might sound silly since Julius Jones did rush for 112 yards, and did average 5.5 a carry. But look, the Cowboys totaled just 116 yards rushing. Why, the running-challenged Colts rushed for 100 against the league's No. 1 defense Saturday afternoon. The Saints rushed for 208 against the blitz-happy Eagles. Even the Bears had 120 rushing against Seattle.
Plus, the Seahawks were just giving the Cowboys the run, rarely, if ever, playing eight men in the box so they could better protect their backup and off-the-street corners. Yet, only once did the Cowboys really make them pay, Jones nailing them with the 35-yard run on the final meaningful possession, and that had more to do with wide receiver Terry Glenn bumping off a blitzing corner in the slot than anything else.
Believe me, there were not a lot of holes for Jones and Barber, and especially not Barber on that all-important third-and-one play from the Seattle 10 that was stuffed for a yard loss early in the fourth quarter. And on that play, sure looks like the Seahawks just outguessed the Cowboys, slanting their defensive front right into where Barber was initially headed.
As for pass blocking, the stats say Romo was sacked just twice. But out of 29 attempts, sure seemed like he was moving around in the pocket out of necessity more times than naught. Even against a few three-man rushes, which included the final Hail Mary when he was forced to re-adjust twice back there in order to fling the ball into the end zone.
As for Owens, just as suspected, the Seahawks doubled him all night long, but it almost seemed as if the Cowboys gave up on even trying to get him away from the double teams. Now they did move him into the slot more times than usual it seemed, but it wasn't as if Romo was looking his way much. The reads seemed to be elsewhere.
By the way, Owens was screened badly by the umpire on his drop crossing over the middle, almost as if he didn't even see - or expect - the ball until it was on him.
Also, and a bunch of you were right, on the Terry Glenn fumble that eventually turned into a safety, Romo's pass hit him right in stride. Chest high and in the hands. He simply juggled the ball, and a case sure can be made that upon re-clutching the ball he established possession thanks to bracing it against the ground.
And as for eschewing the deep ball, well, there didn't seem to be any openings, for either Owens or Glenn. Not even when the Cowboys went empty, spreading the Seahawks out five wide. They just didn't spread, keeping their safeties safely over the top.
So to me, and again, it's just me, bottom line is this: The Cowboys should have been able to run the ball for about 200 yards. Not run it more, mind you, because they ran it 26 times. They should have been able to run it far more effectively, but just couldn't seem to clear Seattle linebackers Lofa Tatupu, Julian Peterson and Leroy Hill, the three combining for 19 tackles - more than a third of the team total.
Say what you want about the defense, but the Cowboys only gave up 21 points in that playoff loss. That was their season average. Only two teams among the eight this past weekend scored less than 21 points, and that happened to occur in the same game, Indy beating Baltimore, 15-6. Other than that, everyone else scored at least 21 points.
And guess what, the other three winners? They scored 27, 27 and 24. Defense, shme-fence.
But the Cowboys, they scored what against Seattle? Twenty points, but really just 13 offensively? One touchdown? Far below their 27.6 season average.
Therein lies the problem, but the outcome should not be a surprise since the Cowboys lost the four times during the regular season they failed to scored no more than 20 points.
So, when you start scatter-shooting at the Cowboys' problems this off-season, best take dead aim at the offense, as crazy as that might sound.