The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 27-17, on Thursday night at CenturyLink Field in each team's respective preseason dress rehearsal, but the final result was overshadowed by an early injury scare for quarterback Tony Romo.
Just three snaps into Dallas' first series, the seasoned signal-caller was sacked by Cliff Avril and awkwardly tumbled to the turf before clutching his back in pain.
The NFL's official Twitter account relayed video footage of the play:
Romo pleaded his case to re-enter the game after heading to the sideline, accompanied by team trainers, but his case fell on deaf ears. The Cowboys turned to Dak Prescott (17-of-23, 116 yards, one touchdown) as their primary quarterback just minutes into the first quarter.
Fortunately for Dallas, the injury was not serious enough to send Romo to the locker room. According to Rotoworld's Evan Silva, the Cowboys broadcast disclosed that the quarterback's back was merely "tight," and he felt good enough to return to the game.
But as the Dallas Morning News' David Moore noted, Dallas fans won't be feeling comfortable after fractures to his collarbone forced the injury-plagued signal-caller to miss 12 games last year:
Romo, who also underwent a pair of back surgeries prior to the 2014 season, has been unable to rid himself of the injury bug in recent years, per USA Today's Tom Pelissero:
The Cowboys got their first look at rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott on Thursday night after the workhorse missed the team's first two exhibition contests with a hamstring injury.
It didn't take long for the Ohio State standout to make his presence felt.
Not only did Elliott rush for 40 yards on five carries during his first preseason drive, but he also wowed with a long run that ended with a crunching hit on Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor.
NFL Network shared the replay:
Elliott finished the night with seven carries for 48 yards—good for 6.9 yards per carry. The rookie also chipped in with a few key blocks in pass protection to reinforce the notion that he will enter the regular season as a complete do-it-all force in the backfield.
Back under center, Prescott continued to impress with his poise in the pocket.
Namely, Prescott garnered some oohs and aahs when he saw linebacker K.J. Wright with his back turned to Jason Witten and lofted the game's first touchdown to his tight end, as the NFL documented on Twitter:
NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah observed that Prescott looked at ease in a hostile environment against one of the league's most tenacious defenses:
Dynamic offensive connections were also on display when Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson—who played into the third quarter—hit the field.
The three-time Pro Bowler completed 16 of 21 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns.
His most impressive toss came late in the second quarter, when he found wideout Paul Richardson on a deep crossing route for a gorgeous score, as the NFL showed:
Wilson's touchdown toss thrust the Seahawks ahead, 10-7, with less than three minutes remaining in the opening half, but Prescott marched his troops down the field and completed eight of eight passes for 64 yards to set up kicker Dan Bailey for a field goal just before halftime.
Once the third quarter got underway, the Seahawks started to feast on Dallas' second-team defense behind a strong rushing attack spearheaded by a resurgent Christine Michael.
Although he was held in check throughout the first half, Michael paced Seattle's offense early in the second half and finished his evening with seven carries for 58 yards.
CBS Sports' Will Brinson viewed Michael's performance as a foreshadowing of what's to come once Week 1 rolls around:
Michael's ability to slice the Dallas defense between the tackles opened the door for Wilson, whose prolonged scramble behind the line of scrimmage yielded a scoring strike to Tyler Lockett, as the NFL documented:
That sequence served as a fitting conclusion to the first-team action, and it offered plenty of hope that Seattle's offense will be able to carve up defenses again after tying for fourth in the league in points per game last season.
As for Dallas, its evening was positive, with the exception of Romo crumbling to the turf at the outset.
Not only did Prescott look remarkably sharp for the third game in a row, but Elliott also flashed superstar potential with the regular season approaching.
Next up for the Cowboys is the team's preseason finale against the Houston Texans on Sept. 1.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, will travel to California for a meeting with the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 1 before final cuts are made in advance of their Week 1 clash with the Miami Dolphins.
"His back was bothering him a little bit after that play," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said, per David Helman of the team's official website. "We don’t think it’s a serious thing, and we just felt better keeping him out."
Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News relayed a telling soundbite from Romo regarding the severity of the injury:
"I was just in shock," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said of Romo's injury, according to the Dallas Morning News' Jon Machota. "I had my mind on, 'Come on, Tony, get up.' Said a few prayers right there."
In other quarterbacking news, Garrett heaped praise on Prescott once again.
"He comes in and shows great poise," he said, per George. "He trusts his players, and he trusts the system."
On the flip side, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll sounded pleased with his team's all-around performance.
"It was a good night all and all," he said, according to the team's official Twitter account. "We're finding a nice consistency. "
"It was really good," Carroll said of his team's pass rush, according to the Seahawks' Twitter account. "We played aggressively tonight."