Special teams miscues doom Cowboys

September, 16, 2012
9/16/12
9:08
PM ET
SEATTLE -- All week the Cowboys knew they had to be ready for one of the NFL’s most dangerous return men in Seattle's Leon Washington.

They held him to 27 return yards on punts and kickoffs, but that meant nothing.

Chris Jones’ first punt Sunday was blocked by Malcolm Smith, who muscled past Dan Connor, and returned for a touchdown by Jeron Johnson.

“We knew they were going to bring the rush,” special teams’ captain Danny McCray said. “Of course, the first punt they brought the rush and we didn’t execute as a team to get them blocked.”

The last time the Cowboys had a punt blocked for a touchdown came in last year’s season opener at the New York Jets.

The punt block came eight plays after Felix Jones fumbled the opening kickoff of the game, which Seattle turned into a field goal.

“Felix is a professional,” McCray said. “He’s a veteran. He’s been through these things. He came to me and said, ‘Good job blocking, I’m going to get it back for y’all.’ It wasn’t us picking him up. It’s him letting us know we need to keep blocking.”

Jones remained the returner and continued to take kickoffs out of the end zone, which was not always the best decision. Two first-half returns gave the Cowboys the ball at the 15 and 16 yard lines.

But it wasn’t only Jones’ play that affected the special teams. Dez Bryant muffed a punt in the final seconds of the first half after the defense held Seattle. To top it off, the special teams were flagged for 12-men on the field in the fourth quarter, leading to the Seahawks converting a fourth-and-1 instead of punting.

“Rough way to start,” McCray said of Jones’ opening kickoff, but he could’ve been talking about the whole day.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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