IRVING, Texas –No player or coach with the Cowboys really wants to admit it, but the Seahawks won Sunday's game in large part because they were the more aggressive, physical team.
They stunned the Cowboys with a hard-hitting style, turning the game into a boxing match, of sorts, for which the visitors simply weren't prepared. If the Cowboys didn't expect a fistfight, before during and after each play, they should each and every week going forward. Sunday's opponent will be no different.
New coach Greg Schiano, formerly of Rutgers, is emphasizing a "fight to the end" philosophy with his players that apparently doesn't observe the normal end-of-game protocol. Specifically, he instructed the Bucs' defense to plow over the New York Giants' offensive line and into Eli Manning at the end of New York's win on Sunday, when the quarterback was simply trying to execute a kneel down to run off the clock.
For the Cowboys, Monday was spent going over corrections from the loss to Seattle, but coaches were already well aware of the Bucs' new approach.
"I don't want to speak to that situation," Jason Garrett said. "That was between Tampa Bay and the Giants. Certainly there is a style of football they are trying to implement down in Tampa and they feel like that, in some ways, is indicative of how they want to play, how they're going to handle end-of-game situations. So, we're going to focus on our team and things we need to get better at preparing for that ballgame."
The Cowboys did go with an offensive equivalent of the Buccaneers' philosophy in Seattle, piling up 48 garbage time yards on three no-huddle plays on their final possession, which began with just 36 seconds on the clock, the team trailing by 20.
Should the Cowboys intend to run off the clock at the end of the half or be fortunate enough to utilize the victory formation in Week 3, Garrett promised they won't be surprised by Tampa Bay's attempt to force a turnover. It doesn't sound like he'll be reaching out to Schiano to call a truce, either.
"We won't make an agreement," Garrett said. "We will just be aware of what happened in the past and make sure we handle it the right way on our end."