10. I know Felix Jones set a negative tone by fumbling the opening kickoff when he let John Phillips’ helmet knock the ball free, but he wasn’t alone in seemingly not being ready to play. By my count the Cowboys made 7 major mistakes in the game’s first 23 plays, including Jones’ fumble, Josh Brent’s personal-foul penalty, Bruce Carter’s dropped interception at the goal line that would’ve saved 3 points, Jason Witten’s drop of a 3rd-down pass that would’ve resulted in a 1st down, Dan Connor getting beat by Seattle’s Malcolm Smith on a blocked punt that resulted in a Jeron Johnson scoop-‘n-score TD, Dez Bryant’s drop of a pass that would’ve given Dallas a 1st down at Seattle’s 10, and Tony Romo’s bad-decision-worse-throw interception that stopped a drive in the Red Zone. Whew. That’s enough miscues for an entire game, and they all happened in the game’s first 8:38.
9. Not sure why Romo was in the game – and throwing, no less – in the last minute of a 20-point blowout loss, but boy am I glad he didn’t get sacked and injured or Jason Garrett would have much ‘splaining to do.
8. Down 13-7 I still liked the Cowboys’ chances coming out of halftime. When they weren’t making mistakes, they dominated the 1st half. And when they forced a Seahawks’ punt on the first possession I felt even better. But after that, the defense wilted as though coordinator Rob Ryan’s new short-‘n-sassy haircut had sapped their strength like Samson sans his powerful locks. Seattle’s next 2 possessions resulted in TD drives of 90 and 88 yards. The offense struggled and the special teams stumbled, but in the 2nd half the defense was manhandled.
7. With Seahawks’ stud left tackle Russell Okung out with a bum knee, I expected DeMarcus Ware to terrorize backup Frank Omiyale and, in turn, Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson. Shockingly, Ware was a non-factor with only 1 quarterback pressure and no sacks for the first time in 11 road games. When Ware, Witten and Sean Lee aren’t great, the Cowboys have no chance to be good.
6. So far Connor is no better than Bradie James nor Keith Brooking. Big disappointment.
5. Joe Avezzano, you are missed. In many ways, but mostly when I watch Joe DeCamillis’ special teams suck at their job. Time and time again.
4. Golden Tate sure celebrated his big hit on linebacker Sean Lee. But I’m guessing he’ll be paying a $21,000 fine next week as a result. Tate launched himself at Lee, led with the crown of his helmet and hit Lee just under the facemask, all no-nos. Not sure if Lee – who was in pursuit of quarterback Russell Wilson – was a “defenseless” player, but I am sure the league office will review the hit and find it dirty. Bad as missing that call was, it didn’t compare to the officials calling a personal foul for Carter’s love-tap shove of Wilson onto the sideline. Replacements refs are doing okay, but they whiffed twice on 1 play.
3. Don’t remember Witten ever dropping 3 passes in a game. And they were all costly. Bryant dropped 2 and fumbled a punt to snuff out any chances of a late 1st-half field goal. Combined, Witten and Bryant were targeted 17 times and produced only 7 catches for 75 yards. As inspirational as Witten was in New York, he was equally detrimental in Seattle.
2. Admit it, when the schedule came out you would’ve taken 1-1 after 2 games. With road games at the Giants and Seahawks – better known as the defending Super Bowl champs and the NFL’s loudest home field – a split seemed acceptable. But with the way the games played out, .500 feels very hollow doesn’t it?
1. If Felix Jones ever had it – and I believe he once did – he’s certainly lost it. As a rookie in 2008 he rushed for a TD in his first game vs. Cleveland and then returned a kickoff 98 yards in the home opener vs. the Eagles. In that game, by the way, he set a franchise single-game record with 247 yards in kick returns. He had wiggle. He had breakaway speed. He was a weapon. A year later he rushed for 148 yards – including a 73-yard scoring run – in the Cowboys’ lone playoff win in the last 16 seasons. Shoot, he even had a 108-yard rushing game in Week 15 last year at Tampa Bay. But now? Showed up for training camp out of shape, failed his conditioning test, dropped passes in the preseason and now looks tentative. At best. In 2 games he has 1 rush for 1 yard and Sunday he returned just 1 of 5 kickoffs beyond Dallas’ 20. He started the game by fumbling the opening kickoff and finished it – fittingly – by tackling himself in the open field. Horrible. The Cowboys have been defiant in supporting Felix Jones, but right now he’s more liability than asset.