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Notes: Cowboys’ D Outshines Seattle; Special Teams Struggle

Posted Oct 12, 2014


SEATTLE – Seeing one defense rise to the challenge time and time again was to be expected.

In fact, that’s how Seattle has won a lot of games over the years.

But on this day, the Seahawks didn’t have the best unit on the field. And it was the Cowboys’ defense that ultimately stepped up on numerous occasions Sunday when the team needed a spark.

“They did a really good job, starting at the line of scrimmage,” head coach Jason Garrett said of the defense, particularly the defensive line. “That runner (Marshawn Lynch) is fantastic for them. And their quarterback (Russell Wilson) gets the movement off that. We were challenged in a lot of ways but our guys stepped up.”

Garrett told his defensive players after the game how important third-down conversions were to the final outcome. Seattle was just 5-of-13 (38 percent) and just three of eight attempts in the second half.

“The guys did a great job of getting off the field,” defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. “We had a good, solid rush.  But the secondary was great. We did a really good job of covering on the back line. That’s a really good offense but we did a great job of being disciplined. That’s what we talked about all week.”

Lynch was held to just 61 yards on 10 attempts, but Wilson had just 12 rushing yards on two attempts. That occurred six days after Wilson torched Washington for 122 rushing yards in a Monday Night win over the Redskins.

Cornerback Brandon Carr said the front-seven should get the game ball for this win.

“They contained Wilson all day and kept him in the pocket,” Carr said. “Those guys were awesome up front. They were physical and didn’t let Lynch move the pile. It was a great team win but it starts up front. They were amazing.”

The Cowboys held Seattle to just 206 yards of total offense and limited Wilson as a runner and passer. Wilson was 14 of 28 for just 126 yards with a 47.6 quarterback rating.

“He’s a fantastic player,” Marinelli said. “We did a good job of pressuring him and then our secondary made some plays on the ball. I’m really proud of this group.” 

Not So Special

Dwayne Harris didn’t display the same exuberance of many of his teammates after the Cowboys’ statement win. That’s not surprising, given the struggles of Harris – and the special teams units as a whole – on the day.

The Cowboys fell into a 10-0 hole in the first quarter as a result of a blocked punt, with Seattle linebacker Mike Morgan scooping and scoring. In the third quarter, Morgan struck again when he recovered Harris’ muff at the Dallas 14-yard line.

The turnover allowed Seattle to tie the game, 17-17, during a third quarter rally.

“You can’t have a blocked punt, you can’t turn the ball over twice, when we’re there in the red zone, knocking on the door,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.

Harris said the trick for him is to have a short memory and move on to the next return.

“You get four, five kicks – maybe 30, 25 kicks out of the year. Even the best drop some,” he said. “Devin Hester is one of the greatest returners, but I’ve seen him fumble the ball, drop balls – you just keep playing. That’s what all returners do, we just keep playing.”
                                                                                                                                                  - David Helman

Dead-Eye Dan

Dan Bailey’s 42-yard field goal in the second quarter made him the NFL’s most accurate kicker, as far as the record books are concerned.  Bailey went into the game needing just one field goal to give him 100 career makes – the threshold to be eligible for that consideration.

He connected, which he has done on 102 of his 112 career attempts – a clip of 91 percent.

That was just a warmup, as it turns out. The Cowboys called on Bailey twice in the second half. His 56-yarder in the third quarter – which looked amazingly easy – tied the game, 20-20.

“It wasn’t my prettiest kick. I felt like it had kind of a slow rotation, kind of a funky flight to it. But I felt like I put a

pretty good hit on it,” Bailey said.

His 31-yarder with 1:09 remaining gave Dallas a comfortable, 30-23 lead.

In just the fourth year of his career, Bailey said the honor of being the league’s most accurate kicker doesn’t mean much at this stage – not with so many years left to play.

“Honestly, I want to play another 10-plus years,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to do that, so that being said, there’s plenty of more kicks to make and there’s probably going to be some misses in there, too. Realistically, it’s just not that big a deal right now. I just want to enjoy this win.”

That’s the Cowboys plan for Bailey, as well. The team locked him up until 2020 with a contract extension during the offseason.

                                                                                                                                                                                  - David Helman

 Quick Hits

  • The win over the Seahawks Sunday improved Dallas’ 2014 record to 5-1, the first time since the 2007 team started 5-1, and the 13th time overall
  • Sunday’s win also upped the Cowboys current win streak to five games, establishing the longest win streak of Jason Garrett’s head coaching tenure and the longest since the team had seven straight wins in 2007 (10/21 - 12/9)
  • The win is also Dallas’ fourth consecutive win on the road dating back to last season at Washington (12/22/13), marking the longest road win streak since a 10-game road win streak that began in 2006 at Arizona (11/12) through 2007 at Carolina (12/22)
  • Dallas’ record over the Seahawks improved to 10-6 while snapping a three-game losing streak at Seattle. It was only the second win in Seattle by an opposing team over the past three seasons during the Seahawks last 19 home games (17-2), and the first since Arizona was victorious at CenturyLink Field on Dec. 22, 2013
  • The victory over the Seahawks marked the first time Dallas has had consecutive wins against teams with a winning record (Houston was 3-1 entering Week 5; Seattle was 3-1 entering Week 6) since the 2007 squad won at the N.Y. Giants (11/11) and against Washington (11/18)
  • DeMarco Murray rushed for 115 yards on the ground Sunday against the Seattle, the first time that Seattle has allowed an individual 100+ rusher since December 8, 2013 when Frank Gore of the 49ers rushed for 111 yards on 17 carries
  • Dan Bailey had three field goals in Sunday’s game – including a career-long 56 yarder - to reach 102 for his career and become only the second Cowboy (Rafael Septien – 162) to reach 100 career field goals made. He reached 100 career field goals made in 54 games to become the second-fastest kicker in NFL history to reach that milestone. 
  • By reaching 100 career field goals made, Bailey’s stats qualified amongst league record books for accuracy. By connecting on 91.07% of his field goals, he is now the most accurate kicker in NFL history:
  • Dez Bryant had 63 yards on four catches Sunday to pass Miles Austin (4,481) for seventh on the club’s all-time receiving yards list
  • DeMarco Murray rushed for 115 yards in Sunday’s game, allowing him to become only the second player in NFL history, behind Jim Brown (1958), to record a streak of six consecutive games to open the season with 100 rushing yards.
  • Murray’s 785 yards through the first six games of the season are the most in team history and seventh-most in NFL history.
  • Tony Romo made his 114th career start to tie Roger Staubach (114) for the second-most quarterback starts in team history. Troy Aikman owns the top spot with 165 career starts
  • Down 23-20 in the fourth quarter, Romo engineered his franchise best 22nd comeback victory in the fourth quarter or overtime, as the Dallas scored 10 unanswered points to come away with the 30-23 victory
  • Romo completed 21-of-32 passes for 250 yards with two touchdowns to post a 110.2 quarterback rating, the 58th game of his career with a rating of 100.0-or-better – best in franchise history
  • With two touchdown passes Sunday, Romo improved his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown to 34 games – the longest streak in franchise history, the sixth-longest in NFL history and the second-longest active streak.
  • Romo’s two touchdowns in Sunday’s game also extended his NFL record streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass on the road to 36. His streak began on Oct. 11, 2009 at Kansas City.
  • Jason Witten played in his 177th consecutive game Sunday to break a tie with Dale Hellestrae (176, 1990-2000) for the second-longest streak in team history. Bob Lilly owns the franchise record with 196 consecutive games played
  • Witten had two receptions to reach 900 for his career to become only the second tight end in league history (Tony Gonzalez), the first Dallas Cowboy and the 16th player in NFL history to reach 900 career receptions. He reached 900 receptions in his 181st game to become the second-fastest NFL tight end all-time behind Gonzalez’s 171 games – and also ranks as the eighth-fastest amongst all NFL receivers.
  • Witten had one receiving touchdown to give him 53 for his career and break a tie with Dave Casper and tie Dallas Clark (53) for the seventh-most receiving touchdowns by an NFL tight end
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