After an impressive all around performance a week ago against the New York Giants, here we are again looking for answers after a deflating 24-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
The Seahawks were the better team Sunday, but they weren’t ten points better. The Dallas Cowboys hurt themselves — with the officials help — with a lot of mental miscues. Whether it was a drop that led to an interception or a blown coverage or a penalty that stalled or extended a drive, the Dallas Cowboys didn’t really give themselves a shot at winning this football game.
Every game matters and in a week where every other NFC East team won, this loss hurts even more. There were several stand outs from Sunday’s game, and here are this week’s 3 Stars.
Earl Thomas, Safety
This one hurts to write as I’ve been in the camp hoping that Earl Thomas would have a star on his helmet for months now.
The drama surrounding the Earl Thomas saga has been relentless, yet he put on an incredible performance in front of the Dallas Cowboys that should assuage any distraction or drama-filled narratives out there.
It was a heck of a game from the All-Pro safety that showed what kind of impact he can have on the outcome of a football game. Thomas was the best Seahawks player on the field today and certainly answered any question of whether he’s motivated or not.
The guy is a player and the Dallas Cowboys might have messed around and hurt their chances at signing him in the offseason by not going to get him this year.
Seattle Seahawks Offensive Line
For a team that had allowed the most sacks in the NFL through the first two weeks of the season, the Seattle Seahawks’ Offensive line did an amazing job of protecting Quarterback Russell Wilson.
After allowing six sacks in each of their first two games, they only allowed Wilson to get sacked twice. The Dallas Cowboys had come into the game second in the NFL in sacks. They handled the Cowboys’ blitz packages and stunts very well and Russell Wilson helped himself by getting the ball out of his hands quickly.
The Seahawks offensive line paved the way for Running Back Chris Carson to run for 102 yards on 32 carries. Not a huge number when you look at his yards per carry (3.18), but they were tough effective yards that kept the Dallas Cowboys defense on their heels and extended drives.
Where would this team be without Ezekiel Elliott?
Terrible, that’s the answer.
I know that there is still gnashing of teeth when people talk about the 2016 NFL Draft and who the Dallas Cowboys selected at number four overall. A lot of people wanted Jalen Ramsey, and for good reason, but Ezekiel Elliott is a game changer in his own right. Even when everyone is looking to stop him, he makes things happen to move the ball down the field.
Elliott ran for 127 yards on 16 carries (7.94 yards per carry), and aside from the fumble was the best player for the Dallas Cowboys tonight.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, Corner Back Byron Jones is the Dallas Cowboys’ best corner. After Russell Wilson tried Jones’ side of the field in the first half, with little success, he began looking elsewhere to get the ball moving through the air.
Any success they had through the air was to the middle of the field or to the left side of the defense.
Looking at you Chidobe Awuzie.
Was it just me, or did it seem like Seattle Seahawks Defensive End Frank Clark was in Dak Prescott’s face a lot?
You saw that too?
I would have thought that he would have had more than just one sack in the game. On the Dallas Cowboys first possession of the second half, Clark beat Left Tackle Tyron Smith on a straight speed rush with a little fake inside before getting past Smith in an instant. Tyron isn’t typically beaten that easily and though Clark didn’t come away with a sack, he certainly provided pressure to keep Prescott off balance.
Leighton Vander Esch
Rookie Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch led the Dallas Cowboys in tackles with 11 (9 solo) and a tackle for loss. He played a really good game with family and friends on hand.
Earlier this week, I relayed a stat on Twitter that Anthony Brown had allowed the fewest receptions per slot coverage snap in the NFL in the first two weeks of the season.
Brown stood out to me several times in this game. On special teams and in his defensive role, he made several open field tackles that either went for a loss or no gain. He’s a gamer.
Brown may not be the best corner on the team or in the league, but he’s got the drive and tenacity that you need from a slot corner.
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