Tag Archives: Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks

THE BOYS ARE BACK: Seattle Seahawks vs. Dallas Cowboys in week #8 conference showdown | Dez expected to play | Your 2015 Dallas Cowboys gameday resources

THE BOYS ARE BACK: Seattle Seahawks vs. Dallas Cowboys in week #8 conference showdown | Dez expected to play | Your 2015 Dallas Cowboys gameday resources

GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Trackers and Scoreboards

View NFL | Dallas Cowboys game stats and scores online while you watch or listen to the game.

Click HERE to choose from a list of popular online game trackers.

GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Sounds of the game

Listen to the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Brad Sham

on KRLD-FM 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.

Click HERE.

or KMVK-FM 107.5 Mega

for the Spanish broadcast with Victor Villalba and Luis Perez

Don’t live in the Dallas area?

Click HERE for stations broadcasting from the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network and

Compass Media Network out-of-market national radio coverage

or listen via the Dallas Cowboys Android App on your phone or tablet

GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Watch the game

To watch on network TV, tune to:

KDFW-TV/FOX 4 Dallas/Ft. Worth

Out of market? Click HERE to (legally) watch online (NFL Sunday Ticket)

When: Sunday, November 1st, 2015 | Kickoff: 3:25 p.m. (Dallas time)

Where: AT&T Stadium | Arlington, TX

Watch on TV: FOX | DirecTV

GAMEDAY RESOURCES: The Boys Are Back website

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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Dallas Cowboys pregame/postgame shows

LISTEN LIVE–RIGHT NOW

Dallas Cowboys Pre-game/Postgame Show

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Dallas Cowboys Radio Network

Note: The pregame show starts about two hours before kickoff. The postgame show starts approximately 30 minutes after the game is over.


Dez Bryant expected to return

Dez Bryant will make his return to the field today against the Seahawks, barring a late setback during warm-ups.

He’ll wear a custom orthotic on his foot.

His bone is healing well, and they don’t believe he’s at further risk of injury. Bryant’s presence should provide a lift for the team badly in need of a win.

The Dallas Cowboys medical and training staff, widely respected around the NFL, took several steps to speed up Bryant’s recovery from the Jones fracture. The bone graft they did was actually proactive, not as a result of a chronic component to the injury as is often the case. They used it to promote long-term healing.

A few weeks later, the Cowboys had Bryant undergo a procedure to remove bone marrow stem cells from his hip and inject them into his ankle. That was believed to accelerate the process, too. And Bryant worked hard with the training staff to get back as soon as he could.

Bryant practiced off to the side last week, and was a limited participant in practice this week.

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2014-2015 GAME 6 RECAP: Dallas vs. Seattle | Big D shocks Seahawk jocks | Dallas defeats defending champs, 30-23 | Dallas D Shines in Seattle; Special Teams Struggle | Postgame videos and analysis | Highlights

2014-2015 GAME 6 RECAP - Dallas vs. Seattle - Seahawks Shocked by Big D jocks - Dallas defeats defending champs, 30-23 - Dallas D Shines in Seattle; Special Teams Struggle

Folks, we just might have something special here. Continue reading →

BACK-TO-BASICS DEFENSE: Rob Ryan’s lack of organization was his fatal flaw in Dallas

Rob Ryan is out after two seasons with Dallas Cowboys - The Boys Are Back blog

It was first from Jerry Glanville during one of those classic NFL Films moments when he uttered the phase to a referee after a call against his Oilers, “This is the NFL which stands for not for long if you keep making calls like that.” Whether you are a front office member like I was for 13 years or a coach in this league, it really can be for not for long. There are so many highs in this profession but there are also gut wrenching lows and you fully understand when you sign up for this job.

Rob Ryan was removed as defensive coordinator of this team Tuesday night by Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett in a move that was described as going in a different philosophical direction. Ryan is a proud man but this is the situation that coaches live with every day. In the case, the general manager and head coach were not happy and this was the best course of action in their minds. Was it the right move? That is up for debate because you can look at Ryan’s side for the number of starters he had to play without for the majority of the season and appalled how they managed to hold his defense together during a difficult time.

For Jones and Garrett, they can point to games where they did have a full squad of defensive players against Seattle and Chicago but were unable to win those games but I think it’s really much deeper than that. When Ryan was in line to take this job, I reached out to friends that I had with the Browns to ask them about Ryan and what he could bring to this team. The majority of the dialog was extremely positive but to a man the one area they focused on was his lack of organization and maybe this is his fatal flaw. There were reasons that Ryan always spoke how fortunate he was to have Matt Eberflus, Brian Baker and Ben Bloom to help him coach and to his credit, he was absolutely correct. They are outstanding coaches.

There is a side of me that believes that Ryan lost this job in the eyes of the general manager and head coach because there simply were times where he tried to do too much with this defense and the lack of organization got him in trouble. The scheme was more important than just lining up and playing. Every game was a track meet from the sideline to the field with Ryan trying to match personnel and I understand that is part of the game but there were times where you saw either too many men on the field or not enough. My gut tells me that the general manager and head coach want a simpler approach in how this team plays defense. It is more about how you can line up in your base front, get off blocks and tackle. It’s fundamental football and not about having seven linebackers on the field. You look at the Chicago Bears and how simple they play defense but also create turnovers. Again, the injury situation limits what Ryan can do but it’s a cleaner approach.

Looking back I will always be thankful for the opportunity to cover Ryan these last two seasons. He was always very honest to me and had time to answer questions about his dad’s “46” defense but this is a bottom line business and he even understands that. The general manager told you he wasn’t happy and no one took this seriously but I guess we will now. I will be interested to see in what direction he and Garrett go, but that is for another story.   

Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Scout

ROSTER UPDATE: LeQuan Lewis waived; expect a signing to be announced soon

IRVING, TexasThe bye week typically is a time for a few tweaks and changes, especially after a tough loss like the Cowboys had Monday night against the Bears, falling to 2-2.

Expect a few roster alterations to either the 53-man roster and/or the practice squad before the Oct. 14 game in Baltimore.

The Cowboys made on Tuesday, waiving cornerback LeQuan Lewis from the roster, dropping the roster down to 52 players. Obviously, the move was made to add another player although the Cowboys didn’t officially announce a roster addition. The Cowboys might use it to bring back safety Mana Silva, who was released a week ago.

Lewis, who was added from the Jets’ practice squad two weeks ago, played in the last two games, mostly on special teams. He was forced into action near the end of the Tampa Bay game on Sept. 23, playing cornerback in nickel situations as the Bucs were throwing into the end zone to try and claw back into the game.

The speedster was the gunner on the punt team and one of the middle players on the kickoff coverage units as well. Brought in three weeks ago as they were getting ready to face Seattle’s return ace, Leon Washington. Monday night, they got past Chicago’s Devin Hester.

Lewis had one tackle and one pass defensed in the regular defense.

NEW FACES IN FAMILIAR PLACES: McCray, Lissemore, and Orie Lemon will be starters tomorrow

Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch (24) rushes as Dallas Cowboys' Danny McCray - The Boys Are Back blog

A pair of third-year pros — Danny McCray and Sean Lissemore — are expected to get their first NFL starts in place of Gerald Sensabaugh and Kenyon Coleman, respectively.

Ryan Cook will get his second start in place of Phil Costa, who was injured in the opener. Josh Brent will replace Jay Ratliff, who has yet to play this season.

McCray, a member of Houston Westfield High’s 2004 Class 5A state title team, hasn’t started a game since his senior year at LSU.

“I’m excited,” he told reporters in Irving. “I’m trying to save it for Sunday.”

Lissemore played well against Seattle.

“I know he should have been starting forever — the kid made 10 tackles last week,” defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said.

Ryan discusses scheme in Seattle: Many observers were puzzled why the Cowboys didn’t blitz Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson more Sunday.

On Friday, Ryan offered an explanation that centered on the Seahawks often using multiple tight end formations.

“I know everybody was wanting to kill their quarterback,” Ryan said. “Believe me, I was wanting to hit the kid, too. They had a plan that wouldn’t allow us to do it: max protect.”

Wilson was 15 of 20 for 151 yards and a touchdown, but he took a backseat to a running game that generated 182 yards, including 122 from Marshawn Lynch.

“Any time people are running the ball downhill on you, it’s hard to do anything else until you get that run stopped,” Ryan said.

Ryan said it would be a mistake to believe he’s become conservative.

“We will pressure the quarterback,” he said. “We do play more three-man front football to go along with it, so the quarterback doesn’t know we’re just a blitz-a-thon like every junior varsity high school football team. We’re not doing that. We’re going to play the efficient way. We prefer efficiency over stupidity.”

EDITOR COMMENT: As mentioned earlier today, the Dallas Cowboys have elevated Orie Lemon from the practice squad to help in the special teams effort. Link below. What do you think of the new faces in familiar places?

RELATED POSTS ON THE BOYS ARE BACK BLOG:

Rob Ryan: “We all know DeMarcus Ware isn’t at full speed.” (Bonus Video)

ROSTER MOVES: LB Orie Lemon promoted from practice squad; Mario Butler waived

Rob Ryan: “We all know DeMarcus Ware isn’t at full speed.” (Bonus Video)

DeMarcus Ware sacks Eli Manning in the Dallas Cowboys NFL season opener - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, TexasDeMarcus Ware didn’t have the field day against Seahawks backup left tackle Frank Omiyale that many expected.

Starting left tackle Russell Okung sat out with an injury, yet Ware didn’t register a sack against the Seahawks in a 27-7 loss last weekend. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan indicated Friday that Ware might not be 100 percent.

“We all know DeMarcus isn’t full speed,” Ryan said. “When he is, look out.”

Ware missed the rest of the preseason after tweaking his hamstring in the week leading into the second exhibition game against the Chargers. He finished with two sacks in the regular-season opener against the Giants, but was a limited participant in practice prior to the Seahawks game.

Ryan said the Cowboys will find out this week just how hampered Ware is by his hamstring.

“I know he’s improving,” Ryan said. “He’s working on it. When he’s full strength, I agree with you, he’s the best in the league, and he’s the best there ever was. But he’s still never gotten a sack when they run the football.”

In addition to his health, Ryan attributed Ware’s lack of sacks to the Seahawks’ propensity to use running back Marshawn Lynch. Seattle rushed 41 times and only threw 20 passes.

Whether or not he was limited, Ware still played and was credited with two solo tackles and six assists against the Seahawks. The Cowboys gave him eight solo tackles and five assists based on coaches’ film, his 13 total tying a career high.

Ryan said the Cowboys got away from their anticipated game plan after falling behind early. He said he plans to pressure the quarterback more, but wants to be more efficient than a junior varsity high school defense that sends a “blitzathon” at the opposing quarterback.

“I think we’re the fifth leading team at sacking the quarterback per pass attempt,” Ryan said. “We’re always up there because we do have great pressures, we do know when to pressure, we know how to pressure, we know how to attack protections.”

SOURCE: Rob Ryan press conference – Efficiency Over Stupidity

Video - Rob Ryan press conference - Week 3 2012 Season - The Boys Are Back blog

Rob Ryan: Efficiency over stupidity

Rob Ryan talks about last weekends game against the Seahawks and what they need to do to improve this week.

 

To watch video, click on picture or HERE. Enjoy!

OVER REACTION: It’s too early to be jumping to conclusions

OVER REACTION - It’s too early to be jumping to conclusions - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, Texas – OK, look, let’s cut through all the baloney that has been floating around out there all week.

You know what I mean, all the sweeping assumptions being thrown down ever since the Cowboys’ 27-7 clunker last Sunday in Seattle that a whole lot want to insist has minimized their 24-17 season-opening victory over the New York Giants. Seriously? Minimized? Why, if they had not beaten the Giants the Cowboys would be going into their home-opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers noon Sunday at Cowboys Stadium at 0-2 instead of 1-1.

Let’s see, there has been this entire Felix Jones brouhaha taking place. Just cut the guy because he fumbled the opening kickoff in the Seattle game, and is struggling to get any kickoffs back to the 20-yard line. Too slow. Doesn’t care. Come on, this is why the Cowboys are 1-1, why they lost to Seattle?

Well, check this out. The Cowboys average starting point after 10 opponent kickoffs is the 19.7-yard line. That means they are one of 21 teams whose average starting point ranges between the 21.9 and the 15. Guess who was at 15? The undefeated Houston Texans. Guess who is right below the Cowboys at 19.6? It’s the undefeated San Francisco 49ers.

Also, the Cowboys just aren’t physical enough, and this just one week after the Cowboys put up 143 yards rushing against those defensive Giants of New York when many were remarking how physical the Cowboys were. Now it’s, “they just let Marshawn Lynch push them all around.”

Hmmm. Did you realize last year in a 23-13 victory over the Seahawks, Lynch rushed for 135 yards and the Seahawks for 162? Heck, if the Cowboys had simply executed the defense properly or had Rob Ryan not called a safety blitz coming in from the Cowboys right when the Seahawks handed off on the run going left, Lynch would not have set sail on the back-breaking 36-yard run. Take that run away, and he goes for 86 yards on 25 carries. That’s not getting pushed around in my book, and far from getting punked.

Then there is this missing identity thing taking just two games to resurface. As in, who are these Cowboys? What are these Cowboys?

Again, seriously, after just two games? Other than being defending Super Bowl champions, who were the New York Giants after two games before ripping Carolina Thursday night? The team that was whupped by the Cowboys in their own stadium? The team that opened the game against Tampa Bay with three interceptions to trail 27-14 at home late in the third quarter? Or the team that ended up passing for 510 yards and recovering for a 41-34 victory over the Bucs?

Let’s see, there also has been talk like Jason Witten is over the hill, same ol’ Dez Bryant, no pass rush and, love this one, Cowboys just can’t stand prosperity, as if winning just one game is prosperity.

Has anyone considered the Seahawks just might be pretty good? And who knows for sure, and maybe we find out a little more Monday night when they play Green Bay at CenturyLink. Look, I know the Cowboys beat the Seahawks 23-13 last year, but did you realize they finished 2011 with a 7-9 record, just one game behind the 8-8 Cowboys? And did you realize they were throwing for the end zone in the final seconds at Arizona in a 20-16 loss to the Cardinals, the same team that went to New England a week later and won?

Ya know. Goodness, hope so many don’t make such knee-jerk assumptions in real life on more important matters. Let this season breathe just a little. Let’s see, cuz I’m not saying any or all of these two-game assumptions are wrong, but just don’t know yet that they are accurate, especially after playing the opening two games on the road, going from the Right Coast to the Left Coast. Not easy. And Tampa gets a taste of that this Sunday, getting ready to play back-to-back road games.

So really, let’s not be afraid of the truth, of worrying about what needs some worrying over.

Bottom line from the Puget Sound: The Cowboys scored seven darn points, and not too many times will you win a game in the National Football League with seven darn points. Hey, they score seven Sunday and I’m guessing you’d bet the house (your house, not mine) they emerge at 3 p.m. with a 1-2 record. Don’t be clouding the issue with rhetoric.

Here is the issue, first and foremost heading into the Tampa Bay game: Hold on to the darn football. You can’t drop five passes, as they did against Seattle, and then on top of that fail to hang onto at least two or three other throws that would have qualified as big-time NFL catches, and expect to win.

You can’t fumble the opening kickoff, and then on the one time you have a chance to return a punt, you double-dribble the ball and have to end up falling on it, forfeiting an opportunity to gain like the 15 to 20 yards that were out there ahead of Dez Bryant, and expect to win. Ball security is important.

So is securing your quarterback. While Tony Romo has been sacked just twice in two games, too many times he’s being forced to improvise in the pocket because of pressure. Those spin-o-rama moves he continues to make are cute, but also out of necessity because of poor protection. To me, that was a huge cause for the loss to Seattle, in spite of spotting the Seahawks those opening 10 points.

Hey, they had recovered somewhat from the disastrous start, trailing 10-7 at one point, and then 13-7 at halftime. Still, score one touchdown, and you wipe away all the bad and lead 14-13. How’d that make Seattle feel if they think they had dominated the first half, look up early in the third and were trailing?

But no, the Cowboys, after the defense forced a half-opening punt, can only gain 13 yards that first possession and have to punt. Then, even after Seattle scores, thanks to that 36-yard Lynch run and busted coverage on the 22-yard touchdown pass to Anthony McCoy, they only gain 16 yards on the ensuing possession and have to punt again.

Had the offense at least scored those 24 points they did against the Giants, life would have been more difficult on the Seahawks. They would have forced them to play offense. But the Cowboys offense couldn’t move, and too many times the pressure was coming up in the middle in Romo’s face. Too many times blitzes were causing him to alter or force throws.

Remember, the offensive line was a concern heading into the season, and after two games there still should be concern. That five-some is a work in progress, but its work needs to progress at a faster rate, otherwise …

So let’s just see before you start jumping overboard. Isn’t there some sort of saying about better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

What if you jump into the freezing cold water below, and then the ship doesn’t go down?

Patience, just a little, OK.

ARMOR ALL NEXT FALL: Barry Church injured without thigh pads; will be required in 2013

In the season opener last year, Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant took a hard hit on a punt return. He wasn’t wearing thigh pads, and the thigh contusion kept him out the next week against the 49ers and slowed him for several weeks after. This year, the same thing already has happened to Barry Church.

Church wasn’t wearing a thigh pad when he took a knee to his quadriceps against Seattle. The Cowboys starting strong safety played only 13 plays.

The NFL will make hip and knee pads mandatory equipment in 2013, with players facing fines for not using them.

"That’s going to suck," said Church, who expects to play, with a thigh pad, this week. "I mean, it feels real restricting when you have all those pads in. But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, I guess."

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he emphasizes the importance of wearing all the protective equipment provided, but as a former NFL quarterback he understands why players don’t.

"It’s an age-old thing for players," Garrett said. "You want to be as light as possible, so there’s always a balance there. You look at the receivers through the years. Very few receivers wear their thigh pads or knee pads, or if they do, it’s a real light version of it. They wear smallish shoulder pads. As a former player, i know that issue, because it’s a confidence factor. You don’t want to be slowed down by anything."

Church went through practice, taking all of his work with the first team defense and special teams, and said “I felt pretty good.’’ But he admits that if he had worn thigh pads against the Seahawks, he wouldn’t have been forced to leave the game.

The girdle along with the thigh pads will give him a little extra protection for this game, a game he can’t afford to miss since it appears safety Gerald Sensabaugh will.

NFL HITS SEAHAWK: Golden Tate fined $21,000 for block on Sean Lee

Illegal hit on Sean Lee vs Seattle Seahawks - The Boys Are Back blog

Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate has been fined $21,000 by the NFL for a "blindside block" on Sean Lee.

The amount is the designated minimum for a blindside block, which is what the league is calling it.

The NFL won’t announce the amount until later in the week, but a first offense in this category carries a $21,000 fine under the collective bargaining agreement.

Tate was not flagged for a penalty on the play even though it was a hit on a defenseless player. In fact, the Cowboys were assessed a 15-yard penalty at the end of Russell Wilson’s scramble when Bruce Carter was called for pushing the quarterback out of bounds.

After the hit, Tate stood on the field and flexed his muscles.

The Seahawks were up 20-7 early in the fourth quarter when quarterback Russell Wilson got flushed from the pocket. As Lee ran toward Wilson, Tate blindsided him with a vicious block that repeatedly was shown on the replay board in the stadium. The Cowboys were sure the flag on the field was against Tate, though it instead was against Bruce Carter for a push out of bounds on Wilson. Mike Pereira, the NFL’s former director of officiating who now works for Fox, agreed on Twitter at the time that Tate should have been penalized.

"It’s up to the NFL," Lee said today. "I don’t really care. The part I don’t like is the celebrating after the hit. … To me, a crack-back block isn’t tough. Anyone can do that. Toughness is about being able to take a hit and getting back up and doing it again."

RELATED: Golden Tate – ‘I’d be upset if I was on that highlight, being crushed’

Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate said Monday that he was praying he didn’t get fined by the NFL for the blindside hit he delivered Sunday on Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee.

Tate posted the following statement on his official Twitter page Sunday evening:

“I hope Sean Lee is ok. I never have intentions on injuring another player. It’s football which means Its physical, dirty hit would be if I went for his head or neck area.”

Well, the NFL saw things differently, fining Tate $21,000 on Wednesday.

“I don’t think I did anything wrong, but only time will tell,” Tate said Monday on Sports Radio KJR in Seattle. “We’ll see what the NFL office says and we’ll go from there.”

Tate also said during the Monday interview that he aimed lower to avoid a helmet-to-helmet collision because he “had no interest in hurting” Lee.

But Tate wasn’t too remorseful when he heard that Lee said the Seattle receiver wouldn’t be celebrating the way he did if the two players met up one-on-one.

“He has his own opinion of what he thinks,” Tate said Monday. “I’d be upset if I was on that highlight, being crushed. But I’m a lover not a fighter so if it came to one-on-one we’ll deal with that whenever that time comes.

“Like I said, I never have any intentions on hurting another player. The way I see it, this is a big fraternity. I was just playing hard and got caught up in the moment.  At that point I thought the game could go either way. It was a momentum changer. It sprung us, and that was my only intentions, was putting this offense in better position to score and win the game. And that was an opportunity that I feel like, at the end of the day, any defensive player would be licking their chops to get a hit on a quarterback. So I felt like maybe this is a legal block I was going to get on a defensive player versus them always trying to knock us out.

“So, I wasn’t trying to be vicious at all. But it is what it is.”

SNAP DECISIONS: Taking a look at offensive and defensive player participation vs. Seattle

Huddle up - The Boys Are Back blog

A look at the snaps played by Cowboys’ defenders in the team’s 27-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, while analyzing what it means:

CB Brandon Carr: 68 of 68

CB Morris Claiborne: 64 of 68

ILB Sean Lee: 62 of 68

OLB DeMarcus Ware: 58 of 68

OLB Anthony Spencer: 58 of 68

ILB Bruce Carter: 54 of 68

S Gerald Sensabaugh: 52 of 68

S Danny McCray: 50 of 68

DE Jason Hatcher: 48 of 68

NG Josh Brent: 42 of 68

DE Marcus Spears: 34 of 68

CB Orlando Scandrick: 30 of 68

DL Sean Lissemore: 23 of 68

DE Kenyon Coleman: 21 of 68

S Mana Silva: 17 of 68

DE Victor Butler: 16 of 68

S Barry Church: 13 of 68

ILB Dan Connor: 11 of 68

DE Tyrone Crawford: 10 of 68

CB Mike Jenkins: 8 of 68

LB Alex Albright: 1 of 68

Danny McCray gets the Ironman Award this week for playing a team-high 74 snaps, if we include his work on special teams. McCray played so much because a quadriceps injury significantly limited Barry Church’s playing time. … Mike Jenkins made his 2012 debut as a part-time player at safety in the dime defense. With Gerald Sensabaugh (calf) out at least a couple of weeks, Jenkins’ playing time will increase at that spot. … Bruce Carter continues to make plays and saw his playing time nearly double. … Sean Lissemore will see additional playing time if he continues to produce at absurd levels. He had 10 tackles in only 38 snaps. … Victor Butler saw increased playing time, but had no impact.

A look at the snaps played by Cowboys’ offense and what it means:

Continue reading →

HOLDING BACK: Why did Rob Ryan play so soft vs. Seahawks?

VIDEO - Rob Ryan press conference - The Boys Are Back blog - Press PLAY to watch

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan isn’t talking to the media after games this season, so we’ll have to wait until Friday afternoon to ask this question:

What the heck was up with that soft game plan against the Seahawks?

This was a disgrace to the blitz-happy Ryan family name. Give credit to Seattle’s Russell Wilson for playing a poised, mistake-free game, but the Cowboys barely tried to rattle the vertically challenge rookie quarterback with blitzes.

Ryan called only six blitzes on Wilson’s 25 drop backs. And this came after Wilson went 6-of-18 for 47 yards and was sacked three times against five-plus-man pressure in a Week 1 loss to the Cardinals, according to numbers crunched by ESPN Stats & Information.

It’s not like Wilson burned the Cowboys when they blitzed. He was 3-of-5 for only 21 yards and was sacked once.

Wilson, who had plenty of time in the pocket against the Cowboys’ three- and four-man rushes, completed 12 of 15 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown when Dallas didn’t blitz. He also scrambled three times for 26 yards and was sacked once, in garbage time.

The Seahawks averaged 7.6 yards per play when Wilson dropped back against regular pressure. Seattle averaged 2.8 yards per play when Wilson dropped back against the blitz. But the Cowboys blitzed less than a quarter of his drop backs?!

The Cowboys’ personnel makes the lack of aggressiveness by Ryan even more puzzling.

The Cowboys’ sorry cornerbacks forced Ryan to play soft too often last season. That’s no longer the case after Jerry Jones invested $50 million in Brandon Carr and a first-round pick in Morris Claiborne. The Cowboys should have felt more than comfortable leaving their corners alone against mediocre receivers like Sidney Rice, Braylon Edwards and Golden Tate.

And the Seahawks played most of the game with a backup left tackle and right guard. Maybe Ryan figured that Pro Bowl pass rusher DeMarcus Ware would wreak havoc against Frank Omiyale, a tackle so bad the Bears got rid of him. Ware’s lack of impact was one of the biggest mysteries of the afternoon.

But why not see if Seattle’s patchwork offensive line could handle Ryan’s creative blitz schemes? Why not force a munchkin rookie quarterback to make decisions under duress?

We’ll try to get answers … Friday.

Until then, watch it again on NFL Game Rewind:

NFL Game Rewind - The Boys Are Back blog

JASON GARRETT PRESS CONFERENCE: Felix Jones | Safeties | Dez | Sean Lee | Coleman (VIDEO)

Video - Jason Garrett Press Conference - The Boys Are Back blog

Jason Garrett Press Conference 09/17 (Click on picture or HERE to watch – 28:09)

Jason Garrett answers questions from the Dallas media about the Dallas Cowboys 27-7 loss in Seattle on Sunday afternoon. The topics below, and others, were addressed.

Felix Jones won’t be benched, but Jason Garrett considering alternatives

IRVING — Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the fumble on the opening kickoff return against Seattle is the type of play that makes him consider other options.

Felix Jones lost the ball, and the Seahawks recovered and kicked a field goal as they built a 10-0 lead five minutes into the game.

"When you make a play like that, you look hard again at that and what the alternatives are," Garrett said Monday at Valley Ranch.

"… We have a few different guys working at that, and we’ll evaluate that again this week."

Jones averaged 21.8 yards on five returns against Seattle, but he started two returns deep in the end zone and got past the 20-yard line only once. He has been the only returner this season. Dwayne Harris and Phillip Tanner are also back to return on kickoffs.

Garrett said Jones’ explosiveness hasn’t shown, perhaps because he missed the off-season with a shoulder injury, but that ball security is most important.

"We have to improve in that area obviously, and then hopefully we’ll continue to improve, both our returner and how we’re blocking things to get him better opportunities," Garrett said.

There was no thought about benching Jones.

"He was going to go back out there the next time, and we had to make sure that he was ready to go. And he returned the ball better as he got more opportunities in the game and certainly protected it better," Garrett said. "But I think the situations vary. Sometimes you say, ‘Hey, you’ve had enough opportunities, let’s put the next guy in,’ and other times you believe in the guy because of his body of work and you give him another chance to do it."

Safeties hurt

The Cowboys might have to start backups Danny McCray and Mana Silva at safety against Tampa Bay, and they could use cornerbacks Mike Jenkins and Mario Butler for extra help.

Starters Barry Church (thigh bruise) and Gerald Sensabaugh (calf) are questionable after getting hurt against Seattle, although Church said he will be able to play Sunday.

"He doesn’t have a lot of experience playing true safety, but he is a good athlete and he’s got a good instinct and feel for playing the game," Jason Garrett said of Jenkins. "We will have to make that evaluation and see how he stacks up against the other guys in normal down-and-distance situations as well as the third-down coverage situation."

Bryant pressed

Dez Bryant was inconsistent getting free against Seattle’s physical press coverage, Jason Garrett said.

"I thought at times he did a good job. Other times, he didn’t win on enough routes," Garrett said. "But that’s what good press corners do to you. You have to keep fighting and keep battling. Typically, what happens is the game feels a little uncomfortable to you when you play a style of defense like that."

Bryant was limited to three catches for 17 yards. He has seven catches for 102 yards this season, no touchdowns and two drops.

Tricky situation

Jason Garrett said it’s difficult to defend a player who has been hit hard like Sean Lee was against Seattle but stay within the rules.

"It’s a tricky situation," he said. "You want to have each other’s backs, but you also have to have poise and composure. It’s really important for us to understand how to handle ourselves at the end of a down after a play like that because you don’t want to compound the mistake. You don’t want to add another 15-yard penalty to that. It’s a tricky situation."

Briefly

Kenyon Coleman left the facility on crutches with his knee wrapped. Jason Garrett said the defensive end suffered a hyperextension.

Garrett said it was a technique error that led to the punt block. "It was not a real complicated look. We just got beat on the edge," he said.

Courtesy: Carlos Mendez | Ft Worth Star-Telegram

JERRY JONES INTERVIEW: Seahawks imposed their will, showed how to use home field

Video - Jerry Jones postgame interview - The Boys Are Back blog

Jerry Jones: Better Than Us Today (click on picture or HERE to watch video – 3:59)

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talks about the performance of his team and also speaks of the Seattle Seahawks.

JERRY JONES: Seahawks imposed their will, showed how to use home field

Jerry Jones wanted to give credit to the Seahawks, and he wanted to make sure he was understood.

“In everything about playing football, they were better than we were,” he said after Sunday’s 27-7 loss. “Every aspect of it. So we can call it whatever you want to call it, but they were better than we were, all the way.”

It was plain, simple talk from the Cowboys owner, who usually convolutes his sentences around themselves to get to a basic point.

Sunday, there were no roundabouts.

“They were prepared. They played ready. They played with emotion,” he said of the Seahawks. “We knew they were a good team when we came up here. And they are a good team, especially at home. So we do congratulate them. This is a disappointment for us, an example for us how about how to play with home field.”

Jones said the outcome didn’t surprise him, not after the way the teams played.

“But that doesn’t make it any easier,” he said. “We thought we had an opportunity to win two on the road, which would be a great way to start. But they had other ideas. They imposed their will on us today. And we’ve just got to look at that and learn form that, and that’s what the NFL is.”

Jones said the Cowboys have to be good enough to overcome an early deficit, no matter how it happened. He said not getting to 2-0 is a frustration.

“We’ve got to be good enough to come in situations like this and win to get where we’re going, and we weren’t today,” he said. “We’ve got to be good enough to play a team like this at home and gain on it, to create a win that we can build on. That’s what we are. We didn’t get it done today. And I know everybody in this room’s disappointed. We’ve got to be good enough to win a game like this, and we weren’t today. But they had everything to say about it.”

RELATED: Felix Jones says kickoff fumble caused by helmet hit

Felix Jones said the ball got hit by a helmet when he fumbled on the opening kickoff.

“Man, he made a great play,” Jones said after Sunday’s 27-7 loss. Michael Robinson was credited with causing the fumble, which led to a field goal for the Seahawks and a 3-0 lead.

“The ball, he hit right on the ball, his head, helmet,” Jones said. “Ball flew out. He made a great tackle. That’s something I’ve got to work on and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Jones continued to return kickoffs. He took only one touchback. Twice he returned kicks from 8 yards deep.

“You want to be a playmaker,” he said. “You want to go out there and do things for your team and help your team out and put them in a good position. That’s what we’re doing on special teams. We’ve got to continue to do that and get better.”

Jerry Jones hasn’t lost confidence in Felix.

“I don’t think that I’m worried about him fumbling the ball. At all,” the Cowboys owner said. “We need to get him some holes. We need to get some blocking for him up there as well.”

Felix, who averaged 21.8 yards on five returns Sunday and 20.3 yards on three returns against the Giants, said he felt bad after the play.

“You feel bad when you put the team in a bad position,” he said. “I did that. So just got to make up for it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

He said his own confidence is up, also.

“Feel good. Just got to make sure I stay on top of my game and keep getting better every week,” he said.

NO FLAG FOOTBALL: Vicious hit on Sean Lee part of rough game

Where’s the flag? If he’s looking for a flag on the Sean Lee hit … he won’t find one! - The Boys Are Back blog

PHOTO: Where’s the flag? If he’s looking for a flag on the Sean Lee hit … he won’t find one! 

SEATTLE — Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett spent a lot of time during training camp trying to make his team more physical.

The club seemed to be making strides in that area until it ran into a buzz saw in Seattle on Sunday.

From a bullying offensive line to a vicious crack-back block delivered by receiver Golden Tate against linebacker Sean Lee to a couple of big hits on tight end Jason Witten, the Seahawks punished the Cowboys in winning 27-7.

“It starts with our coach,” Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor said of Pete Carroll. “Pete has a lot of energy, and he spreads the energy through us.”

Tate’s hit came with the Seahawks up 20-7 early in the fourth and was credited with helping to take the fight out of the Cowboys.

The blindside hit came on a 14-yard run by rookie quarterback Russell Wilson around the left end. Tate launched himself into Lee’s chest and came up through his chin, a blow that sent the third-year player flying.

“I was trying to hit him a little bit and get him on the ground, but I didn’t realize how hard I hit him,” said Tate, who flexed his muscles to the crowd afterward.

Lee left the field under his own power. After getting checked for a concussion, he returned a few players later.

Asked if it was a dirty play, Lee said, “It’s part of the game, not for me to judge. I’ll watch the film, but I know that can happen any time.”

Asked if he was OK, he added, “Yeah. Well, other than the loss. … I cleared everything from a concussion standpoint. My head didn’t hurt at all. It was more about losing breath.”

The play didn’t result in a penalty even though crack-back blocks against defenseless players are a rules violation. There was a flag on the play, though, but it was against Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter for unnecessary roughness.

Garrett suggested Tate’s blow should have drawn a flag.

“(Hits against defenseless players) is something the league is trying to guard against, and this was a pretty good example,” he said.

Owner Jerry Jones said he believes the NFL will look at the hit.

VIDEO COURTESY:

CPanther95 (Dallas Cowboys Fan Forum); All41oneforall (YouTube); YouTube

RELATED POST on THE BOYS ARE BACK blog:

UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Sean Lee gets blindsided by Seattle’s Golden Tate

RELATED POST on THE DALLAS COWBOYS website:

Will Golden Tate’s hit on Sean Lee fuel debate on the replacement officials?

RELATED: Joe Flacco Calls Out Refs After Baltimore Ravens’ Loss

Flacco upset with replacement officials - The Boys Are Back blog

Joe Flacco had a chance to make some late-game magic against the Philadelphia Eagles. Unlike Michael Vick, Flacco couldn’t get it done.

After Sunday’s 24-23 loss, the Baltimore Ravens quarterback largely blamed the replacement officials, saying they are "affecting the integrity of the game."

Flacco’s biggest gripe is that replacement refs don’t know what holding is. He also mocked the offensive pass-interference call against Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones that wiped away a fourth-quarter touchdown. It’s worth noting a number of shaky calls were made in the game, which took 3½ hours because of delays in making decisions.

"He didn’t even throw a flag, he threw a blue beanie," Flacco said, via Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post.

Flacco even admitted that he sounded like a "big baby" after the game. That didn’t stop him from voicing his discontent.  Click HERE to watch game highlights.

MILESTONES: During the Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks game

Dallas Cowboys WR Miles Austin scores the Dallas Cowboys only TD vs Seattle Seahawks - The Boys Are Back blog

Miles Austin’s touchdown catch Sunday gave him 30 for his career to become the 11th Dallas Cowboy with 30 touchdown receptions and tied him with Doug Cosbie for 10th in franchise history.

With his touchdown pass Sunday, Tony Romo tied Roger Staubach for the third-most touchdowns in franchise history with 153.

Anthony Spencer finished Sunday’s game with a pair of sacks for his fifth career multiple-sack game.

DeMarcus Ware’s streak of consecutive road games with a sack came to an end Sunday, finishing with a league-record of 11 straight road games with a sack.           

Jason Witten’s four-catch performance Sunday gave him 702 career receptions to become just the second Dallas pass catcher to reach 700 career catches – Michael Irvin (750) – and the third tight end in league history to hit the mark – Tony Gonzalez (1,149) and Shannon Sharpe (815).

Witten reached 700 catches in 145 games – the fastest of the previous tight ends – Gonzalez (154) and Sharpe (178).

Witten’s 58 yards Sunday gave him 7,977 for his career and allowed him to overtake Jackie Smith (7,918) for fourth on the NFL’s all-time tight ends receiving yards list. Witten is just four yards shy of third place, behind Ozzie Newsome (7,980).

Just three days after signing a three-year contract extension that will keep him under contract through 2016, Sean Lissemore had a career-high with 10 tackles.

Linebacker Bruce Carter also had a career-best with 10 tackles Sunday.

INJURY UPDATE: Dallas starting safeties went down; Jenkins returned

SEATTLEThere was a moment in the second half of Sunday’s disappointing loss to the Seahawks where it started to look like the first week of training camp in Oxnard.

That’s the point of camp where injuries were mounting to an extreme and it seemed like the Cowboys couldn’t take two steps without suffering another injury.

Obviously, this was much worse, considering the Cowboys weren’t just playing a real game, but getting manhandled by a more aggressive Seattle squad that was dishing out a few big hits.

But the injuries were occurring in a variety of ways, especially to the defensive side of the ball. Safety Barry Church went out of the game in the first quarter with a quad injury. Gerald Sensabaugh joined him on the sidelines in the second half with a calf strain.

Both players said after the game they would be fine and should play next week against Tampa.

Alex Albright suffered a stinger injury and was in street clothes before the end of the game. Sean Lee missed a few plays after taking a nasty hit but returned on the same drive.

And in the middle of the third quarter, Miles Austin had to go to the locker room to treat dehydration.

The Cowboys typically don’t provide a lot of injury information after the game, but it appears none of the setbacks are deemed serious. Head coach Jason Garrett will likely address the injury situation in his Monday afternoon press conference.


Jenkins Returns

Sunday’s game was the first live action of the season for cornerback Mike Jenkins following a nine month recovery from reconstructive shoulder surgery. Jenkins had missed all of training camp and only on Wednesday did he don shoulder pads for the first time since New Year’s Day.

Jenkins’ role on the defense had been a hot topic in the week leading up to the game and over the offseason, when he had reportedly asked for a trade following the additions of Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, which knocked him out of a starting job. As it turned out, he was the Cowboys’ fourth cornerback against the Seahawks, playing on sparingly in passing down sub-packages.

Orlando Scandrick remained the slot corner in the nickel defense. Jenkins played some special teams, but was on the field less than 10 snaps on defense, mostly working deep in prevent coverage or matched up against tight ends.

POSTGAME VIDEO: Dallas Cowboys Press Conference

VIDEO - Jason Garrett Postgame Press Conference - The Boys Are Back blog

Cowboys Postgame Press Conference – Click HERE to watch

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo react following todays game with the Seattle Seahawks

MISSED OPPORTUNITES: Despite struggles, Jason Witten refuses to look for excuses

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo behind the Dallas Cowboys OL - The Boys Are Back blog

SEATTLEOver the course of Jason Witten’s career there are certain things Dallas Cowboy fans have come to expect from him.

They expect him to play. Even when he lacerated his spleen and a Week 1 comeback seemed medically impossible, he trotted out on the field, sure enough proving his toughness in the season opener by suiting up and facing the Giants.

Cowboy fans also expect Witten to catch the ball. He has proven himself one of the most reliable targets in Cowboys history. However, in the 27-7 loss to Seattle Sunday, Witten did something Cowboy fans are certainly not familiar with seeing from him: he dropped the ball numerous times. In a very un-Witten-like performance, the tight end was targeted 10 times, but only caught four of the passes.

After the game Witten explained that the Cowboys performance on Sunday did not match what the team expects from themselves and explained that he was especially disappointed with his own performance.

“We didn’t play Cowboys football,” Witten said. “We just didn’t execute well enough, myself included. I had opportunities to make catches, make runs, make good plays and I just didn’t do it.”

The look on Witten’s face after dropping a number of seemingly catchable passes seemed to reflect the general surprise of everyone watching. Witten looked shocked, as if he was having trouble believing his own struggles in the game.

Sunday’s performance will lead many to questions of rust for Witten following his recovery from the spleen injury. Against the Giants, little was expected of him in terms of actual contributions to the game, and his presence alone seemed to inspire the entire team.

But in the last 10 days Witten had said he felt the injury was totally behind him. Witten completely dismissed the thought that the injury was the cause of his struggle to make an impact in the game. When asked if his spleen had limited his range of motion he quickly shot down the suggestion.

“No, that would be an excuse,” Witten said. “I just didn’t catch the ball. The opportunities were there.”

Witten also made sure to avoid putting any blame on Tony Romo, who had a very average game himself posting a quarterback rating of 74.1.

“They were good throws,” Witten said. “I just didn’t make the plays.”

REPORT CARD: Dallas Cowboys self-destruct in second half, fail to get in sync

Murray

Rushing Offense – F

The Cowboys had a grand total of four rushing attempts in the second half, so Jason Garrett is going to get criticized for abandoning the run. But that’s what happens when a team has to come back from a multi-score deficit, especially when there isn’t any room to run anyway. DeMarco Murray had to earn every one of his 44 yards on 12 carries. The Seattle front seven whipped the Cowboys on a consistent basis. Oh, Felix Jones got his first carry of the season. He gained a whopping 1 yard.

Romo

Passing Offense – D-

Did the Seahawks slip in the infamous K ball while the Cowboys’ offense was on the field? How else to explain the drop-fest from the usually sure-handed Jason Witten and Dez Bryant? Bryant was a total bust (three catches, 17 yards). Week 1 hero Kevin Ogletree had one catch for 26 yards. Tony Romo’s numbers (23 of 40 for 251 yards and one touchdown with one interception) weren’t awful, but the big, tough Seattle secondary won its matchup with Dallas’ receivers, with Miles Austin’s TD catch being the exception. And Romo’s interception came on a bad decision to kill a drive in the red zone. Unlike last week, Romo couldn’t overcome protection that was poor on a regular basis.

Lynch

Rushing Defense – F

The good news: The Cowboys held Marshawn Lynch to 22 yards on 10 carries in the first half. The bad news: Lynch dominated the second half, gaining 100 yards on 16 carries as the Seahawks buried the Cowboys. Lynch busted a 36-yard run to set up Seattle’s touchdown in the third quarter, which made it a two-touchdown game. He had seven carries for 32 yards and a TD on the dagger drive, when the Seahawks marched 88 yards on 12 plays to go up by 20 points. The Dallas defense was simply dominated physically after halftime.

Ware-Wilson

Passing Defense – F

Rob Ryan and Co. made it easy for rookie QB Russell Wilson to play a poised, mistake-free game, completing 15 of 20 passes for 151 yards and a TD with no turnovers. The Cowboys rarely blitzed despite the undersized Wilson’s struggles against pressure in Seattle’s Week 1 loss. (According to ESPN Stats and Information, Wilson was 6-of-18 for 47 yards and was sacked three times when the Cardinals rushed five or more men.) Anthony Spencer got two sacks, but that was it for the Dallas pass rush despite the Seahawks playing with two backup offensive linemen. Perennial Pro Bowler DeMarcus Ware didn’t exploit his matchup against a second-string left tackle.

Jones

Special Teams – F

What is it with epic special teams disasters for the Cowboys in Seattle? It started off as poorly as possible with Felix Jones gift-wrapping a field goal for the Seahawks by losing a fumble on the opening kickoff. It got even worse soon, with backup linebacker Dan Connor getting beat to allow Seattle’s Malcolm Smith to block a punt. Jeron Johnson scooped and scored. Just like that, Joe DeCamillis’ guys handed the Seahawks a 10-point head start. Dez Bryant gained a grand total of two yards on two punt returns and was fortunate not to commit a turnover just before halftime. Punter Chris Jones had another strong performance, but special teams killed the Cowboys.

Garrett

Coaching – F

The head coach gets a big share of the blame when his team lays an egg like that after 11 days to prepare. It’s also fair to question whether Jason Garrett’s constant messages about mental toughness are really getting through after the Cowboys roll over like they did in the fourth quarter, when the Dallas offense had a couple of three-and-out series while the Seahawks ran 25 offensive plays. And defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s game plan was puzzling, to put it politely. Why play soft against a rookie quarterback who struggled badly when blitzed last week?

Tim MacMahon

UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Sean Lee gets blindsided by Seattle’s Golden Tate

Illegal hit on Sean Lee vs Seattle Seahawks - The Boys Are Back blog

In the fourth quarter of this afternoon’s game against the Cowboys, the Seattle Seahawks strung together an 8-play, 90-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown and all but assured them victory by giving them a three-score lead. A key moment in that drive came when Seattle rookie QB Russell Wilson scrambled for a first down, thanks to a very helpful block from wide receiver Golden Tate on an unexpecting LB Sean Lee. No flags were thrown, but the Twitterverse went crazy following the controversial hit.

Mike Pereia, former Vice President of Officiating in the National Football League and current rules analyst at FOX Sports, chimed in with his thoughts on the uncalled hit via Twitter.

The hit on Lee is an illegal blindside block. Lee is considered defenseless, which means you can’t lower your head & hit in head/neck area.

Here’s the hit in .gif form … should appear below (if not, click HERE):

Expect the NFL to fine Golden Tate this week.

Special thanks: @bubbaprog | Twitter

THE TALE OF TWO HALVES: Five thoughts regarding todays loss to Seattle

Down, then out - Dallas Cowboys vs Seattle Seahawks - The Boys Are Back blog

The Cowboys had a chance to reach 2-0 for the first time since 2008 but came out flat against the Seahawks on Sunday. Here are my thoughts on the game.

1.) Why was it so difficult for Jason Witten and Dez Bryant to hold onto the football? The two were targeted a combined 17 times but came away with only seven catches. While some opportunities were difficult, both players dropped multiple passes that they normally catch. Bryant went the entire first half without a reception and then opened the third quarter by fumbling after a short grab. Fortunately for Bryant, Doug Free recovered. Strangely, Witten not only dropped several passes but he and Tony Romo weren’t on the same page during a drive shortly before halftime. It’s extremely surprising to see the Cowboys make these mistakes after playing so well against the Giants and having 10 days to prepare for the Seahawks.

2.) Cowboys special teams coach Joe DeCamillis rarely seems to be in a good mood at practice. And if it’s possible, his anger will probably be at a higher level when the team returns to Valley Ranch this week. Known for his expletive-filled rants, DeCamillis can’t be pleased with how his group started Sunday’s contest. First Felix Jones fumbled the opening kickoff, which led to a Seahawks field goal. Then, a Chris Jones punt was deflected and returned for a score after Dan Connor missed a block. The Cowboys never seemed to recover from that 10-0 hole.

3.) When it was announced shortly before the game that Seattle starting left tackle Russell Okung – the sixth overall pick in the 2010 draft – was inactive it seemed like DeMarcus Ware was in line for a big day defensively. But the Cowboys’ top pass-rusher never put much pressure on rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. After recording two sacks in the season opener, Ware was limited to only one quarterback hit in Seattle. Wilson’s mobility was a factor, but the Cowboys’ front seven rarely made him look uncomfortable. Anthony Spencer was one of the few bright spots, recording a sack and two hits on Wilson. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch also had success, especially in the second half, rushing for 122 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries.

4.) Although 23-of-40 passing doesn’t suggest it, Romo played well against the Seahawks. Had it not been for the dropped passes, those numbers would’ve been much more impressive, and the Cowboys’ chances of winning would have greatly increased. The Seahawks dominated the clock in the second half, so Romo, who threw one interception, didn’t get a chance to mount a comeback. The offensive line didn’t give Romo much time to survey the secondary but his spin move created a few extra seconds on several occasions. An immobile quarterback would have no success behind the Cowboys’ offensive line at this time.

5.) Why is Felix Jones still returning kicks? His time in the backfield has been reduced severely because of DeMarco Murray’s effectiveness, but even when Jones is on the field he rarely makes a defender miss. I literally can’t remember the last time the Cowboys had a good kickoff return. And Jones, who failed the team’s conditioning test at the start of training camp, doesn’t appear to have the quickness to make that happen. It might be time to give Morris Claiborne a chance. The rookie first-round pick practiced returning kicks on Thursday so that may soon become reality.

Jon Machota | Special Contributor

FANS SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE: Jerry Wipes soaked with tears in Dallas

FANS SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE - Jerry Wipes soaked with tears in Dallas - The Boys Are Back blog

SEATTLE — The Dallas Cowboys want to be taken seriously in the NFL. They don’t want to be known as a team with all the hype that doesn’t have substance.

The Cowboys didn’t respond well Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. After a 27-7 defeat at Century Link Field, one thing is clear: The Cowboys are not ready for the big stage.

There were five drops, two turnovers and two costly penalties that hurt the Cowboys. It wasn’t a terrible performance, but the Cowboys came up small after such a statement victory 11 days ago over the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

What it means: The Cowboys failed to take any momentum with them following the season-opening victory against the Giants. It was an opportunity for the Cowboys to maintain a one-game lead over the Giants and remain tied with the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East. Now just two weeks into the season, the Cowboys raised questions about their ability to become an elite team.

Defense doesn’t respond: Yes, it was hard to stop the Seattle running game, but this was bad. The Cowboys failed to pressure rookie quarterback Russell Wilson on a consistent basis and didn’t stop the run overall. Marshawn Lynch rushed 26 times for 122 yards and one touchdown. Wilson completed 15 of 20 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown. Golden Tate laid a hit on Sean Lee, knocking him briefly from the game, and DeMarcus Ware was also hit hard on a run play. There was no response from the defense, but it’s not totally to blame for this one. It did allow just six first-half points, but it’s a 60 minute game. Despite losing several players to injuries, the D didn’t play well in the second half.

Offense struggles: It’s not Tony Romo’s fault that tight end Jason Witten dropped three passes or Dez Bryant did two, but overall the run game didn’t get going. DeMarco Murray rushed for just 44 yards. The protection was there at times for Romo, but he just couldn’t get to his prime receiving threats in Miles Austin, Bryant and Witten. Romo did overthrow a wide-open Bryant and had miscommunication with other receivers. He had a loud discussion with receiver Kevin Ogletree after one series in which receivers coach Jimmy Robinson stepped in.

Time to move on from Felix: We’re not saying cut the backup running back, but Felix Jones’ fumble on the opening kickoff and his questionable decisions on kick returns, leaving 5 and 8 yards deep, didn’t look good. The Cowboys have to find a playmaker on this unit. Jones returned five kicks for a 21.8 average and didn’t make an impact.

Injuries: Gerald Sensabaugh (calf), Alex Albright (stinger), Kenyon Coleman (unknown), Barry Church (quad), Lee (checked for concussion) and Marcus Spears (leg) suffered injuries. Lee and Spears returned.

What’s next?: The Cowboys will have their home opener next Sunday at Cowboys Stadium against Tampa Bay. The health of several key players will have to be evaluated.

2012 GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks

Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks - The Boys Are Back blog

Five things to watch in today’s Cowboys-Seahawks game

Beyond the flash, there are also some technological changes to the Seahawks uniforms - The Boys Are Back blog

1 Ogletree’s encore

Receiver Kevin Ogletree took advantage of single coverage when the Dallas Cowboys went four-wide because Jason Witten was on his side and got a lot of attention from the New York Giants. But the Seattle Seahawks’ secondary is much healthier than the Giants’.

2 Better timing

The Cowboys committed nine pre-snap penalties on offense last week. Left tackle Tyron Smith had three false starts. Right tackle Doug Free had one. There were two delay-of-games. And that was in relatively quiet MetLife Stadium. The Seahawks’ place won’t be quiet.

3 Front and center

Ryan Cook drew raves for coming in on short notice against the Giants and playing center in place of Phil Costa from the second possession on. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan said Cook, a seven-year veteran who was about to be released by the Miami Dolphins before they traded him

to Dallas, got better with a week of practice.

4 Tall order

The Giants tried cornerback Morris Claiborne on the first play last week, but, after that, kind of stayed away. The Seahawks get to send 6-foot-3 Braylon Edwards and 6-4 Sidney Rice his way. Both will have a height advantage on him.

5 Balancing act

The Seahawks don’t have the Giants’ pass rush, but they have a better secondary. So while Tony Romo might not get as much pressure, it might not be that inviting to throw. This might be a game in which the Cowboys run more than they pass, which might mean a heavy workday for DeMarco Murray.

GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Trackers and Scoreboards

GAMETRAX - Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks

View game stats and scores online while you watch or listen to the game. Click HERE

GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Sounds of the game

The Dallas Cowboys Radio Network - 105_3 The Fan KRLD

Listen to the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Brad Sham on KRLD in Dallas. Click HERE. Don’t live in the Dallas area? Click HERE.

GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Watch the game on TV or online

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Watch on TV, Tune to your local FOX affiliate. Click HERE to watch online (Sunday Ticket)

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Enjoy the game!

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Week Two – Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks

Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks - The Boys Are Back blog

The Dallas Cowboys don’t need mathematicians to take down the Seattle Seahawks tomorrow afternoon, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pretend to be one. Here are six numbers that represent meaningful aspects of Sunday’s Cowboys-Seahawks tilt. . .

4.5: Yards-per-attempt for Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in his first NFL game—the second-worst mark in the league behind Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden

In my game plan for the ‘Boys against Seattle, I suggested the defense sit back in safe coverage. The reason is that, with Wilson struggling early in his NFL career, the Cowboys should force him to beat them again and again instead of opening up the window for a big play.

2.87: The difference in yards-per-attempt given up by Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner (8.74) and cornerback Richard Sherman (5.87) in 2011

I explained why the Cowboys would be smart to test Browner when I detailed four ways the ‘Boys can beat Seattle.

21: The number of penalties called on Browner and Sherman in 2011

This was the highest for any cornerback duo in the NFL. They’ll likely struggle against both Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, regardless of the Cowboys’ rushing efficiency.

.276: The Cowboys’ winning percentage when they pass the ball on at least 57 percent of their snaps, suggesting they should throw it less frequently

Continue reading for evidence as to why that isn’t really the case.

.636: The Cowboys’ winning percentage when they pass the ball on at least 57 percent of their snaps through the first three quarters, suggesting they throw the ball to get ahead and then run it late to close out games

In my article on Jason Garrett’s play-calling, I showed why the Cowboys aren’t really a balanced team, nor should they be. Like most NFL teams, Dallas thrives through the air and only becomes “balanced” when they run with frequency late in games.

45: The number of pressures from Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons in 2011—the fourth-best mark in the NFL and one ahead of DeMarcus Ware.

Clemons is one of the most underrated players in the NFL. He lined up on the right side of Seattle’s defense on 76.5 percent of snaps in Week 1, so he’ll be matched up primarily with left tackle Tyron Smith.

Jonathan Bales

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