Dallas Cowboys: 2012 Cowboys-Seahawks

NFL fines Josh Brent for unnecessary roughness

September, 21, 2012
9/21/12
4:32
PM ET
IRVING, Texas – Josh Brent has earned praise from the Cowboys for his play the first two weeks in Jay Ratliff's absence, but the nose tackle also earned a fine from the NFL for a penalty at Seattle.

Brent was fined $7,875 for an unnecessary roughness penalty on the third snap of the game when he shoved Seahawks center Max Unger.

No other Cowboys players received a fine for an on-field incident against the Seahawks.

Left tackle Tyron Smith was fined $15,750 for a Week 1 horse-collar tackle against the New York Giants and has appealed.
IRVING, Texas – Defensive end Jason Hatcher doesn’t want to hear another word about the Seattle Seahawks’ offense physically whipping the Cowboys’ front seven Sunday.

“It wasn’t like that,” Hatcher said. “Our front seven didn’t get knocked around off the ball. It may look like that if you look at the score, but it wasn’t like that.”

The Seahawks put exclamation points on their 27-7 win with touchdown drives of 90 and 88 yards against the Cowboys.

Seattle had 197 of its 315 total yards after halftime. That included 149 of the Seahawks’ 182 rushing yards, with Seattle averaging 5.3 yards per carry in the second half. Marshawn Lynch, who had only 22 yards on 10 carries at halftime, finished with 122 yards on 26 carries.

So what can the Cowboys’ front seven learn from watching the film of that second half?

“Nothing, nothing in general, man,” Hatcher said. “Nothing that we did up front as a D-line and as a front seven. Nothing, really. We did a great job knocking them back. It’s one of those things. We’ve just got to eliminate the mistakes we made, the turnovers, the blocked punts and things like that. We’ve just got to clean up every aspect of our game. It’s always something you can get better on, but I didn’t see too much.”

Hatcher said the fact that the Seahawks built a 10-0 lead off a fumble on the opening kickoff and a blocked punt minutes later allowed them to stick to the running game. That, according to Hatcher, was the defense’s biggest problem down the stretch.

It was a one-possession game until the Seahawks marched 90 yards on eight plays for a touchdown in the third quarter, a drive highlighted by Lynch’s 36-yard run off right tackle.

“There’s no reason to pass when you’re up on a team, so they just kept pounding and pounding,” Hatcher said. “Against a zone team, you can pound the ball, and one of those times the ball’s going to cut back, somebody’s going to be out of position and it’s going to break like it did. They caught us in a bad defense and it kind of broke out the gate. It’s just one of those things, man.”

Inside linebacker Sean Lee agreed that the Cowboys’ defense wasn’t physically whipped by the Seahawks, who were playing with a patchwork offensive line that included backups at left tackle and right guard. However, Lee said the defense should learn a valuable lesson from watching the game film.

“It just shows you that against a good running back, you have to be on point the entire game,” Lee said. “That’s something that I don’t think we did in the second half. The first half we did it and -- for whatever reason, I don’t know if we felt like we had it -- we didn’t execute right. I think it’s a clear picture that against a good running back, you’re going to have to execute every single play.”

Sean Lee ties 41-year-old mark

September, 19, 2012
9/19/12
3:28
PM ET
IRVING, Texas – To say Sean Lee was all over the field Sunday at Seattle might be an understatement.

Lee tied a franchise record with 21 tackles against the Seahawks, including 15 solo stops, and if not for sitting out six snaps after taking a blindside hit from wide receiver Golden Tate, Lee could have had the record all by himself.

On Sept. 26, 1971 – more than 15 years before Lee was born – Lee Roy Jordan made 21 tackles against Philadelphia. Lee’s previous high was 19 last year at New England.

“I’m just going out there playing, just play to play trying to make a play, reading my keys and running to the football,” Lee said. “When you get in the game and you’re just playing, you don’t know. You don’t keep track of stuff like that.”

Tackles are not an official NFL statistic. Lee’s 21 tackles came after the coaches’ review of the game. The Seattle statisticians credited Lee with 14 tackles from the CenturyLink Field press box.

Eugene Lockhart holds the team’s record for tackles in a season with 222 in 1989. After two games, Lee is on pace for 280 tackles.

That’s not necessarily a good thing, by the way.

Practice report: Barry Church full go

September, 19, 2012
9/19/12
3:21
PM ET
IRVING, Texas – A quadriceps bruise knocked Barry Church out of Sunday’s game at Seattle in the first half, but he managed to go through a full practice Wednesday.

“I felt pretty good,” said Church, who will wear a thicker thigh pad Sunday against Tampa Bay after not wearing any pads vs. Seattle.

Seven players were not able to practice, including Church’s running mate at safety, Gerald Sensabaugh, who has a calf strain and would be replaced by Danny McCray in the starting lineup.

“I feel like I’ve got to take on a little more without Gerald back there,” Church said. “He helped me through signal calling. With him gone, I’m going to have to pick up my game a little bit as well as with everybody else has got to pick it up. We’re definitely looking to communicate just as good as if he was there.”

Three defensive linemen sat out practice: Kenyon Coleman (knee), Marcus Spears (knee) and Jay Ratliff (ankle). Linebacker Alex Albright (stinger), center Phil Costa (back) and safety Matt Johnson (hamstring) also did not practice.

A sore hip limited Sean Lee's work in practice but he should be ready to go against Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Miles Austin (hamstring), Andre Holmes (knee), Mike Jenkins (shoulder), DeMarcus Ware (hamstring), Kyle Wilber (thumb) and Jason Witten (spleen) were full participants in practice. Ware was limited last Wednesday in practice so he appears to have made some progress.

Sean Lee: That looked like last year's defense

September, 19, 2012
9/19/12
1:08
PM ET
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas defense’s performance in Seattle looked way too familiar to inside linebacker Sean Lee.

“It was the type of defense we played last year, where we would have one half where we would play really well and the second half would be ...” Lee said, leaving the rest of the sentence for others to fill in.

Last season, the secondary tended to fall apart at the most inopportune times, which played a major role in the Cowboys’ blowing five fourth-quarter leads.

That wasn’t the case Sunday. The Seahawks simply bullied the Cowboys despite playing with two backup offensive linemen, with Marshawn Lynch rushing for 100 yards on 16 carries in the second half.

Lee, who tied Lee Roy Jordan’s franchise record with 21 tackles, didn’t see intensity or effort as the issue.

“I would say more of a lack of focus on doing your job every single time,” Lee said. “When I turned the film on I didn’t see lack of effort. It was, we’ve got to focus on doing our job every single time. They hit a play, OK, let’s go, let’s get back out there and focus on our job and do it the same way every single time.”

The Dallas defense has played well in three halves so far this season. But the leader of the defense can't accept what he saw in the second half against the Seahawks.

Matt Johnson not ready for return yet

September, 18, 2012
9/18/12
2:28
PM ET
IRVING, Texas – Jason Garrett calls the availability of safeties Gerald Sensabaugh and Barry Church as “day to day,” but the Cowboys are likely to be without Sensabaugh because of a right calf strain Sunday versus Tampa Bay.

Church has a bruised quadriceps and appears to be more hopeful, but it will be an issue.

The Cowboys are not looking at adding a safety to the 53-man roster or the practice squad just yet, and there’s hope that rookie Matt Johnson can get back on the field soon. But it doesn’t look like it will happen this week.

Johnson missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury and hurt his other hamstring on Aug. 25 versus St. Louis in the preseason. He has not practiced since.

“I’ve had tweaks in the past where they’d go away in a day,” Johnson said. “That’s what’s really frustrating. That’s what we’re trying to figure out why it’s happening.”

How?

“We’re looking at everything,” Johnson said. “Just past history, what I’m doing, what I’m eating, my daily diet, when I’m stretching if I shouldn’t stretching, doing enough stretching, yoga. Just everything to see what’s going on.”

So far the Cowboys' only answer is rest and rehab.

With only two safeties on the roster that are 100 percent healthy, Johnson has an urgency to return.

“Obviously two guys going down at safety and not knowing what they’re going to be doing this week, I’m trying to get back as fast as I can,” Johnson said. “But whatever (the medical staff) says, goes.”

A look back: It's a new Rob Ryan, get used to it

September, 18, 2012
9/18/12
12:01
PM ET
IRVING, Texas – In this week’s version of A Look Back, we focus on the pass rush, Marshawn Lynch's big run and a defense that was thrown off early.

On Monday, Tim MacMahon lamented Rob Ryan’s decision to not pressure Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. Today, Calvin Watkins wonders a little about it.

Didn’t we spend time after the New York Giants' game hearing how Ryan has made some changes to his scheme in 2012? Ryan’s history might say he likes to blitz and bring pressure, but maybe that come-to-Jesus season Jerry Jones alluded to on the radio last week has had something to do with Ryan not being as aggressive.

The Cowboys were killed by the big play through the air last year. To combat that so far, Ryan is banking on his front to get to the quarterback, even against an inexperienced quarterback.

I don’t know if two games offers enough evidence, but Ryan has not been a gambler against the Giants or the Seahawks. He pressured Eli Manning seven times in the opener. He pressured Wilson seven times in Week 2.

Ten times the Cowboys brought four-man rushes against Wilson and they recorded three pressures and an Anthony Spencer sack. Seven times they brought five guys and had a sack, two pressures and a pass deflection.

Eight times they rushed only three guys and didn’t get any pressure. Wilson had four straight completions against three-man rushes in the second quarter that led to a Seattle field goal.

** Sometimes you have to tip your cap when an offense picks the right play against the right defense. That’s what happened on Lynch’s 36-yard run. Ryan brought a will-free safety blitz with DeMarcus Ware and Gerald Sensabaugh, which Seattle ran away from.

Sean Lissemore was double-teamed and had no chance. Josh Brent got turned away. Victor Butler, playing a little soft with the blitz call from the other side, could not hold the point of attack. The fullback blocked Sean Lee. Bruce Carter could not track it down from the backside. Boom, there goes Lynch.

It was a good play by Seattle.

** On the second play of the game, Josh Brent got into a shoving match with Seattle center Max Unger. A play later, he threw a punch (apparently) at Unger and was called for unnecessary roughness. Also on that play, Kenyon Coleman and Jason Hatcher got into some extracurricular activity with Breno Giacomini and Paul McQuistan. It was chippy from the get go and looked as if the Cowboys weren't prepared and too sensitive to Seattle’s aggressive styles -- and it eventually cost them with their poise. They simply can’t be drawn offside (sorry for the pun) that early in the game.

** Jason Garrett said Seattle’s defense was pretty easy to figure out. They play eight guys in the box and dare you to beat them in the passing game. Of the Cowboys' 57 snaps, the Seahawks played an eight-man front 25 times. They had seven guys in the box 14 times. The Cowboys were not awful running into that eight-man box but they did not run much out of their 11 personnel groups when the Seahawks could not load up.

** Seattle corners Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman are big. One way to combat tall corners is to break them down with quick routes. Why didn’t the Cowboys run more slants? They lived on them in the opener against New York. I counted only a handful, including one to Miles Austin at the end of the first half that was knocked into the air. Until Dez Bryant shows he can beat press coverage, like Browner and Sherman played, then the opposition should just get into Bryant at the line. He was a non-factor Sunday.

** A lot of times when the Cowboys lose, people gripe about Garrett getting away from the run. The Cowboys ran it only 14 times (not including two Romo plays). They only ran 19 plays in the second half, so it’s difficult to run it when you don’t have it. What about after the Seahawks made it 20-7? DeMarco Murray got the ball on three of the first four plays and then the drive broke down. On first-and-10 from the Dallas 47, guard Nate Livings was beat quickly up the middle by Chris Clemons, who forced an early throw to the flat to Felix Jones, who was dropped for a 5-yard loss by K.J. Wright. On second down, Tyron Smith had a false start. Do you run it on second-and-20? Third-and-20? The next time the offense got the ball back, it was 27-7 with 7:51 to play. Of the Cowboys' 24 first-down plays vs. Seattle, 18 were pass plays, including the final three in garbage time. The six first-down running plays gained 14 yards. Should Garrett’s abandonment of the running game be boiled down to the one play that lost 5 yards on a pass to Jones? I wouldn’t go there.

5 Wonders: Tony Romo's numbers vs. Bucs

September, 18, 2012
9/18/12
10:29
AM ET
IRVING, Texas – After two games many of you are wondering which Cowboys team will show up on gameday. They played great against the New York Giants. They were whipped by Seattle. So what happens Sunday against Tampa Bay?

I’m wondering about five things.

Here’s this week’s Five Wonders:

** I wonder if Tony Romo will continue his personal success against the Buccaneers on Sunday. In three games against Tampa Bay, Romo has 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions. His passer ratings in the three wins have been 148.9, 140.6 and 133.9. In 2006, Romo tore up Monte Kiffin’s defense for five touchdown passes. In the 2009 season opener, he beat Raheem Morris’ defense for353 yards. Last year he completed 77 percent of his passes against Keith Millard’s defense. This week he goes against Bill Sheridan’s defense. The Bucs have allowed Cam Newton to pass for 303 yards and Eli Manning to pass for 510 in the first two games. Sheridan was the New York Giants defensive coordinator in 2009 and in the two games Romo threw four touchdown passes and was intercepted three times in two Dallas losses.

**OK, Felix Jones won’t be cut. Jerry Jones said so this morning on KRLD-FM. Jason Garrett was taken by surprise at the question during the post-game press conference, too. But should Jones be active? He’s not an effective kick returner. Garrett keeps saying Jones is a big part of the offense. Why? He can’t make a tackler miss. He’s had one carry in the first two games. This is DeMarco Murray’s running game right now, as it should be. If Jones can’t be a special teams’ help and can’t make people miss as a pass catcher, then why should he be on the 46-man roster? Something has happened to Jones. He’s lost that speed that helped him get by without much make-you-miss.

** The Cowboys will be thin at safety his week. Gerald Sensabaugh could miss 1-2 weeks with a calf strain, but he is one of the toughest players on the roster so don’t rule him out for Sunday. Barry Church has a quadriceps bruise but he should be OK. Matt Johnson has not practiced since the regular-season began because of a hamstring injury. That leaves two healthy safeties in Danny McCray and Mana Silva. Cornerback Mario Butler played some safety in the preseason. Jason Garrett was asked if Mike Jenkins could play some safety with the injuries. I wouldn’t go there. I wonder if they should give Orlando Scandrick some time there. It was kicked around a few years ago about playing Scandrick at safety when Wade Phillips was around. He plays a hybrid safety role in some substitution packages. He’s a willing tackler. He’s an intuitive player. He’s not the prototypical size but you’re not asking for a full-time conversion to the spot. Maybe it makes some sense.

**I wonder when people (media too by the way) will realize the way the Cowboys have opened the season is the way of life in the NFL. It happens everywhere, if we want to talk off the microscope off the Cowboys for a second. New England lost at home to Arizona. New Orleans lost to Washington in Week 1. Peyton Manning looks great in his return for Denver against Pittsburgh then terrible in his first quarter on Monday at Atlanta. Baltimore airs it out in Week 1 vs. Cincinnati and is stifled the next week vs. Philadelphia. The key is to win the games you play poorly in. Say, hello to Philadelphia. The Eagles were awful vs. the Browns in the opener but won anyway. In December nobody will be talking about any style points on that game, just the victory. The Cowboys had a chance in Seattle and were punked in the second half. It’s simple as that. Since Garrett took over midway through the 2010 season the Cowboys have had two two-game winning streaks and one four-game winning streak. They’ve also had two two-game losing streaks. The key early in a season is to pile up the wins anyway, anyhow and carry momentum.

** There are times in games where you sometimes have to take a risk, calculate the gamble and just go for it with conviction. I wondered whether the Cowboys should have gone for it on fourth-and-3 from the Seattle 40 with 44 seconds left in the first half and asked Garrett if he considered not punting. “That’s certainly a discussion you have, but we didn’t want to give them a short field and another scoring opportunity there,” Garrett said. “We were trying to maximize our opportunity there, and we didn’t convert. That was one where we had an opportunity to win on a slant route. The ball got batted at the line of scrimmage and they made the stop on third down. We just felt like the right thing to do at that point because of the field position was punt it down in their end.” I understand the thinking but against a rookie quarterback that had done little up to that point, why not show faith in the defense that you think they’ll get a stop?

Random Thoughts: Not enough pressure

September, 18, 2012
9/18/12
10:27
AM ET
After reviewing the Cowboys' Week 2 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, here are some random thoughts on what happened:

* Pressure. The Cowboys mainly used four- and three-man pressures against rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. Why is that an issue? Out of 58 snaps, outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware dropped back in coverage just three times and Anthony Spencer 14 times. However, Seattle ran eight play-action pass plays, freezing the linebackers. That might be why defensive coordinator Rob Ryan didn't send more defenders. Maybe the Cowboys were afraid of getting beat over the middle if the linebackers were flying at the quarterback.

* It's easy to get caught up in snap counts, but let's examine why Felix Jones got 19 in Week 2 and just 12 in Week 1. DeMarco Murray closed out the game in the Week 1 win and Jones' minor rib injury limited his play totals. In Week 2, Jones was on the field at the end of the game as the Cowboys tried to score one last touchdown in a 27-7 blowout. Jones caught two of the last three passes of the game for 13 and 23 yards. If the Cowboys are leading Tampa Bay this Sunday, expect Jones' snap count to remain at 12-15. If the Cowboys are down big, maybe it goes up to about 20.

* In a career first, cornerback Mike Jenkins had more special teams snaps (10) than defensive snaps (8). The Cowboys are slowly bringing him back after his recovery from shoulder surgery. Recent developments are forcing the Cowboys to maybe use Jenkins more at free safety. It seems strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh (calf) is going to miss some time, and there's no telling how serious Barry Church's quad injury is. Jenkins could move into a free safety role against Tampa Bay and pick up tight ends and the fourth receiver if one exists. The question is who plays strong safety? Danny McCray is a sure tackler, though he missed two vs. Seattle -- one on special teams and another on defense. McCray most likely will be inserted as the strong safety, so expect Jenkins to come off the field in short yardage situations.

* Marcus Spears is expected to start Sunday at defensive end if Kenyon Coleman (knee) is unavailable. Spears is durable and his roster spot coming into training camp was a question mark because you wondered if the Cowboys wanted to go younger at that position. Clifton Geathers was too inconsistent and Ben Bass wasn't ready and it prompted the Cowboys to cut both. Bass is on the Cowboys practice squad and has a bright future. Spears, meanwhile, continues as a steady player. Rookie defensive end Tyrone Crawford got 10 snaps vs. Seattle mainly to injuries. Spears also left the game after getting nicked, and he could get that same total Sunday against Tampa Bay.

* When quarterback Tony Romo threw his interception, I thought he was trying to trick the defense by pump faking one way and throwing another. A closer look reveals Romo had some pressure, so maybe he was trying to throw the ball to the right side and, after a step, he turned and saw Jason Witten and threw his direction, which led to the interception.

* Jason Garrett should get praise for Miles Austin's touchdown catch. Austin, out of the slot, ran downfield, stopped and then sprinted toward the sidelines with the cornerback trailing. Romo was patient because he was waiting on Austin, then he needed the time for the play to develop. Romo wants to get rid of the ball in 2.5 seconds. He pushed that number on the 22-yard touchdown pass to Austin.

* Notes and things: Fourth quarter time of possession: Seattle 13:31, Dallas 1:29. ... Spencer is off to a strong start after two weeks. He's got two sacks, a tackle for loss and two quarterback hits against Seattle. ... The Cowboys' return game is shaky right now. Dez Bryant had some room for a return against the Giants in Week 1, but fell down when he reached the sidelines. ... Jones is making interesting decisions on kickoffs. He returned two from eight yards deep. ... Do you miss Phil Costa yet?

How much did Cowboys miss Jay Ratliff?

September, 17, 2012
9/17/12
5:32
PM ET
IRVING, Texas – As Marshawn Lynch ran for 100 of his 122 yards in the second half of Sunday’s loss to Seattle, the absence of nose tackle Jay Ratliff popped into some minds.

It should be noted, however, that Lynch ran for 135 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown against the Cowboys last season when Ratliff was in the lineup.

“Jay’s a great football player, we know that,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s been a Pro Bowl player for us and one of our leaders, but injuries happen in football. You have to put the next guy in and you have to go forward. We’re excited to get him back when he’s healthy.”

Garrett is not sure if Ratliff, who is recovering from a high ankle sprain suffered Aug. 25 against St. Louis, will be ready to go this week against Tampa Bay. His return could coincide with the loss of defensive end Kenyon Coleman, who suffered a hyperextended knee against the Seahawks.

“He’s making progress,” Garrett said.

Day later, Sean Lee feeling OK after hit

September, 17, 2012
9/17/12
5:23
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- A day after taking a peel-back hit from Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate, Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee was moving slowly but felt OK.

“Just game soreness,” Lee said. “I’ll be ready to roll.”

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Cowboys LB Anthony Spencer weighs in on the defense's physicality, the crowd noise in Seattle and more.

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Lee was able to return to the game after missing a handful of snaps recovering. He is not concerned with whether Tate is fined by the NFL, but he wants the officials to be consistent with the call during the season.

“They’ll deal with it,” Lee said of the league. “I’m on to the next game. I’m more worried about how we’re going to get better on defense and how we’re going to improve on the mistakes we made.”

The reactions of Lee’s teammates to Tate’s hit have come into question. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick approached Tate, who celebrated the hit by crawling on the ground and then pointing to the back of his jersey, during the delay in the game.

How would Jason Garrett want the players to react?

“It’s a tricky situation,” Garrett said. “You obviously want to compete. You want them to have each other’s back, but you also have to have poise and composure. It’s really important for us how to handle ourselves at the end of a down after a play like that. You don’t want to compound a mistake. You don’t want to add another 15-yard penalty to that. It’s a tricky situation.

"It’s a balancing act as a coach to tell them one thing and then tell them something that appears to be something opposite of that. But that’s just the reality of it. You have to defend and then defend them in the right way. We have to trust the officials to take care of their job in situations like that and we’ve got to go play the next play and defend each other within the confines of the rules between the whistles.”
SEATTLE -- One of the biggest scoring drives of the game raised questions about who was supposed to cover whom on the go-ahead touchdown.

Seattle completed a eight-play, 90-yard drive when quarterback Russell Wilson completed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Anthony McCoy for a commanding 20-7 lead with 5:05 to play in the third quarter.

It was the longest scoring drive, in terms of yardage, given up by the Cowboys defense this season.

McCoy's score occurred because of apparent miscommunication by the defense.

Linebacker Anthony Spencer was lined up opposite McCoy at the start of the play. When the ball was snapped, Spencer allowed McCoy to get past him. With Spencer trailing the play, Wilson hit a wide-open McCoy for the touchdown. Replays showed backup safety Mana Silva racing over from the middle of the field to offer support, but it was too late. Linebacker Dan Connor also came over to help out.

"I don’t think I had one-on-one," Spencer said. "I'm not even sure. We have to look at it."

There were two other plays on the scoring drive that hurt the Cowboys:

* Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware and Spencer ran into each other as they blitzed Wilson, who scrambled away for an 8-yard gain.

* Running back Marshawn Lynch was able to escape a Cowboys run blitz to gain 36 yards. Two plays later, Seattle forged ahead with the touchdown.

"It's something we should never do," linebacker Sean Lee said regarding the 90-yard drive. "We pride ourselves on keeping the field position down there and getting the ball back for the offense. That was soemthing we didn’t do."

Postgame audio: Cowboys-Seahawks

September, 17, 2012
9/17/12
12:05
PM ET
Cowboys TE Jason Witten talks about his performance and says the team made too many mistakes and didn't execute well enough to win.

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Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gives credit to the Seahawks for the win and comments on what the loss means for the Cowboys.

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Cowboys WR Miles Austin discusses why he had to receive an IV during the game and says he's frustrated with the team's lack of execution.

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Cowboys LB Anthony Spencer weighs in on the defense's physicality, the crowd noise in Seattle and more.

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Did Seattle play dirty against the Cowboys?

September, 17, 2012
9/17/12
12:00
PM ET
SEATTLE -- Numerous Cowboys players said they didn't believe they were beaten up by the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, but there were some questionable plays that might lead you to believe something dirty was going on.

Wide receiver Golden Tate's peel-back, blindside hit on linebacker Sean Lee in the fourth quarter drew the ire of the Cowboys' sideline. Rookie guard J.R. Sweezy was called for a chop block. And in the first quarter, something sparked mild-mannered nose tackle Josh Brent into a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty as he swung his arms at an opponent.

Several Cowboys players said they knew the Seahawks were a chippy team from film study.

"If you watch football, that’s the way they play," defensive end Jason Hatcher said. "They cut, they hit you after the play, that’s the way they're built. It's not a surprise to us. We knew it was coming. It was a war out there. At the end of the day, they won. So I'm just ready to put it behind us and forget about it and get ready for the next team."

The Cowboys have no choice but to move ahead, but could this setback linger?

"I still have confidence in our team," cornerback Brandon Carr said. "This is only our second game, and we're 1-1. We got a chance to look at the film and correct our mistakes and get better for next week."

After losing such a physical game -- more physical than the Giants game -- you have to wonder if the Cowboys underestimated their opponent.

Jerry Jones said he didn't think his team did and had plenty of praise for Seattle afterward.

Still, for the Cowboys to get beat up in this fashion was surprising.

"It didn’t surprise me," outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware said, who also hit the ground after a blindside hit. "If you add 10 or 11 days to get ready for people and know what's at stake, you know what you’re going against. And we knew. ... We were very prepared, and we didn’t execute like you should."

Cowboys say 10-day layoff didn't hurt them

September, 17, 2012
9/17/12
11:30
AM ET
SEATTLE -- The Cowboys had 10 days off between the Week 1 victory over the New York Giants and the Week 2 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Following the loss, several Cowboys players said the layoff didn't hurt the team. But it was clear there was a lack of spark.

Maybe it had something to do with the early deficit. Felix Jones fumbled the opening kickoff, and it resulted in a Seattle field goal. A blocked punt was turned in for a touchdown, and quarterback Tony Romo had a pass intercepted. All three happened within the first nine minutes of the game.

In some ways, the Cowboys might have lost momentum from the Giants game.

"Every game is different, every week is different," defensive end Marcus Spears said. "You have to play these games to win them. Momentum is not a thing in the NFL. I don’t believe in it because every week is a different type of ballgame and in order for you to be a good team, you have to be able to bounce back from these and be able to move on from the wins, and that’s what we’re tying to do. I'm not trying to disband from the fact we lost this game because we have to watch it and make sure we don’t do it again and at the end of the day we've got Tampa Bay next week."

But NFL teams like to play well on a consistent basis. Ask the Giants and other teams about finishing seasons strong or starting a season off on a positive note.

"To learn from it, whether or not we won or lost this week, we need to get better from it either way," Romo said. "Obviously you want to win while your learning but we weren't able to do that (Sunday)."

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