The Cowboys lost a tough road battle against the NFC's best Seahawks on Sunday, falling just short 38-31. Offensively they fought hard for four quarters, but costly turnovers and busted coverages defensively ultimately did them in. Oh, and who can forget some awful special teams mishaps.
This team has a lot of growing to do if they want to compete in January, but let's get into my game notes from Sunday's loss.
- Dak Prescott was largely great on Sunday, but he also made two massive mistakes which resulted in 14 Seahawk points. Dak threw for 472 yards and three touchdowns on the day, dicing up the Seattle secondary whenever given the opportunity. He also was forced to play in front of a completely makeshift offensive line, which included an undrafted left tackle, rookie center, and Zack Martin kicked out to right tackle. After getting a big stop towards the end of the first half, Dallas looked to remain aggressive and steal the lead before the break. Instead, Prescott threw just behind Amari Cooper and the ball was intercepted. Russell Wilson took advantage, getting 7 before half. Then to start the second half Prescott held the ball uncharacteristically long, fumbling in his own territory and giving Seattle a short field. All in all it was another good day from Prescott, but those two mistakes contributed heavily to the loss.
- The best player on the Cowboys defense this Sunday was Aldon Smith, and it's not even close. Smith finished with three sacks on the day, but that doesn't even tell the full story of how effective he was. Smith was damn near unblockable on Sunday, and has ascended to the league leader in sacks through three weeks.
- With all the talk about the Cowboys three number one caliber wide receivers, it was Cedrick Wilson who stole the first three quarters this week. Wilson caught 5 balls for 107 yards and two touchdowns, looking explosive after the catch. He and Michael Gallup, who went for 6-138, led the way for a Cowboys pass offense that scored 31 points.
- Despite the massive offensive output, the Cowboys still left points on the field. And they did so through terrible special teams play. Tony Pollard's massive return mistake ultimately netted the Seahawks a safety, and Greg Zuerlein missed two extra points. That's four points Dallas just gave away to the unbeaten Seahawks. It's hard to beat anyone when you make these mistakes, let alone an NFC title contender.
- Can we ever get some quality safety play in Dallas? Xavier Woods had been awesome through the first two weeks, but he's not enough to mask the monumental issues this secondary is having. Specifically at safety. Darian Thompson is simply not it, and it makes me wonder how bad Ha Ha Clinton-Dix must've been in camp to get cut from this roster. Busted coverage after busted coverage defined the game on Sunday, and this secondary has a long way to go.
- Lastly, let's talk about this offensive line. I've been a big Connor Williams defender since he entered the league, but Sunday was bad. That makes two really poor performances so far this year from Williams, and when the rest of the starters are so banged up, you need Williams to step up and play to his alleged talent level. On the other hand, Zack Martin was awesome. At both guard and tackle! Martin looked like the best swing tackle on the team, filling in for Terence Steele on the right side midway through the game. This offense line is not very good right now, and they need their tackles to get healthy ASAP to stay afloat around .500.
- The good news? The Cowboys are easily the favorites in the NFC East. They have the best QB in the division, and are about to hit a bit of a light spot in their schedule. A relative light spot, at least. As the season goes along I think this defense will settle in a bit, but it will be on Prescott's shoulders weekly. I trust him to get it done, but this is probably a 9 win team.