On one hand, we knew the Cowboys weren't going to go 16-0, and losing in Seattle is nothing to be ashamed of.
But on the other hand, Dallas' performance was embarrassing. They had five dropped passes, two turnovers and two particularly costly penalties. They also failed to fluster a rookie quarterback, got owned on the ground, both offensively and defensively, and were physically dominated on both sides of the ball.
Most disturbing of all, though, was the deflating effort delivered by the team's most explosive offensive weapon, Dez Bryant. Maybe, the third-year wideout allowed Seattle's big, physical cornerbacks to get into his head, but elite receivers don't disappear like that.
Bryant was held catch-less in the first half, despite being targeted four times by Tony Romo. He dropped two of those passes and also muffed a punt and fumbled (both mistakes were recovered by the Cowboys).
He had only three catches for 17 yards, and those came with the game already securely in Seattle's favor.
This loss isn't on Bryant. Jason Witten had a few drops, and the defense was run over while failing to make any big plays, while DeMarco Murray struggled against a good Seattle defensive front and DeMarcus Ware wasn't his usual self. Romo threw a pick, and Felix Jones fumbled a kick return. But for Dallas to emerge as a Super Bowl favorite this year, Bryant absolutely has to keep progressing.
Games like this have me concerned about his ability to become a consistent game-changer. And by extension, they have me concerned about the team's ability to make a run this season.
Cowboys fans had better hope that what took place Sunday was an aberration—just an early-season stumble after an emotional victory in Jersey. But, this team has let those fans down so often in recent seasons that suspicions have grown.
They return home now for back-to-back tough games against Tampa Bay and Chicago that have similar traits to the ones possessed by Seattle. Bryant and the Cowboys will now have to prove that they're mentally resilient enough to bounce back.
Otherwise, it'll be the same story once again this season in Dallas.
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