The Dallas Cowboys have surprised a lot of people this season. They were supposed to have the worst defense in the NFL and many thought this would be the season that Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett finally lost his job. However, they just beat the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks, 30-23, and are on a five-game winning streak. Here is a look at the Dallas Cowboys team grades from this big win.
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There was one point in the game where it looked like the old Tony Romo was coming back. Dallas fell to an early 10-0 deficit and Romo realized that the Seattle Seahawks were stacking the line of scrimmage to stop DeMarco Murray. They were daring Romo to beat them, and that is when it is easy to remember the Tony Romo of old who would choke in those circumstances. That didn’t happen in this game.
Just like last week when Romo completed two miracle passes to Dez Bryant to overcome the Houston Texans, he did the same thing this week with an amazing pass and catch by Terrance Williams just when Dallas needed a spark on third down. Tony Romo finished the game, completing 21-of-32 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. It was a near perfect performance by Romo. He had a few bad passes but is still avoiding mistakes and only took one sack in the game.
DeMarco Murray has now opened the 2014 NFL season with six straight 100-yard rushing games, something only Jim Brown accomplished in his career. Even more impressive was that Seattle was shutting down the Dallas running game in the first half, but Scott Linehan kept calling runs anyway and Dallas kept feeding Murray the ball. Murray finished with 115 rushing yards and one touchdown. He didn’t fumble the ball in the game, and Joseph Randle even chipped in 52 yards of his own on five carries. Dallas had the ball for 37:39 in the game compared to 22:21 for Seattle and that is why the Cowboys shut down the Seahawks.
Romo spread the ball around on offense as well. Terrance Williams had two receptions for 70 yards, Dez Bryant had four for 63 and Jason Witten had two for 34 with a touchdown. Romo also threw a touchdown to Gavin Escobar, a key third down pass to Cole Beasley which went for 11 yards and tossed four passes to running back Lance Dunbar and six to DeMarco Murray. Dallas dominated this game on offense.
That defense that was supposed to be the worst in NFL history shut down the Seattle Seahawks offense completely. The only Seattle offensive touchdown came after Dallas fumbled a punt and Russell Wilson ran in from nine yards out in a short field situation. Outside of that, Dallas’ defense only gave up three field goals.
George Selvie sacked Wilson and Dallas got a team sack as well. Justin Durant had a great game with nine tackles and one pass defensed. Dallas also hit Wilson five times in the game. However, the key moment for the Cowboys defense came at the end of the game. Seattle had one last chance to come back and tie the game up. Memories of Wilson’s late-game heroics against the Denver Broncos had to pop up, but it was Rolando McClain who saved the day by intercepting Wilson’s last pass attempt of the game.READ MORE: North Texas Police Officers Escort Body Of Euless Detective Killed By Drunk Driver To Funeral Home
To start off, there was some huge news in the special teams’ game. Dan Bailey hit all three field goal attempts, including a bombing 56 yard attempt that went straight down the middle with room to spare. With those kicks, Bailey is now the most accurate kicker in NFL history. It should also be noted that Dallas limited Seattle’s Percy Harvin on kick returns, He averaged 28.4 yards per return in the game, but is known to break returns for touchdowns.
However, the reason that Seattle only lost by one touchdown was because of the special teams. Chris Jones had his first punt of the game blocked and Mike Morgan returned it 25 yards for a touchdown to put Seattle up 10-0. Then, in the third quarter, Dwayne Harris fumbled a punt and that is what set up the Russell Wilson touchdown run that tied things up 17-17. If not for those two plays, Dallas would have led 17-3 at that point.
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Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. Examiner.com.
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