KICKING OFF
Silver linings don’t mean anything when you’ve lost five straight.
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COWBOYS NOTEBOOK

Random Thoughts:
*Really relieved Ricardo Lockette suffered just a concussion. That was a very scary scene.

*The Cowboys really rode Darren McFadden early with 12 touches through the team’s first two possessions.

*The idea of Dez’s return was much better than his actual return. But what did you expect? Richard Sherman makes habit of locking down healthy great receivers. Not sure a banged up Dez had the odds in his favor, there…

*Rolando McClain with another piss-poor performance and, frankly, Sean Lee wasn’t great either.

*Why does it seem like Greg Hardy is the only one of this “game-changing” defense making game-changing type plays?

*Just wondering if anyone might ask where Jason Witten was today? Opposing tight ends have had great success against the Seahawks this year, but Witten didn’t share in their fun.

*This was pretty badass.

Numbers Game

*Darren McFadden led the team in receptions (six) and receiving yards (49) to mark the fourth time this season (Lance Dunbar – two; Darren McFadden – two) that a running back has led the team in receptions and receiving yards. It is tied with the 1986 and 2003 teams for the most occurrences in a season all-time in team history (four games).

*Dan Bailey made four field goals in today’s contest (33, 35, 52, 27) for his 19th career game with three-or-more field goals, second-most in team history, and his fifth career game with four-plus field goals to establish a club record:

*By failing to record a sack against the Seahawks, Greg Hardy’s streak of consecutive games with a sack stopped at seven – the longest streak of his career and was the longest current active streak in the NFL. While with Carolina he recorded at least one sack in each of the final three games of the 2013 season (12/15-12/29), then a sack in the 2014 season opener at Tampa Bay (9/7). He then had two against New England (10/11) in his Cowboys debut and a sack at the N.Y. Giants (10/25).
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MY NFL TOP FIVE

*A ranking not at all based on record but my own one-person committee’s thoughts.

1. New England Patriots (7-0): They have some weaknesses, but their strengths are so damn strong that it’s tough to expose them and get away with it.

2.Denver Broncos (7-0): It’s all about the D in Denver.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (7-0): I don’t want to believe in Andy Dalton because whenever I do, he lets me down.

4.Green Bay Packers (6-1): I think I’m more concerned about whether or not this offense will be explosive enough to truly carry this team’s weaker D.

5. Arizona Cardinals (5-2): Not pretty against the Browns, but they got the job done.
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MY NCAA TOP FOUR

*A ranking not at all based on record but my own one-person committee’s thoughts.

1. Ohio State (8-0): There’s a reason everyone annointed them before the season. It just took some time for them to find their groove.

2. LSU (7-0): Give me Brandon Harris and Leonard Fournette over Jake Coker and Derrick Henry. We’ll find out soon!

3. Clemson (8-0): DeShaun Watson is pretty damn impressive. Dark horse Heisman candidate? If Fournette slips, he might be the guy.

4.TCU (8-0): That game by Trevone Boykin…wow.
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HUDDLING UP

NCAA

• So, Kyler Murray, huh? Looks like Texas A&M has found their starting QB. Do we have odds on to where Kyle Allen transfers? By the way, I keep waiting for Ricky Seals-Jones to make some noise. First five games? 128 yards. Last three? 270 yards.

• Just curious: Does the great Kevin Sumlin, who I do believe is really good, deserve any flack for not making the move sooner?

• I just don’t see it with Christian Hackenberg. I’m also just not a fan of the QB without mobility. Not many can succeed like that these days. Manning’s ability to dissect a defense is his equalizer.

• How much of Nebraska’s struggles fall on Mike Riley versus them losing some key talent off of last year’s squad? Probably both, but curious to which side it leans more.

• Not really about this week, per se, but came across a fascinating note: every 2013 starting offensive player for the Florida State Seminoles is now in the NFL. Crazy.

• USC RB, Ronald Jones II, is the best freshman about whom no one is really talking.

• I’m not on the “Fire Charlie Strong!” train, but losing 24-0 to Iowa State is absolutely embarrassing.
NFL

• The Steve Smith news really sucks. Hope he changes his mind about retirement. He’s one of the best receivers of his generation and a helluva competitor.

• Detroit is awful and going backwards. That usually means firings. If they let go of GM Martin Mayhew, I have to believe Cowboys’ Senior Director of Player Personnel gets strong consideration for that gig.

• REPEAT FROM LAST WEEK: The Atlanta Falcons are the most overrated 2-loss-or-less team in the NFL. Losing to the Bucs at home? Weak.

• Seems like Todd Gurley’s ACL is just fine.

• Does anyone want to win the NFC East? Cowboys couldn’t have picked a better year to lose their starting quarterback for several weeks.

• The Oakland Raiders are pretty…good. As long as they don’t screw it up, they’ve built a foundation of good, young talent.

• Peyton Manning’s humpback passes remind me of Chad Pennington’s when he was at his best.
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3-PIECE OF NUMBER NUGGETS

NCAA

-Navy RB Keenan Reynolds with his 77th career rushing TD, tied for most in FBS history with Montee Ball

-Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell is 7th Ole Miss player with 2,000 rec yds in his career. He’s done it in the fewest games (31).

-Texas A&M QB Kyler Murray joined Cam Newton as only SEC players in last 20 years w/100 yds+TD rushing & pass TD in 1st career start

NFL

-Per ESPN Stats & Info, Giants/Saints was 2nd game in which each team scored at least 49 points. Other: Raiders 52, Oilers 49, 1963 (AFL)

-Rams RB, Todd Gurley, has the most rushing yards (566) in his 1st 4 career starts since 1970, passing Billy Sims 539 (1980 Lions).

-Via the Elias Sports Bureau, Odell Beckham Jr.’s 141 rec, 1,959 rec yards for his career are the most by any player in their 1st 20 career games
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PICK-SIX

1. Andy Staples from Sports Illustrated on Laquon Treadwell’s path back to recovery.

2. ESPN’s Tom Friend on the USC Football saga and the fall of Troy.

3. Sports Ilustrated’s Richard Deitsch on ESPN’s decision to cease the online publication of the popular, “Grantland.”

4. ESPN’s Bruce Schoenfeld on the rise of AFC Bournemouth.

5. N.R. Kleinfield of the New York Times on the “Lonely Death” of George Bell

6. Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated on the end of American Pharaoh’s historic career.
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HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE

Here were my pre-season picks

NFC
East: 1. Philadelphia 2. Dallas 3. New York 4. Washington
North: 1. Green Bay 2. Detroit 3. Minnesota 4. Chicago
South: 1. Carolina 2. New Orleans 3. Tampa Bay 4. Atlanta
West: 1. Seattle 2. Arizona 3. San Francisco 4. St. Louis

AFC
East: 1. New England 2. Buffalo 3. Miami 4. New York
North: 1. Pittsburgh 2. Baltimore 3. Cincinnati 4. Cleveland
South: 1. Indianapolis 2. Tennessee 3. Houston 4. Jacksonville
West: 1. Denver 2. Kansas City 3. San Diego 4. Oakland
Super Bowl: Green Bay over Indianapolis