Folks, we just might have something special here.
Most were just hoping the Dallas Cowboys could simply be competitive in Seattle, perhaps gain a moral victory on the day. But behind an offense that was dominating at times and a defense that is suddenly the toast of the town, Dallas instead came from behind three different times to defeat the Seahawks, 30-23 … and on their home turf, no less.
In fact, if not for two critical mistakes on special teams, a blocked punt and a muff on another, which led to 14 Seattle points, the Cowboys could have conceivably won handily over the defending champs.
Give credit to a defense that was rated last in the league a year ago and wasn’t expected to be much better this season. But Russell Wilson faced constant pressure and Seattle’s receivers had little room to work. The result was only 126 yards passing with just a 50 percent completion percentage for the Seahawks quarterback.
Likewise, Seattle’s vaunted running attack was stymied as they gained just 80 yards on the ground. Overall, the Dallas D held its opponent to just 206 total yards, nine first downs and only a 38 percent conversion rate on third downs.
On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys showed that there may not be a team in the NFL that can stop their offensive attack. Seattle came in as the No. 1 rated defense against the run, but behind a punishing offensive line, DeMarco Murray ran for 115 yards on 29 carries with Joseph Randle adding another 52 yards on five tries.
And Tony Romo was again efficient and dazzling when he needed to be, posting 250 yards through the air with two touchdown tosses. As he has done all season, the quarterback spread the ball around, as eight different receivers caught passes, Terrence Williams hauling in two for 70 yards with Dez Bryant chipping in four catches for 63. Also a threat in the passing game, Murray picked up another 31 yards on six catches.
Halfway into the first quarter, though, the Cowboys appeared to be headed for a long day. The Seahawks had marched 64 yards on their first possession before converting a 33-yard field goal for three points. That was then followed by Dallas having a punt blocked on their opening series, Seattle linebacker Mike Morgan scooping up the bouncing ball and running untouched 25 yards into the end zone. Before they hardly had time to get settled in, the Cowboys were already down, 10-0.
Two years ago, the Cowboys traveled to Seattle in Week 2, and also fell behind by 10 points less than five minutes into the game. And, they eventually rolled over in a 27-7 blowout loss.
This, however, is not your same Dallas Cowboys.
Refusing to back down, this time around Dallas dominated the rest of the first half, responding with drives of 80 yards, 71 and 80 yards, all of which resulted in points as the Cowboys came back to take the lead.
Despite the early deficit, the offense again refused to give up on the ground game and on the Cowboys’ next possession, Murray and Randle combined for five carries for 50 yards, the big blow a run by the latter for 38 yards. Romo then capped off the drive with a 2-yard pass to Gavin Escobar in the middle of the end zone for the 7 points.
That led to the second quarter where the Cowboys simply manhandled the Seahawks. The Dallas defense, which was expected to struggle, did not allow a single first down in the frame.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys offense continued to balance their attack both on the ground and through the air. Their next possession, the team’s first of the second quarter, started at the Dallas 5-yard line, but they steadily marched down the field, running 15 plays and eating up 9:45 of clock before Dan Bailey came in for a 42-yard field goal, the score now even again, 10-10.
With the field goal, Bailey became the most accurate kicker in NFL history, having finally reached the required number of kicks made.
And the momentum continued as the Cowboys again found pay dirt on their next possession. Twice during the drive they faced third-and-long, but on each occasion, Romo found Lance Dunbar on a short pass underneath, the speedy back picking up the big gain to move the chains.
After the quarterback hit Bryant for 23 yards, a penalty pushing the ball to the Seattle 10-yard line, Romo found Jason Witten in the end zone three plays later to give the Cowboys’ their first lead of the game, 17-10, heading into the break.
With that effort, the Cowboys also owned the stat sheet, outgaining the Seahawks 234 yards to 83, with 15 first downs to just three and a time of possession of 20:05 to 9:55.
But there was still 30 minutes to play, and although the defense did its part by shutting down the Seattle offense on its first possession, the normally reliable Dwayne Harris muffed the ensuing punt, the Seahawks recovering at the Dallas 14-yard line.
Two plays later, Wilson faked a handoff and went around the left end and across the goal line to tie the game once again, 17-17.
That got the crowd, which had largely been silenced, back into game and on the Cowboys’ very next possession, center Travis Frederick and Romo miscommunicated on the snap, the ball falling to the turf where Seattle’s Jordan Hill fell on it at the Dallas 20-yard line.
The Cowboys’ defense was able to hold the Seahawks to a 33-yard field goal, although linebacker Kyle Wilber dropped an interception that could have resulted in a pick-six for Dallas the other way. Still, the Cowboys now found themselves down, 20-17.
But just as they did in the first quarter, the Cowboys refused to roll over. Starting at his own 19-yard line, Romo immediately threw deep to Williams, who hauled in the pass for a big 47-yard gain.
That would lead to Bailey again splitting the uprights, this time from an impressive 56 yards out, a career best, to bring the scoreboard even for the third time on the day, 20-20, which is where it remained heading into the deciding fourth quarter.
And things looked bleak when a Chris Jones punt out of his own end zone traveled only 35 yards, setting up Seattle with great field position at the Cowboys’ 42-yard line. That soon resulted in a 48-yard field goal that again gave the home team the lead, 23-20.
But that’s when the Cowboys went to work. Twice the offense converted third downs, the second on a third-and-20 when Williams made an incredible 23-yard sideline catch, dragging his toes inbounds to move the chains. Murray then took over, carrying the ball three straight times, the last a 15-yard run up the middle that put Dallas in the lead for good, 27-23.
When Seattle was then unsuccessful on fourth-and-6 from their own 23, the Cowboys took possession and needed only to run out the clock. While they weren’t able to do so, by the time Bailey kicked the 31-yard field goal to up the advantage to 30-23, there was just 1:09 remaining in the game.
It was over seconds later. On his second play from scrimmage, Wilson tried to go deep over the middle, only to have Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain leap up for the interception, securing the win.
With the victory, the Cowboys improved to 5-1 on the season, their best record since the 2007 campaign. They’ll now return to Dallas for three straight home games, hosting the rival New York Giants next Sunday at 3:25 p.m.
POSTGAME RECAP: Dallas D rises up, Williams clutch catch, running streak, more
The Dallas Cowboys extend their winning streak to five in a row as they knocked off the defending-champion Seattle Seahawks 30-23 at CenturyLink Field Sunday afternoon.
Here are some key moments and stats that propelled the Dallas Cowboys to a 5-1 start.
Big Picture – The Dallas Cowboys are for real. They used the ground game and grinded their way to a 5-1 start for first time since 2007. Even though it only counts as one, this was a statement win. Beating the defending Super Bowl Champions in their house. A place where Seattle has lost just once in the previous 19 contests. Maybe this year really is different.
Turning Point – Terrance Williams catch in the fourth quarter on 3rd and 20. Williams drug his feet to make the spectacular catch, keeping the drive alive. Three plays later, DeMarco Murray scampered 15 yards to the end zone, giving the Cowboys the lead for good.
Key Stat – DeMarco Murray’s streak is alive. With 115 rushing yards, he joins Jim Brown as the second player in NFL history to rush for over 100 yards in six straight games. Murray extended his league lead with 785 yards through six games. Murray out-rushed Marshawn Lynch, who had just 61 yards on 10 carries.
Unsung Hero – Dan Bailey’s career long 56-yard field goal in the third quarter tied the game at 20 each. If he misses, Seattle is in great field position, however Mr. Automatic did it again. Earlier in the game, Bailey’s 42-yard kick was his 100th of his career, qualifying him for the NFL’s all-time leaders. Bailey is now the league’s most accurate kicker in history, making over 90 percent of his career kicks.
Don’t Forget About …
The defense. They gave up just 206 total yards to Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch & company. The Cowboys held the Seahawks to 5-13 (38%) on third down. Rod Marinelli had his unit swarming all day. The only touchdown they allowed came as a result of a Dwayne Harris muffed punt on their own 14 yard line. The “D” is definitely back in Dallas.
INSTANT ANALYSIS: Dallas Cowboys upset Seattle Seahawks on the road
Nearly everyone was surprised by Sunday’s 30-23 win over the Seahawks. Here is the instant analysis immediately following the game.
Broaddus: I thought it would be difficult for the Dallas Cowboys to win this football game if they struggled running the football. Where the Cowboys had some nice success running it early with the committee approach it was DeMarco Murray in the second half that was saddled up to finish it off. My biggest concern was if Russell Wilson was able to get things going on the ground as well much like he did against the Redskins on Monday night it would have been a very long day. The team that played the better rushing defense was the Cowboys and they played the majority of the game on the Seahawks side of the ball. Even when Wilson ran with the ball there was a Cowboys defender near him to make a stop. Rod Marinelli and his guys made Russell Wilson a pocket passer on Sunday while DeMarco Murray earned every yard he got and that was the difference in the game.
Eatman: I’m a believer. How can you not be now? I know many fans were pretty confident the Cowboys could win this game. And I even thought they could, just didn’t think they would. And after Dwayne Harris fumbled the punt, I had that “here we go again” moment. But the Cowboys didn’t have it. They kept attacking. Honestly, I thought this had the chance of getting out of hand, and as it turned out it nearly was – but just for the other team. Dallas completely dominated this game and only their own turnovers kept it close. The Cowboys were the better team on this day and it wasn’t even close. I thought Jason a Witten would do a little more but he did score a touchdown, as did Gavin Escobar. But what I didn’t expect was the Cowboys having the best defense on the field. Huge win for the Cowboys.
Helman: Once again, when I doubt this team can pull off a big win, they prove me wrong. But this is so much bigger than beating the Saints at home. The Cowboys ran over the league’s best run defense and overcame two huge turnovers – all in the NFL’s most hostile environment – to take down the defending world champion. The fact that the Cowboys once again started slow, falling into a 10-0 hole in the first quarter, and then roared back to outscore Seattle, 30-13, down the stretch is simply amazing. Russell Wilson was as close to a non-factor as he could possibly be, as the Dallas defense was absolutely stifling. Three of the Seahawks’ four scoring drives covered less than 30 yards, as it was mainly Dallas miscues that set them up to score. If not for some shoddy special teams play, this could have been a rout. I wasn’t a believer even after the Saints win, but that one made me a believer.
Here are the PREGAME gut feelings for Eatman, Broaddus and Helman.
Broaddus: For the Dallas Cowboys to go Seattle and win this game on the road in one of the most difficult venues in sports they are going to have to find a way to control the game with their rushing attack. The Seahawks are no strangers to having defending the run and realize that the task ahead for them when dealing with the Cowboys will be a difficult one but one they are prepared to handle. My gut feeling this week is that when the final whistle blows it will be the Seahawks Russell Wilson that we are talking about with the better rushing numbers than DeMarco Murray. It will be the inability of the Cowboys defense to slow Wilson down from running the ball that will ultimately cost them this game.
Helman: You don’t see these very often in the NFL, but I consider this a no-pressure game for the Cowboys. Not many people expect them to win this game, and, honestly, they don’t have to. They have exceeded expectations by getting to 4-1, and after Seattle, they have four manageable games – three of them at home – before the bye week. If there’s one thing working in the Cowboys’ favor, I think it’s that they can go up to CenturyLink Field and play loose, like a team with nothing to lose. I think DeMarco Murray will play well, but he’ll fall short of 100 yards – mark me down for 83. I also think Tony Romo is going to play a clean, but unspectacular game. The difference will ultimately be Seattle’s ability to move the ball on the Dallas defense. Russell Wilson is going to pick up some backbreaking third downs with his feet, and I think the Seahawks will score late to clinch a tight game. Seattle wins, something like 31-20.
Eatman: A few weeks ago, in the middle of our radio podcast show “The Lunch Break,” I made a prediction the Cowboys, who were sitting at 1-1 at the time, would beat the Seahawks in a few weeks up in Seattle. Little did I know this team would reel off four straight wins and be sitting atop the NFC leaders. For some reason, I felt better about a Cowboys team around 2-3 or 3-2 going into this place and securing a win than I do here at 4-1. I know that seems backwards but this Cowboys team hasn’t fared too well with matchups like this. Now, this is a new team and a new season and so far, the Cowboys are proving to us each week they’re ready for the challenge. Forgive me for being a little bit hesitant. I think the defense plays really well but it’ll be overshadowed by Seattle’s ability to limit the Cowboys, and particularly the running game. I see DeMarco Murray getting around 65 yards and most of the passes will be short – giving Witten and Beasley a lot of grabs. This will be low scoring but I think Seattle has too much defense.
Related POSTGAME videos …
Garrett and Romo Postgame Press Conference: Watch
FOX HIGHLIGHTS: Cowboys vs. Seahawks: Watch Video
QUICK SNAP – Dallas Cowboys down the Seahawks: Watch Video
PREGAME – Special Edition – Beast vs. Beast: Special Edition digs in to compare how the NFL’s top 2 best running offenses will fare against one another (Watch Video)
POSTGAME RECAP: Dallas D Shines in Seattle; Special Teams Struggle
Seeing one defense rise to the challenge time and time again was to be expected.
In fact, that’s how Seattle has won a lot of games over the years.
But on this day, the Seahawks didn’t have the best unit on the field. And it was the Dallas Cowboys defense that ultimately stepped up on numerous occasions Sunday when the team needed a spark.
“They did a really good job, starting at the line of scrimmage,” head coach Jason Garrett said of the defense, particularly the defensive line. “That runner (Marshawn Lynch) is fantastic for them. And their quarterback (Russell Wilson) gets the movement off that. We were challenged in a lot of ways but our guys stepped up.”
Garrett told his defensive players after the game how important third-down conversions were to the final outcome. Seattle was just 5-of-13 (38 percent) and just three of eight attempts in the second half.
“The guys did a great job of getting off the field,” defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. “We had a good, solid rush. But the secondary was great. We did a really good job of covering on the back line. That’s a really good offense but we did a great job of being disciplined. That’s what we talked about all week.”
Lynch was held to just 61 yards on 10 attempts, but Wilson had just 12 rushing yards on two attempts. That occurred six days after Wilson torched Washington for 122 rushing yards in a Monday Night win over the Redskins.
Cornerback Brandon Carr said the front-seven should get the game ball for this win.
“They contained Wilson all day and kept him in the pocket,” Carr said. “Those guys were awesome up front. They were physical and didn’t let Lynch move the pile. It was a great team win but it starts up front. They were amazing.”
The Cowboys held Seattle to just 206 yards of total offense and limited Wilson as a runner and passer. Wilson was 14 of 28 for just 126 yards with a 47.6 quarterback rating.
“He’s a fantastic player,” Marinelli said. “We did a good job of pressuring him and then our secondary made some plays on the ball. I’m really proud of this group.”
Not So Special
Dwayne Harris didn’t display the same exuberance of many of his teammates after the Cowboys’ statement win. That’s not surprising, given the struggles of Harris – and the special teams units as a whole – on the day.
The Cowboys fell into a 10-0 hole in the first quarter as a result of a blocked punt, with Seattle linebacker Mike Morgan scooping and scoring. In the third quarter, Morgan struck again when he recovered Harris’ muff at the Dallas 14-yard line.
The turnover allowed Seattle to tie the game, 17-17, during a third quarter rally.
“You can’t have a blocked punt, you can’t turn the ball over twice, when we’re there in the red zone, knocking on the door,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.
Harris said the trick for him is to have a short memory and move on to the next return.
“You get four, five kicks – maybe 30, 25 kicks out of the year. Even the best drop some,” he said. “Devin Hester is one of the greatest returners, but I’ve seen him fumble the ball, drop balls – you just keep playing. That’s what all returners do, we just keep playing.”
Dan Bailey’s 42-yard field goal in the second quarter made him the NFL’s most accurate kicker, as far as the record books are concerned. Bailey went into the game needing just one field goal to give him 100 career makes – the threshold to be eligible for that consideration.
He connected, which he has done on 102 of his 112 career attempts – a clip of 91 percent.
That was just a warm-up, as it turns out. The Cowboys called on Bailey twice in the second half. His 56-yarder in the third quarter – which looked amazingly easy – tied the game, 20-20.
“It wasn’t my prettiest kick. I felt like it had kind of a slow rotation, kind of a funky flight to it. But I felt like I put a
pretty good hit on it,” Bailey said.
His 31-yarder with 1:09 remaining gave Dallas a comfortable, 30-23 lead.
In just the fourth year of his career, Bailey said the honor of being the league’s most accurate kicker doesn’t mean much at this stage – not with so many years left to play.
“Honestly, I want to play another 10-plus years,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to do that, so that being said, there’s plenty of more kicks to make and there’s probably going to be some misses in there, too. Realistically, it’s just not that big a deal right now. I just want to enjoy this win.”
That’s the Cowboys plan for Bailey, as well. The team locked him up until 2020 with a contract extension during the offseason.
- The win over the Seahawks Sunday improved Dallas’ 2014 record to 5-1, the first time since the 2007 team started 5-1, and the 13th time overall
- Sunday’s win also upped the Cowboys current win streak to five games, establishing the longest win streak of Jason Garrett’s head coaching tenure and the longest since the team had seven straight wins in 2007 (10/21 – 12/9)
- The win is also Dallas’ fourth consecutive win on the road dating back to last season at Washington (12/22/13), marking the longest road win streak since a 10-game road win streak that began in 2006 at Arizona (11/12) through 2007 at Carolina (12/22)
- Dallas’ record over the Seahawks improved to 10-6 while snapping a three-game losing streak at Seattle. It was only the second win in Seattle by an opposing team over the past three seasons during the Seahawks last 19 home games (17-2), and the first since Arizona was victorious at CenturyLink Field on Dec. 22, 2013
- The victory over the Seahawks marked the first time Dallas has had consecutive wins against teams with a winning record (Houston was 3-1 entering Week 5; Seattle was 3-1 entering Week 6) since the 2007 squad won at the N.Y. Giants (11/11) and against Washington (11/18)
- DeMarco Murray rushed for 115 yards on the ground Sunday against the Seattle, the first time that Seattle has allowed an individual 100+ rusher since December 8, 2013 when Frank Gore of the 49ers rushed for 111 yards on 17 carries
- Dan Bailey had three field goals in Sunday’s game – including a career-long 56 yarder – to reach 102 for his career and become only the second Cowboy (Rafael Septien – 162) to reach 100 career field goals made. He reached 100 career field goals made in 54 games to become the second-fastest kicker in NFL history to reach that milestone.
- By reaching 100 career field goals made, Bailey’s stats qualified amongst league record books for accuracy. By connecting on 91.07% of his field goals, he is now the most accurate kicker in NFL history:
- Dez Bryant had 63 yards on four catches Sunday to pass Miles Austin (4,481) for seventh on the club’s all-time receiving yards list
- DeMarco Murray rushed for 115 yards in Sunday’s game, allowing him to become only the second player in NFL history, behind Jim Brown (1958), to record a streak of six consecutive games to open the season with 100 rushing yards.
- Murray’s 785 yards through the first six games of the season are the most in team history and seventh-most in NFL history.
- Tony Romo made his 114th career start to tie Roger Staubach (114) for the second-most quarterback starts in team history. Troy Aikman owns the top spot with 165 career starts
- Down 23-20 in the fourth quarter, Romo engineered his franchise best 22nd comeback victory in the fourth quarter or overtime, as the Dallas scored 10 unanswered points to come away with the 30-23 victory
- Romo completed 21-of-32 passes for 250 yards with two touchdowns to post a 110.2 quarterback rating, the 58th game of his career with a rating of 100.0-or-better – best in franchise history
- With two touchdown passes Sunday, Romo improved his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown to 34 games – the longest streak in franchise history, the sixth-longest in NFL history and the second-longest active streak.
- Romo’s two touchdowns in Sunday’s game also extended his NFL record streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass on the road to 36. His streak began on Oct. 11, 2009 at Kansas City.
- Jason Witten played in his 177th consecutive game Sunday to break a tie with Dale Hellestrae (176, 1990-2000) for the second-longest streak in team history. Bob Lilly owns the franchise record with 196 consecutive games played
- Witten had two receptions to reach 900 for his career to become only the second tight end in league history (Tony Gonzalez), the first Dallas Cowboy and the 16th player in NFL history to reach 900 career receptions. He reached 900 receptions in his 181st game to become the second-fastest NFL tight end all-time behind Gonzalez’s 171 games – and also ranks as the eighth-fastest amongst all NFL receivers.
- Witten had one receiving touchdown to give him 53 for his career and break a tie with Dave Casper and tie Dallas Clark (53) for the seventh-most receiving touchdowns by an NFL tight end