The Dallas Cowboys were out of sync, out of sorts and out of answers before the first half of their 27-7 loss against the Seattle Seahawks was even over. Whatever demons reside at CenturyLink Field, the ones that caused Tony Romo to fumble a snap in the 2006 playoffs, didn’t even need to make an appearance.
The Dallas Cowboys couldn’t block. They couldn’t defend. They couldn’t avoid penalties. They looked exactly like the team that fans have become accustomed to over the last two decades.
It’s hard to extract any positives out of such a lackluster performance. And there’s no discrediting what the Seattle Seahawks were able to do. They haven’t played that well since they shocked the world by ejecting the New Orleans Saints out of the 2010 playoffs.
But no matter how thin, there is a silver lining. Call it blind allegiance, call it unjustified optimism, this was the kind of reality check the Cowboys needed. Better to be reminded now than in Week 11 that they are one injury, one false start, one special teams fumble away from missing the playoffs.
I feared that this game was a trap game. I feared that leaving New York after defeating the Giants, a victory that feels a year old, and having an extended week would suck the momentum out of this team the same way it did when they had a bye week in the 2007 playoffs.
It’s a wake-up call. No matter how sickening, no matter how discouraging, no matter how infuriating; it’s an early-season reality check that shouldn’t be misinterpreted as ineptitude. There is plenty of time to right the ship.
And as it goes with every defeat, it’s not about failing to do what you’ve learned, it’s about learning do what you’ve failed at. Let’s hope the Cowboys can get a grasp of the latter.