The Cowboys' 27-7 pasting at the hands of the Seahawks was about as brutal as the final score indicates. From the opening kickoff (literally!), Seattle simply played with a level of physicality that the Cowboys could not match. Every Dallas ball carrier was getting plowed, while Seahawks running back/prehistoric torture device Marshawn Lynch methodically ate away at the soul of each Cowboy defender three yards at a time.
The bandwagon will likely be quite a bit lighter heading into this week's game with the Buccaneers, but this season is much too young to think either of the Cowboys' first two games are indicative of their true skill level. Here are three observations and three awards:
Seattle And Oregon Share Water Source: If you thought ridiculous uniforms were limited to the college ranks, you were treated to a visual enema on Sunday as Seattle donned a getup more Tron-like than in years past. While not as crazy as the amateur squad from Eugene, the Seahawks garb is being increasingly overtaken by the radioactive fabric that's becoming the norm across sports.
Replacement Refs Punk Everyone: The refs did not cost the Cowboys this game; the Cowboys laying a nice deuce in their onesies cost them the game. However, head referee Donovan Briggins (aka Tiger Woods' doppleganger) and company made a few calls that had the viewer and the commentators scratching their heads. One of the more notable calls was on a cutback block by Seattle receiver Golden Tate where he sent Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee into a parallel dimension. A flag was thrown, but the penalty ended up being a personal foul on linebacker Bruce Carter for giving QB Russell Wilson a light push as he went out of bounds. The legality of the Tate block is debatable, but there are likely plenty of Cowboys fans out there wishing acronymical injury on the showboating receiver.
We're Starting To See A Pattern: Expectations can be a dangerous thing. After beating the defending Super Bowl champs in Week One, it felt like the Cowboys were destined for a dream season. Everything that could have doomed that first game fell by the wayside as Romo and the boys willed themselves to victory. This week, the thought of raising any kind of banner was cut to an abrupt halt, but we've been here before. Of all the winning streaks in the Jason Garrett era (there have been three), none have involved multiple road games. This team is more than capable of having consistent success on the road, or anywhere, but for some reason they've struggled to maintain a high level of performance without succumbing to an occasional lull. This second full season of the Garrett regime will be a true test of whether he can have his guys ready each week.
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Worst Cross-Promotion Idea: Nike's "Crisco" Gloves. In an attempt to draw the housewife demographic to the sport, Nike teamed up with the cooking lube manufacturer to create a custom line of Crisco-coated gloves for the Cowboys receivers. I know that Jerry Jones isn't afraid to make a buck, but this has gotten out of hand worse than half of Romo's passes. Dez, Witten and Miles all had key drops that kept the Cowboys offense from getting into any kind of rhythm. Perhaps Mighty Putty would have been a better choice.
Best Subliminal Use of an Elephant: Tanzania. The connection may seem obvious due to their geographical proximity, but Tanzania really brought the bidhaa with their giant safari mural in the corner of CenturyLink Field. I don't know how many viewers will be calling Bill Shatner to book their Kilimanjaro excursions, but the ads definitely got their money's worth in TV time. Maybe later this season the Seahawks brass will get Toto to melt faces at halftime.
Best "Fired? No, I QUIT!" Performance of All Time: Felix Jones. Uncle Felix sent the message early that the Cowboys weren't going to let the Seahawks beat them, they could do just fine beating themselves. Then, as if fumbling the opening kickoff wasn't enough, Felix would subsequently demonstrate his misunderstanding of the word "touchback" by receiving kicks 5 yards deep in the end zone and trotting them to the 19 yard line. To top off his day, he caught a pass from Tony Romo on the final play of the game, ran 15 yards and then tripped over himself. I'll be curious to see what team Felix is playing for next week.
That game was far from a season-killer, but the Cowboys should take a few notes at how quick and intense the Seahawks were on all three sides of the ball. This Sunday, Dallas pops the cork on their home opener as Tampa Bay heads to town. The angry pirates gave up over 500 yards passing to Eli Manning and the Giants in their last game, so that secondary could be ripe for an assault, provided the Cowboys' receivers hang on to the ball.