It doesn’t take long to be humbled in the NFL. Week 2, for a lot of teams, revealed high level play isn’t assured week to week. The Dallas Cowboys followed an impressive win in the Meadowlands with a Stinker in Seattle.
Special teams gaffes put the Cowboys in a 10-0 hole. Dallas dominated both sides of the ball much of remainder of the first half but was unable to make a major dent on the scoreboard. In the second half the Seahawks’ running game took the game over while Dallas’ offense never developed a rhythm.
The offensive line was Dallas’ only minor concern in the opener. The 27-7 loss to Seattle raised several questions including the offensive line which remains a focal point.
But there were other areas that sprung leaks.
Nose tackle Jay Ratliff isn’t the impact player as a DeMarcus Ware. But Ratliff sitting out the first two games with a high ankle sprain finally was a factor.
Dallas’ run defense was solid the first six quarters. But in the second half on Sunday Marshawn Lynch ran for 104 of his 122 yards. The Seahawks controlled the trenches. Ratliff would help but run defense might be more of a concern than the secondary which was the issue a year ago.
Quarterback Tony Romo didn’t produce many game-altering plays good or bad. Sitting on the sidelines much of the second half watching Seattle’s ground game control the tempo, Romo never changed the momentum.
A suspect O-line will be under the microscope all season. But DeMarco Murray and the running game and Romo and the passing game with Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten must be more productive. Witten still looks rusty.
Special teams were supposed to be a strength with Felix Jones and Dez Bryant. Maybe it will be a one-game aberration but mistakes like blocked punts present unnecessary obstacles.
The Cowboys have some areas of concern but several teams were reminded anything can happen. Arizona, a heavy underdog, winning in New England was exhibit A.
The toughest portion of Dallas’ schedule is Week 6 after the bye week, a brutal five-game stretch with four road games. Realistically the Cowboys need to start the season 3-1 before the tell-tale portion of the schedule arrives.
How the Cowboys arrived at 1-1 was a little surprising, winning in New York and losing in Seattle. But Dallas was one of only two teams to start the season with two road games.
The storyline now shifts to JerryWorld. Dallas will be heavily favored next Sunday against Tampa Bay. It’s the following week, a Monday night home game with Chicago that could define the first quarter of the season.