all the Pro Bowls and All-Pro selections and just how good the Seahawks have been defensively.

But I wanted to get a good look at just what kind of player he is right now. Umm, he's still got it.

I think it's Ok to say the Cowboys could use a guy like him.

But guess what? So could the Giants, Eagles, Redskins, Panthers, Saints, Falcons, Bucs, 49ers, Rams, Cardinals, Bears, Packers, Lions, Vikings, Bills, Patriots, Jets, Dolphins, Colts, Ravens, Jaguars, Titans, Texans, Steelers, Browns, Bengals, Chargers, Chiefs, Broncos and Raiders.

And yes, so do the Seahawks, obviously.

Who couldn't use a game-changing safety? We use that phrase often … a game-changer. But that's what Thomas was on Sunday. He changed the game in more ways than one.

How about four?

Thomas not only had two key interceptions, but he had a couple of other plays where his instincts and speed were on another level.

Let's start with the picks. The first one just showed unreal hand-eye coordination as he snatched the ball out of the air and off his shoe. He comes back later in the fourth quarter with the Cowboys trying to get back into the game and makes another ridiculous catch off a deflected pass.

Game changer? How about game over!

Honestly, Thomas made the two best catches of the day, and that's counting receivers and skill players on both teams.

But he's more than just getting turnovers. His speed to cut off Ezekiel Elliott in the fourth quarter forced Zeke to stop and cut back inside. That's when the Seahawks ran him down from behind to force the fumble. Thomas didn't strip the ball or recover it. But he made the play.

Here's another one. Late in the third quarter, the Cowboys need to get back in the game and Tavon Austin catches a pass over the middle, but decides to weave backwards and to the sideline to get more yards. He actually lost the four yards he gained because Thomas ran him down and shut down the play.

To think he missed all of the offseason and training camp is amazing. This was like the third preseason game for him, but he certainly didn't treat it like a dress rehearsal.

Now, if Zeke is able to stay inbounds back in the second quarter, we'd be talking about Thomas letting him go past him for a touchdown. But that's just not the kind of day that it was, at least for the Cowboys.

And to make matters worse, the Cowboys weren't getting great play at the safety position on the flip side. Kavon Frazier was late getting over on the long touchdown to Tyler Lockett. And Jeff Heath had injury issues that kept him out for parts of the first half. It's a good thing Xavier Woods got back or this position could've been in even worse shape.

In one game, we saw why the Cowboys wanted to upgrade the position, which is why they entertained the thought of trading for him back in April and why there were reports as recent as a few weeks ago saying they upped their offer to get him.

We also saw why the Seahawks valued him so highly and wanted to keep him.

Game-changers change the game. And Earl Thomas certainly changed this one.