• Before we get into the negatives of this game for Dallas, let’s look at a positive. Tony Romo is occasionally amazing. Vintage Romo on the Cowboys’ second drive, 3rd and long. The Seahawks only rush four and somehow get Chris Clemons completely unblocked with a free run at Romo’s blind side:
Romo does his little patented outside spin move that seems to always work, and opposing pass rushers never seem to account for:
Romo evades Clemons, and rather than attempting a difficult throw on the run, he re-sets his feet before firing:
He throws about 40 yards down field on the money to Kevin Ogletree, who has two defenders around him:
Stellar QB play there. Romo had almost a carbon copy of that play later in the game, except he tried to hit Jason Witten all the way across the field, and about 45 yards down the field, but it looked like Witten may have misjudged the ball, and Romo underthrew it ever so slightly, or else they would have had another big gain.
• Felix Jones is becoming a disaster in Dallas. He had 5 fumbles last season on 160 touches. That’s one fumble per 32 touches. Unacceptable. Jones fumbled the opening kickoff in Seattle on Sunday, which led to an early 3-0 deficit. His second kick return went out to the 15. He had just 1 carry for 1 yard. Some fan base is going to extremely fired up where their team signs him next offseason. They’ll be disappointed by Week 3.
• Was that Jason Witten’s worst game as a pro?
• Dez Bryant had a terrible day as well. He had two bad drops on 3rd down that would have sustained drives, fumbled, and I felt like he quit on the play that led to a Seahawks INT.
• DeMarcus Ware was called for offsides. He drew an offsides penalty last week as well. He was offsides 7 times in 2011. It’s a problem. To the left, look at where he lined up on one play last week. And to the right, look at him clearly getting a head start and being offsides on the snap.
He was not flagged on either play, but he could have been on both of them. The problem with lining up as close as possible to the line is that if he so much as flinches a little on a hard count, he’s going to be offsides. He needs to back it off a foot or so. Teams are pretty clearly looking to get free plays and easy yards on Ware.
• The defensive play calling was puzzling. Rob Ryan tries to get too cute for his own good sometimes. Two things are circled below: the down and distance, and DeMarcus Ware. I’m a simple guy. On 2nd and 17, I want DeMarcus Ware rushing the passer. Or at least if you’re going to drop him, maybe do so on a zone blitz. Here the Cowboys show a pretty basic zone look: 3 rush the QB, and there isn’t much deception otherwise:
And for good measure, Ware gets lit up on a crackback block:
But more confusing was Ryan’s lack of blitzes. Last week I broke down the Seahawks’ offensive line, who had all kinds of difficulty dealing with the Cardinals’ aggressive blitzing. Couple the Seahawks’ total disorganization on their OL with a rookie QB, and it seemed like somewhat of a no-brainer to send the heat. Rob Ryan, for whatever reason, chose not to. Odd. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas, the Cowboys only blitzed 6 times on Russel Wilson’s 25 dropbacks. Wilson, for the better part of the day, had all kinds of time to throw and make good decisions. The Cowboys played right into the Seahawks’ hands.
• The offensive line wasn’t terrible, in my opinion. I actually thought Ryan Cook played pretty well, as did Nate Livings. Cook has made a case that he should remain the starter when Phil Costa returns. The guy that has not played well so far this season is Tyron Smith. Give him a pass for Week 1, since he had to face one of the best players in the league in Jason Pierre-Paul. This week he had no such excuse. He was facing Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin. Clemons is a good pass rusher and Irvin is an intriguing rookie, but they’re not in the class of JPP. Both players were able to get around Smith and put consistent pressure on Tony Romo. One series was pretty glaring. Irvin got around the edge on Smith on one play, and on the next play, he used a very simple inside move, and Smith whiffed on him. Irvin got a free run at Romo, but Romo was able to get the ball out quickly. Smith is far too athletic to let that happen. The transition from RT to LT has not gone smoothly so far. Also of note: Smith also leads the NFL with 5 penalties.
• For those of you that missed the Falcons-Broncos game last night, the Broncos turned the ball over 3 times in the first quarter, and at one point were down 20-0. But the Broncos never stopped scratching and clawing. They made it a contest, and forced the Falcons to sweat out a game that became closer than it probably should have. You could pretty clearly see the Broncos’ urgency to get back into the game. I didn’t see that same kind of urgency out of Dallas last week. They cannot let this loss carry over to next week.