ARLINGTON, Texas – Painful as Sunday's loss to Seattle might have been, it came with some serious perspective just before the halftime break.
Right before the teams headed to their locker rooms, the game ground to a terrifying halt for roughly 10 minutes when Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette was rendered motionless by a big block delivered by Jeff Heath during a punt return.
"My intention wasn't to hurt him, obviously. Just trying to play hard, and it's really unfortunate that he got hurt," Heath said. "Once I saw that he was down like that, I felt horrible – because all the players in the NFL, it's one big brotherhood. You don't ever want to hurt a guy."
Lockette was motionless on the turf for several minutes while doctors and trainers tended to him. He was eventually carted off the field, where he was diagnosed with a concussion. He did have movement in all of his extremities.
"I heard he's OK, I heard he's moving," Heath said. "The doctor told me that they ran some tests and he's doing alright, so I'm just happy to hear that."
The hit drew a penalty for a blindside block, and it also incensed the Seahawks roster, who rushed to the field to voice their displeasure with the block. Replays seem to show that the block came from the front, but Heath didn't want to speculate without watching the tape.
"I haven't seen the play yet," he said. "I really can't comment on it, but I hated the fact that he got hurt like that and I'm really happy to hear that he's doing better."
Seattle defensive end Michael Bennet voiced his displeasure during the incident, and he added to it afterward, calling it a "classless play." Heath said he understood the emotion of the moment.
"They were protecting their teammate just like any guys would. Tempers get heated, especially in a situation like that," he said. "I didn't really hear if they were saying anything, but they didn't look very happy with me – obviously. But we would be the same way."
Dez Takes Issue
Dez Bryant wound up in the center of the Lockette situation, despite not being part of the play. Once play continued, a video surfaced on the Internet of Bryant talking to Seattle players. The allegation was the Bryant was mocking Lockette while he was being tended to, claiming "that's what he gets."
Bryant took issue with the allegation multiple times. Immediately after the game, he took to Twitter to refute the notion – in no uncertain terms.
Shortly after that, when talking to reporters, he repeated himself.
"I won't ever, ever wish bad on a player that's been knocked down. Come on, man. Not once did I say 'Hey, that's what you get,'" he said. "I got down on one knee and prayed for that man. I got down on one knee and prayed for him. Don't put clips together and do that."
Too Many Men?
Another sequence at the tail end of the first half caused some massive confusion, and it may have squandered a Dallas scoring opportunity.
On 3rd-and-10 from the Seattle 24, Matt Cassel threw to Darren McFadden for a seven-yard gain, prompting the Seahawks to call their second timeout with 1:38 until halftime. Then, as Dan Bailey lined up for a 35-yard field goal, the Seahawks attempted to call a second-straight timeout to avoid drawing a penalty for 12 men on the field.
NFL rules stipulate that officials aren't supposed to allow consecutive timeouts by the same team, but Sunday's crew allowed a stoppage of play – allowing Seattle to avoid the foul.
"Seattle had called a timeout, and we should not have granted the second timeout," said referee Carl Cheffers. "There is no penalty for that. We just made a mistake, and we just put the ball back where it was and started things back up again without granting the timeout."
Cheffers added that, according to NFL rules, Seattle had not yet committed a penalty, as the Seahawks' extra defender was attempting to hurry off the field. Had the ball been snapped before the stoppage of play, it would have been flagged – which would have granted the Cowboys a 1st-and-10 from the Seattle 12-yard line.
"It turned out to be a critical play for us," said Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones. "But again, you can't, with a game as close as that and a game with the defense playing as hard as they played and as hard as both teams played, blame the game on that call."
David Irving made what was easily the biggest play of his young career early in the fourth quarter, when he blocked a 47-yard field goal attempt by Steven Hauschka.
Take one look at Irving, who stands 6-7, and it's easy to figure out how he did it.
"Get off and get your hands up – except my hand goes pretty far up," he joked. "I just do what I'm supposed to do and contribute any way possible."
The block helped the Cowboys protect a 12-10 lead, and it gave the offense the ball at the Dallas 28-yard line. As the box score shows, it wasn't enough to secure a win. It was still an encouraging development for Irving, who signed with the Cowboys on Sept. 29 and has played a bit role for the defense in the last month.