The claim could be made that this was a tale of two halves. Unfortunately, though, neither one turned out well for the Cowboys
In the first 30 minutes, Dallas basically beat themselves with turnovers and poor special teams play, despite racking up 211 total yards. In the second half, Seattle didn't need the help, manhandling the Cowboys on its way to a convincing 27-7 victory. Dallas posted only 85 yards of total offense over the final 30 minutes.
And literally adding injury to insult, the Cowboys had several players on their defense forced to the sidelines. Both starting safeties, Gerald Sensabaugh and Barry Church left the game due to injuries as did starting defensive linemen Kenyon Coleman and Marcus Spears. Reserve linebacker Alex Albright left with a stinger and linebacker Sean Lee also took a vicious, blindside blow that sent him to the sidelines briefly, although he did return.
Overall, the defense really was unable to slow down Seattle's offense, namely rookie quarterback Russell Wilson and running back workhorse Marshawn Lynch. Playing like a seasoned veteran, Wilson finished the game with only 151 yards passing, but was 15-for-20 with one touchdown and didn't turn the ball over once. On the ground, Seattle earned an impressive 182 yards rushing, led by Lynch who totaled 122 yards on 26 carries, a 4.7-yard average.
On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys' offense just never really seemed in sync, the team plagued by a surprising number of dropped balls. Romo totaled 251 passing yards, throwing a touchdown and an interception, but the running game struggled against Seattle's defensive front, finishing with just 49 rushing yards.
The first quarter couldn't have gone much worse for the Cowboys, starting with the opening kickoff. Felix Jones took the kick from deep in his own end zone, and bolted out to the 29-yard line before having the ball knocked loose, where it was recovered by Seattle's Earl Thomas.
Set up with great field position, the Seahawks were able to work their way down to the Cowboys' 3-yard line, but had to settle for a chip-shot field goal when the Dallas defense held.
But things just went from bad to worse. Forced to punt from his own 21 after Dallas failed to move the chains, Chris Jones had his kick blocked, Jeron Johnson there to pick up an easy one-hopper and strut into the end zone untouched. Less than five minutes were gone in the game and already the Cowboys were down 10-0 due to the ineptness of their special teams.
Not that the offense was doing much better. Romo finally did get his team rolling on its second drive of the game, but after moving Dallas down to the Seattle 24-yard line, the quarterback tried to escape pressure by throwing back across the middle to Witten. He missed his mark, though, and cornerback Brandon Browner was there to pick it off and return the ball to the Cowboys' 46.
The Dallas defense kept the Seahawks off the scoreboard, the ensuing punt giving the Cowboys possession at their own 5-yard line. This time, Romo was able to take care of business.
As the horrid first quarter finally came to a close, Romo hit Austin on a 17-yard pass, then kept the momentum going in the second frame by mixing in runs and short passes to his running backs. Facing a first down at the Seattle 22-yard line, Romo then lofted a nice pass to Miles Austin who dove to the pylon for the team's only touchdown of the game, the score now 10-7.
But Seattle responded. Behind the arm of Wilson, the Seahawks moved 52 yards in 11 plays, eating up 7:05 of game clock before putting three more points on the board with a 25-yard field goal just after the two-minute warning.
So Dallas went into the half down 13-7, but given the dreadful start, they had to be somewhat encouraged that they weren't facing a bigger disadvantage. In fact, they were leading on the stat sheet, bettering Seattle in first downs (11 to 5), total yards (211 to 118), penalties (1 to 4) and time of possession (16:18 to 13:42).
Of course the two categories in which they trailed, turnovers (2 to 0) and, of course points, were what mattered most.
Unfortunately, any positive feelings to take out of the first half were soon enough squashed after the break, as the Seahawks proceeded to ground and pound the Cowboys. On their second possession of the third quarter, Seattle was pinned in at its own 10-yard line, but was able to go the distance in eight plays, the big one being a Lynch run off right tackle that went for 36 yards to the Dallas 25.
Two snaps later and Wilson hit tight end Anthony McCoy running up the right seam for a 22-yard touchdown. With the extra point, the Seahawks had control, the score now 20-7, which is where it remained as the clock ticked over to the fourth quarter.
And then there was the one play of the game that perhaps summed up the Cowboys' day better than anything. With Wilson scrambling around the left end, linebacker Sean Lee went in pursuit, but wide receiver Golden Tate not only blindside him but also led with his helmet up around Lee's chin.
The hit, which will likely result in a league fine and possible suspension, was not penalized, but when linebacker Bruce Carter gave Wilson a meaningless two-handed shove out of bounds to end the play, he was flagged for a 15-yard misconduct penalty. Inexplicable.
Riding that momentum, Seattle went on to put another seven points on the board, Lynch carrying six times for a total of 24 yards, the final a 3-yard dart into the end zone to push the score to an insurmountable 27-7 lead.
From there Dallas was really unable to muster up much of a fight, Seattle able to grind out the clock to send the Cowboys home with a 1-1 record. Dallas will now prepare for their home opener as they'll host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday.