Following a 20-13 win over the Giants last week, there was a belief the Dallas Cowboys had, at last, solved their offensive woes. This was despite Dak Prescott only throwing for 96 yards on 15 completions after his initial 64-yard touchdown strike to Tavon Austin on the game’s third play. Still, with a date with 0-2 Seattle up next, there was some cause for optimism. And then the game started.
Despite the Dallas defense largely holding its own against Russell Wilson and company, the offense continued to look awful for the most part. Prescott, in particular, would struggle as he would throw for less than 50 yards in the first half, along with an interception off a Michael Gallup bobble. With the passing sputtering, Dallas would turn to Ezekiel Elliott and even attempt to utilize him more creatively in the process. The result was one bad drop on what should’ve been a first-down reception, a touchdown called back after Elliott stepped out of bounds before catching the ball, and a second incomplete pass as Elliott caught the ball once more after stepping out of bounds.
From there, the Dallas defense would begin to wear down, getting caught flat-footed and giving up 10 quick points before the half. The play that really summed up the first half, however, was an ill-advised personal foul penalty by defensive end, Randy Gregory which took a third down stop and brought Seattle into range for a 47-yard field goal attempt before the half. Sebastian Janikowski would proceed to knock the kick through the uprights, leaving Dallas to limp into the locker room
Coming into the second half with a 17-3 advantage, the Seahawks would take the ball first and try to extend their lead. Although the defense would hold for Dallas, the offense would ultimately stall before reaching the red zone on the subsequent drive. Following a 35-yard Brett Maher field goal, Seattle would look to bury the visiting Cowboys. They would achieve this behind a 10-play, 72-yard drive, which would end with running back, Chris Carson punching his way into the end zone for a 24-6 edge.
With the game on the line, Dallas would mount another long drive deep into Seahawk territory before turning the ball over inside the 10 on a costly Elliott fumble. While Seattle wouldn’t score off the turnover, they would eat up precious time from the clock.
On the next series, Dallas would finally reach the end zone following a Tavon Austin shuttle pass with 7:11 remaining in the contest. Rather than go for 2 to make it a 10 point game, coach Jason Garrett elected for the PAT, cutting the deficit back to 11.
The Cowboy defense offered a momentary glimpse of hope after forcing a quick 3 and out, but then the offense would once more collapse as Dak Prescott was intercepted for the second time by safety, Earl Thomas, effectively ending the game.
Coming into the game, Russell Wilson had been sacked a league-high 12 times. Dallas, however, didn’t get its first sack of the game until midway through the third quarter when DeMarcus Lawrence and Sean Lee combined to take down the Seattle signal caller. Jaylon Smith would add another sack in the 4th quarter.
Before exiting with a possible concussion, Sean Lee amassed 11 tackles, including 6 solo. In his absence, Leighton Vander Esch tallied 11 tackles of his own, with 10 being solo. Other notable efforts were Jaylon Smith with 8 tackles and Chidobe Awuzie with 7 tackles.
Dak Prescott finished the game 19/34 for 168 yards, 1TD, and 2 INT. He was sacked 5 times for -31 yards. This was the 6th time in Dak’s career his yards per attempt was below 5.
Ezekiel Elliott has yet to carry the ball more than 17 times in a game this season. For an offense built around the run, this is beyond troubling.
Dallas (1-2) will return home to host the Detroit Lions next Sunday at 12:00 CST.