There were a whole lot of things not to like about how the Dallas Cowboys played against Seattle this past week, and there more than a few reasons why America's Team lost that game. Let's break down Dallas' game tape against the Seahawks.
Felix Jones' Fumble on Opening Kickoff Return
For whatever reason, the Cowboys enter bizarro world whenever they enter Seattle, with this Week 2 contest proving to be no different. The game opened for Dallas with Felix Jones fumbling the football on the team's first kickoff return of the game, which really set the tone for the rest of the contest.
Jones didn't do anything overly wrong, like hold the ball out away from his body. The Seattle defender simply hit the ball with his helmet and physics did the rest.
Regardless of whether or not Jones is at fault in this scenario, that moment must have deflated some of the opening adrenaline for both players and coaches on the Cowboys sidelines.
Cowboys Special Teams Allows Punt Block Return for Touchdown
In another bizarre incident, the Cowboys special teams unit again let the team down with the punt team unable to protect Chris Jones long enough to prevent his punt from being blocked.
The left side of the line allowed not one, not two, but three Seattle players to burst through the protection, and one was able to get his hands on the ball and effectively block the kick.
In an odd bounce, the football went right to Seahawks player Jeron Johnson and he took the ball about 10 feet into the end zone.
Considering this play came after Seattle was able to get into the red zone and score a field goal after capitalizing on Jones' kickoff return fumble, the special teams touchdown as another blow to Dallas' collective psyche in the game.
Unlike the first turnover, this play was made possible due to poor blocking from Dallas' front line and a decent approach from Seattle's players. Watching this play live, I'm sure I wasn't the only viewer that began to think that this game was not one the Cowboys could win.
Jason Witten's Repeated Dropped Passes
Witten has been the definition of reliable and consistent since coming into the NFL in 2003, but in this game he dropped more passes than most fans have seen him drop over the course of a season.
No. 82 did not prove to be the usual sure-handed tight end Cowboys fans have come to love over the years, and his butter-fingered filled outing proved to be devastating to Dallas' offensive efforts.
After the game, the multi-time Pro Bowl tight end told ESPN Dallas' Todd Archer, "I just didn’t catch the ball, opportunities were there, just didn’t do it. That had nothing to do with it.”
Dallascowboys.com writer Josh Ellis took to Twitter and explained what he saw from Witten during the game, tweeting:
Really didn't think there would be signs of rust from Jason Witten coming back, but then again, he's never missed three weeks of practice.— Josh Ellis (@DCStarJEllis) September 16, 2012
It's no secret that Romo looks to Witten early and often in important situations, but when the quarterback did so in this game his tight end let him down more often than he came through.
Golden Tate's Hit on Sean Lee
Tate's hit on Lee was a clear helmet-to-helmet, dirty and dangerous and served as the last debilitating blow to the Cowboys. It happened in the fourth quarter during the drive where the Seahawks would score the nail-in-the-coffin touchdown to effectively end the game, and it kind of summed up the day for Dallas.
Lee is one of the faces of the Cowboys defense, and to see him get lit up like that against a wide receiver like Tate can serve as a representation of the two teams in this game. The big bad and favored Cowboys were beaten down by the scrappy and underdog Seahawks.
All indications are that Lee is fine, but if the Cowboys weren't feeling worried that they would lose this game then they had to be after Tate's hit on Lee.
This play didn't really change the game from the X's and O's standpoint of the game, but it did change the mentality of the game. The Cowboys sideline must have went from optimistic to downright depressed after the hit on Lee.
After watching that play, then the Seahawks going down the field and scoring yet another touchdown, Dallas' offense likely had very little confidence when taking the field for the rest of the fourth quarter.