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In 2014 the Cowboys had a road game in the house of an NFC contender the week after moving to 4-1 on the season with a home win against an AFC team. That road game was in Seattle, and it was FOX's America's Game Of The Week that featured Thom Brennaman filling in for Joe Buck (who was out doing baseball).
On Sunday the Cowboys had a road game in the house of an NFC contender the week after moving to 4-1 on the season with a home win against an AFC team. That road game was in Green Bay, and it was FOX's America's Game Of The Week and featured Thom Brennaman in for Joe Buck once again.
THOM BRENNAMAN OUR HERO
Just like they did two years ago in Seattle, the Cowboys took care of business at Lambeau Field and sent a message to the NFL -- this team is for real.
Today is most importantly #VictoryPoloMonday, but since it is the day after a Cowboys game it also means it's time for my 10 Takeaways. Shall we? Here are my 10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Statement Win In Green Bay.
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The 2016 Dallas Cowboys Are For Real
Ready for some truth? The Dallas Cowboys are the second-best team in the NFC, the third-best team in the NFL, and they're only going to get better.
If we're being objective then I'd still take the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots over this team, but that's it. They've won in the division, against the opposite conference, and most recently against one of the NFL's darlings.
The Cowboys haven't just beaten the top teams they've faced (Cincinnati and Green Bay). They've obliterated them. This squad means business and they let the world know that on Sunday. Not to mention reinforcements are on the way at various positions!
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Jason Garrett Is One Of The NFL's Best Coaches
These are all players that Jason Garrett has lost at some point this season: Tony Romo, Kellen Moore, Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, La'el Collins, Orlando Scandrick, Morris Claiborne, Randy Gregory, Rolando McClain, and Dan Bailey (ish).
He's 5-1. FIVE AND ONE. To have that record, while enduring all of those obstacles, this season is completely unfathomable.
I mentioned the 2014 Seattle game up top. After that victory the Cowboys were 5-1 on the season, just like they are now. It's a stupid level of impossible when you consider that two years later Jason Garrett's squad is in the exact same position with a different QB, less Dez, and a different running back in Ezekiel Elliott (who is leading the NFL in rushing just like DeMarco Murray was then). Think about that!
Think about how, technically, Dak Prescott is this team's third quarterback. When the Cowboys landed in Oxnard, CA during the summer Dak Prescott was by definition this team's third-string quarterback (at best considering he was competing with Jameill Showers).
The NFL world lost its collective mind (rightfully so) when Patriots Coach Bill Belichick beat the Houston Texans with his third-string rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett. That game was used as a case for Belichick's greatness.
Jason Garrett isn't Bill Belichick, but he is 5-1 with his third-string rookie quarterback (who was drafted after Brissett!). Give the man his due.
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The Cowboys Defense Can Bend But Not Break
"Bend but don't break." It's a simple message, and one that we tweet every week in regards to the 2016 Dallas Cowboys Defense.
Rod Marinelli's unit completely terrorized Packers QB Aaron Rodgers throughout this contest. They caused four fumbles and Barry Church even hauled in an interception! This side of the ball has generated a turnover in all but one game this season (Bengals).
Is this team's offense and their ability to control the clock helping the defense? Yes. Of course. Duh. That doesn't take away from the outstanding effort that these guys are giving when it's their time to shine.
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Dak Prescott Is Better Than Tom Brady
First I compare Jason Garrett to Bill Belichick and now this. Today is spicy!
History has been made. Congrats @Dak! #DallasCowboys
Dak Prescott is, from a statistical standpoint, on track to be better than Tom Brady. How freaking cool is that?! Obviously there's some joking going on here, but it really is impressive/encouraging that Dak is following in/surpassing the footsteps of perhaps the finest quarterback to ever play this game.
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Ezekiel Elliott Eats Everything, Including Cheese
He may not have found the endzone, but Ezekiel Elliott carried the ball 28 times to the tune of 157 yards. Why is this particularly epic?
Zeke became the first rookie in NFL History to cross 130 yards in four straight games. Doing something no one else has ever done is a cool thing, right? Well that wasn't the only first for Zeke in this game.
The Green Bay Packers hadn't allowed a 100-yard rusher all season long. Whoops. Such a shame that Zeke had to go and ruin the fun for the Cheeseheads. Oh well!
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Sean Lee Is Forgotten But Still Dominating
Thanks to the emergence of the Cowboys rookies and infatuation with other new players, guys like Sean Lee have almost been forgotten by Cowboys Nation.
The General was en such fuego during this game that he actually knocked out his own teammate, Morris Claiborne! He settled down though and was all over the field, and almost picked off Aaron Rodgers before bobbling it away.
Dallas had high levels of success in 2014, and while that might feel like a long time ago to some... it's something Sean won't forget. He missed that entire year and all the fun that came with it. This is the first time in his Cowboy Career that he's experienced being 5-1. Good for him.
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The David Irving Hype Is Justified
In 2015 Cowboys fans saw this no-name guy who went by David Irving step up and surprise us at times. It was intriguing, but would it translate over to 2016?
The Irving hoopla had almost become an afterthought, and then bam! He exploded in Green Bay! Whoa!
Irving had a big sack and was all over the field defensively. Rod Marinelli has a knack for making guys like Irving pay off at some point, and it seems that time has arrived. Sometimes things are just too good.
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Eddie Lacy No Longer Owns The Dallas Cowboys
I preached caution regarding Eddie Lacy in the week leading up to this game. Why? Historically Eddie Lacy has completely owned the Dallas Cowboys.
In three career games Lacy averaged 5.72 yards per carry and 122 yards per game against America's Team. On Sunday? Lacy only managed to average 3.8 yards per carry as he drearily put together a 65-yard performance. Womp womp.
The Cowboys finally figured out how to contain Eddie Lacy, and that's a beautiful thing.
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Lucky Whitehead Won This Game
Near the end of the first half the Cowboys were backed up near their own goal line, and it seemed like they were content to try and get a first down so they could clock it and get to halftime.
Cowboys ran on first and second down, both of which were followed by Packers timeouts. On third down the Cowboys ran the famous Lucky Whitehead Jet Sweep play that appears once a game, and Lucky picked up 26 yards!
This completely changed the disposition of the drive for the Cowboys. They got more aggressive and aired the ball out. Terrance Williams made a big catch, actually stepped out of bounds, and then Dak Prescott found Brice Butler for a touchdown. This allowed the Cowboys to go into the locker room up 17-6 as opposed to 10-6, which completely changed the complexity of the game. That is 100% attributable to Lucky Whitehead and his 26-yard pickup.
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The Bye Could Not Have Come At A More Perfect Time
The Cowboys are 5-1, but they're banged up.
Dallas will need to be at full-strength once things get started up again on October 30th and they welcome the Philadelphia Eagles to town. The next target date for the Cowboys as far as this marathon is concerned is Friday, December 2nd.
The Cowboys play the Vikings on Thursday, December 1st so that extra amount of time after that game will prove vital as they prepare for the stretch run of the season. This bye is perfectly timed as it spreads out their rest time pretty evenly across the season.
Cowboys, Seahawks Week 3 Injury Report
Believe it or not, Seahawks Safety Earl Thomas isn't the only guy whose playing status is in question for today's game. Other key players for Seattle and the Dallas Cowboys appear on the teams' Week 3 injury reports.
The Cowboys are looking to move to 2-1 and maintain a slim lead in the NFC East. The Seahawks are still looking for their first win of 2018, and the drama around Thomas isn't helping the fear of a locker room implosion.
What players may not be out there to help their teams to victory?
- C Travis Frederick (illness) - OUT
- DT Maliek Collins (knee) - OUT
- WR Cole Beasley (ankle) - Questionable
- LB Sean Lee (hamstring) - Questionable
- S Xavier Woods (hamstring) - Questionable
Frederick remains out as he deals with his neurological disease. Dallas decided to keep him on the 53-man roster, rather than place him on injured reserve, with the hope that he could return before Week 9. There are still several weeks before we'll know if that was a good move.
Maliek Collins will be out today after a minor knee injury suffered last week against the Giants. Taking his spot will be Datone Jones, who returns from his own knee issue after missing the first two games.
You don't like seeing your quarterback's favorite receiver and your defensive leader on the same injury report. Thankfully, though, it appears both Cole Beasley and Sean Lee will be available today.
For the #Cowboys, WR Cole Beasley (ankle) is expected to play, and LB Sean Lee (hamstring) should be good to go, as well, based on how he moved around in practice on Friday, sources say.
Finally, we come to the ever-intriguing Xavier Woods. While limited in practice all week, Woods is expected to make his season debut in Seattle. We will see if Xavier gets the start at free safety, or if Dallas will ease him back in and keep Kavon Frazier starting for now.
With all of the hype around Dallas' possible acquisition of Earl Thomas, one has to hope that Xavier won't overdo it and make matters worse with his hamstring. Between the enthusiasm just to play and the threat to his starting job, the second-year stud should be pretty amped up.
- WR Doug Baldwin (knee) - OUT
- C/G Ethan Pocic (ankle) - OUT
- LB K.J. Wright (knee) - OUT
- C Justin Britt (shoulder) - Questionable
- LB Mychal Kendricks (ankle) - Questionable
- S Earl Thomas (???) - ???
Seattle remains without Baldwin, their leading receiver from 2014-2017, and it shows in their offensive play. QB Russell Wilson is currently at career lows in completion percentage and passer rating, plus has already thrown three interceptions in just two games.
The Seahawks have issues up front as well. Starting left guard Ethan Pocic will also miss today's game. With right guard D.J. Fluker returning this week after missing the first two, that will allow backup J.R. Sweezy to flip over to the other side.
If that wasn't enough, starting center Justin Britt missed the entire week of practice with a shoulder issue. He has not been ruled out, though. Regardless, those are a lot of red flags on your offensive line with the Cowboys' emerging defense coming to town.
Also out today will be Pro Bowl linebacker K.J. Wright. That means we could see Mychal Kendricks, who was just recently booted from Cleveland after being charged with insider trading, playing a major role today. Kendricks knows the Cowboys well, having played with the Eagles from 2012-2017.
And lastly, Earl Thomas.
No health or injury-related reason has been given for why Thomas missed practices on Wednesday and Friday. "Personal reasons" is all you're getting from Seattle, fueling rampant speculation that a trade is in the works. Whether or not that trade is with the Dallas Cowboys is pure conjecture at this point.
What we do know is that Seattle is 0-2 and trending down this year. Holding onto Thomas and his expiring contract, only to lose him for nothing next year in free agency, would be foolish.
We'll see if Earl plays at all today. If he doesn't, the trade talk is going to explode.
Cowboys Wishlist: Dallas Cowboys VS. Seattle Seahawks
It's week 3 of the 2018 NFL season and this match-up already feels like one of the most important ones the Dallas Cowboys will play in the season. The reason why is they need to prove they're good enough to win consistently and that they won't have another year that feels like a roller coaster of wins and losses like 2017 did. As they travel to Seattle to face the 0-2 Seahawks, the 1-1 Cowboys can't miss a perfect opportunity versus one of the weakest units in football: the Seahawks' offensive line.
As every gameday, here is my Cowboys Wishlist for this week's action. As always, I encourage you to share your wishes with me in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL!
Wish #1: Brett Maher Kicks a 50+ yard FG.
Dan Bailey recently signed with the Minnesota Vikings. Cowboys Nation will experience a very odd feeling when they see their former kicker wear purple. If there's something that can make fans feel better is watching the guy who replaced Bailey nail a long field goal in Seattle.
Brett Maher showed he could kick a 47-yard FG in preseason, but we want to see him pull it off in a kick that will actually go down in the books. The decision to release Dan Bailey won't leave our minds until we see Maher do his job.
Wish #2: Rico Gathers Scores His First Career TD.
It felt like forever, but tight end Rico Gathers was activated for the first time in his career last Sunday. Rico didn't get his first catch even though he was targeted twice by Dak Prescott. The most notable moment was when Gathers seemed to be open in the endzone but Dak missed him.
Although Prescott's pass could've been better, Gathers did stumble a little bit and wasn't where he should've been to catch that touchdown. No worries, Rico's career is only beginning. I wish his first touchdown ever finally comes this week.
Wish #3: Defense Gets Its First Interception of the Year.
Through two weeks of NFL action, the Dallas Cowboys defense has been one of the most impressive units. Ranking as the third best in total points in the league, the Cowboys' defense might begin being the team's best side of the ball. At least, it has been for the first two weeks.
Last week, they limited Odell Beckham Jr. to only 51 yards. Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie have played pretty well so far, but I wish they're able to get their first interception of the year. Dallas has one takeaway from week 1 versus the Panthers, but it came in form of a fumble.
Let's get that interception from Russell Wilson, who will be pressured most of the day by a very productive Cowboys' front seven.
Wish #4: 20+ Point Performance
Despite a very exciting first drive versus the Giants last week, the Cowboys' offense still needs to prove it can be successful enough to win games. Scott Linehan's unit had some good drives but it also failed to maintain a consistent attack all game. That may seem okay, but the Cowboys will have to win against some pretty tough defenses.
Seahawks will present the team with a very interesting challenge and one that I wish they pass. As good as the defense is playing, the offense needs to show up in order to win later games.
Wish #5: Contain Russell Wilson
Wilson is one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the NFL. His agility might be the best among every other signal caller in the game, becoming a very tough guy to defend. He can hurt you with his arms and legs and can throw on the run pretty well. All week we've been talking about how sacking the Seahawks' QB is a key to the victory, but it's more than that.
Wilson is good in the pocket, but when he starts scrambling or running out of the pocket only to throw the ball once the defense is out of position, he becomes a pretty painful headache. The Cowboys need to put him on the ground, but they also need to contain him all day long. He's basically his team's entire offense.
Kris Richard’s Impact for Cowboys Goes Beyond the Defense in Seattle
Through just two games, the Dallas Cowboys addition of Kris Richard to their revamped coaching staff appears to be the team's best move of the offseason. Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli revealed that Richard is calling the team's plays on defense, which explains their attacking style of play so far.
It was the Cowboys blitzes that disrupted the Giants offense enough for Dallas to earn their first win a week ago. With the schedule set up favorably for the Cowboys to build off this win, Richard must lead his defense past his old team in Seattle for Sunday's week three match up.
On paper, the Cowboys defense should be able to limit the Seahawks thanks to their strong pass rush and lengthy secondary. Welcoming back Xavier Woods at safety, the Cowboys are getting even better in the back end against the Seahawks, allowing Richard to throw even more looks at Seattle with his front seven.
Starting wide receiver Doug Baldwin and guard Ethan Pocic will both miss this game for the Seahawks.
With an offense still trying to find its footing though, Richard' profound impact on the Cowboys staff has extended past the defensive side of the ball this week. Perhaps the most criticized Cowboys coach this season, Offensive Coordiator Scott Linehan has sat down with Richard to study the Seahawks defense - coordinated by Richard against the Cowboys specifically.
Scott Linehan and Kris Richard have been spending a good chunk of time together this week dissecting Seattle's approach. Richard obviously knows Seahawks well. Linehan said Richard has great recall, taking him through each play of teams' previous games.
At 1-1, the Cowboys are still looking to put a complete game on the field and prove they deserve to sit atop the NFC East. The defense being their strongest unit through an ugly loss in Carolina and grind-it-out win against the Giants, Linehan's offense creating some explosive plays against the Seahawks could be all the Cowboys need to exit CenturyLink field as winners on Sunday.
Since Linehan officially took over as the Cowboys OC, he is 0-2 against Seahawks defenses coordinated by Richard. When Kris left Seattle, it was believed that he got out at the right time, with the Seahawks defense declining in talent ever since 2015 (his first year as DC).
The NFL's top scoring defense in 2015, the Seahawks were a full point per game worse in 2016, and nearly 2.5 points worse than that in 2017. So far this season, the Seahawks have allowed 27 points to Case Keenum's Broncos and 24 to the Mitch Trubisky lead Chicago Bears.
The Cowboys biggest problem against Richard's defenses had been finishing drives, something they improved on against the Giants last week. Both Cowboys losses coming at home, the Seahawks kept Dallas out of the end zone in both week eight of 2015 and week 17 a year ago.
Last year's loss to the Seahawks should still sting those at The Star who saw a desperate push for the playoffs hit a wall against Seattle's defense - holding the Cowboys to 282 yards in Ezekiel Elliott's return from suspension.
Not having to rely solely on motivation for revenge while sitting back and trusting Elliott to carry them, Richard could be the key to the Cowboys passing game finding some rhythm. After all, his official title beyond "offseason steal" is Passing Game Coordinator - a position occupied previously by Linehan himself back in 2014.
With a win, similarly to 2014 when the Cowboys came out of Seattle victorious, Dallas would go a long way in earning respect around the league.
This goes for both the offense, where the Cowboys will remain a work in progress regardless of result, and on defense where Dallas can expect Maliek Collins (knee) and David Irving (suspension) to return in the coming weeks.
Kris Richard's focus has been on bettering the Cowboys since they added him to the organization with a clear path up the ranks. Just how far Richard ascends, and how quickly, will depend on the Cowboys performance - expecting to be more than ready for the challenge ahead this week thanks to the coach responsible for building the "Legion of Boom".
The Cowboys kickoff in Seattle being FOX's game of the week, this team has never been one to back away from the spotlight, and winning under it with Richard on the sideline would give the Cowboys all the momentum they need returning home for week four.
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