Commentary

Cowboys' defense shows no fight

Dallas cowers, gets beat up in disappointing road loss to physical Seahawks

Updated: September 17, 2012, 12:27 AM ET
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

SEATTLE -- The Dallas Cowboys disputed whether they got beat up by the Seattle Seahawks in an NFL game that looked more like a street fight at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.

Sean Lee was knocked down. DeMarcus Ware was too. Marcus Spears limped off. Gerald Sensabaugh needed help off the field and left the locker room with a protective boot. Kenyon Coleman was nicked up, too.

[+] EnlargeSean Lee
Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Getty ImagesCowboys linebacker Sean Lee was knocked to the ground on a blindside hit by Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate.

Seattle took it to the Cowboys' defense for a 27-7 victory.

"I don't feel like no team pushes us around," Ware said. "I think when you think about tackling, we didn't tackle like we should. We didn't create the big plays and get enough plays on the quarterback like we should."

Running back Marshawn Lynch rushed for 122 yards on 26 carries. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson avoided some sacks and completed 15-of-20 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown.

At one point, Anthony Spencer and Ware ran into each other as Wilson escaped a potential sack.

The Cowboys' defense didn't do enough on the field. After Lee was knocked to the ground on a blindside hit by wide receiver Golden Tate, cornerback Orlando Scandrick came to his defense. Nobody rushed after Tate when after he crawled on all fours celebrating the hit.

Do you remember George Teague? He ran to midfield and slammed into Terrell Owens when he tried to hold a party on the star at Texas Stadium following a touchdown.

Before every boxing match, the referee tells the fighters to protect themselves at all times. We didn't see that from the Cowboys on Sunday.

When a groggy Lee left the field, he slapped the backs of several teammates, including Jason Hatcher and Ware. It was as if he was asking somebody to avenge the hit.

Nothing happened.

Seattle would score on the drive to go ahead, 27-7.

"You can't respond in a bad way," fullback Lawrence Vickers said.

"It really pissed me off if you want to be honest," Ware said of the hit. "Anybody that sort of retaliates on any of the other players on defense, offense you sort of got to take that mentality back to them. That's part of this game. It's a brutal game but we didn't do that. We got this week and go evaluate things."

Tampa Bay, who's coming off a loss to the New York Giants where coach Tom Coughlin got upset at Tampa coach Greg Schiano for telling his players to knock quarterback Eli Manning down as he took a knee, is next on the Cowboys' schedule.

After watching this effort, do you think the Cowboys' defense is ready for Tampa?

What should bother you most about the Cowboys' defense is how Tate's celebration riled up the crowd and the Cowboys couldn't do anything to stop it.

"That's part of the deal," Lee said. "He can celebrate all he wants. I bet you if we went head-to-head and square up, he probably won't be celebrating as much. It's part of the deal and part of football and hits like that happen."

True.

The Cowboys do have tough guys who hold each other accountable. Sunday we didn't see enough of it. You don't want to do anything stupid on the football field, but you need to make statements.

Seattle did when it took control of first-down plays. On first down, the Seahawks gained five or more yards five times, scored a touchdown and had just one incompletion. There were only two plays where Seattle gained just one yard and that was at the end of the game.

"We didn't execute on first down and that just rolled all the way down to second down and third down and third-and-short," Spencer said.

The Cowboys can't let this happen again because their owner and head coach won't stand for it.

"It was a dog fight, we didn't get knocked around, we didn't get knocked off the ball or nothing like that," Hatcher said. "It was just one of those things. One guy got a little out of place and they just kinda ripped us here and there. It was real chippy out there. A dog fight -- that's what you expect from a team like that."

Yes, but the Cowboys were expected to fight back more than they did.

Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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