Whereas the 2014 were a team that found ways to win, the 2015 Cowboys -- 13-12 losers to visiting Seattle on Sunday -- seem to be a team that finds ways to lose.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, the most-sacked man in America, was never dropped by the vaunted Dallas defensive line. Yes, Wilson went 19/30 for 210 yards, a touchdown, and an interception, but the passer who has been dropped 31 times was not dropped once by a team that has had seven over the course of three weeks -- bye week included. Not to mention, Seattle left tackle Russell Okung was inactive and unable to protect Wilson.
Even the maligned special teams came up with a blocked field goal in the fourth quarter as rookie defensive tackle David Irving, signed off the Chiefs practice squad earlier this year, managed to block a 47-yard Steven Hauschka field goal, recovered by safety J.J. Wilcox.
So, defense allowed 13 points. Special teams made a game-changer. And offense?
"We didn't do enough,'' said Dez Bryant in his first game back after surgery on his foot. "That's fair to say.''
Matt Cassel didn't turn the ball over. He didn't throw a touchdown either, going 13/25 for 97 yards. But at least he didn't throw an interception or fumble the ball away after a big hit. ... At the same time, this is what a "bus driver'' looks like. ... 97 yards passing.
The Cowboys avoided all of the negative plays that would certainly doom their chances of victory, but they also made very few of the plays that would have guaranteed a win. ... needing a few offensive moments like this La'el Collins highlight:
Darren McFadden carried the ball 20 times, but it was only for 64 yards and he failed to reach the end zone. Unfortunately, he also led the team with six catches for 49 yards. Yes, Dez was active and played, but he only caught two passes for 12 yards and looked short of his true self. (Or maybe that shadow was Richard Sherman who followed Bryant around all afternoon.) But Dez was very "keep it real'' in the postgame locker room when he reacted angrily to social-media accusation that he was somehow taunting or celebrating the a big hit that sent Seattle's Ricardo Lockette off in a stretcher.
"I would never, ever, ever, ever wish bad on a player who's been knocked down,'' Dez said. "Stop with the bullshit. Not one time did I say 'That's what you get." I got down on one knee and prayed for that man. Don't put clips together and (make it look otherwise.)"
Seattle got on the board first with a 26-yard Hauschka field goal with 8:51 in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead.
Dallas responded on the next play with a 33-yard Dan Bailey field goal to tie up the game at 3-3 with 48 seconds in the first quarter.
With 5:33 in the second quarter, Wilson threw a 22-yard touchdown to tight end Luke Willson for a touchdown. The Hauschka extra point made it 10-3 Seahawks.
The Cowboys responded with a 35-yard Bailey field goal with 1:38 to go in the second quarter to trim the Seattle lead to just 10-6.
With 8:56 to go in the third quarter, Dallas trusted Bailey again for a field goal try, this one from 52 yards and good like the two prior kicks. Seattle still led 10-9.
Unable to convert a third-and-6 from the Seattle 9-yard line, Dallas trotted out Bailey for a fourth time as he hit a 27-yard field goal to make it 12-10 Cowboys with 14:32 to go in the fourth quarter.
The Seahawks took the final lead of the game when Hauschka hit a 24-yard field goal to put Seattle up 13-12 with 1:10 to go in the fourth.
"I'm very disappointed,'' said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, "because of the effort our team made.''
The Giants lost to the Saints 52-49 and are now 4-4 on the season. The opportunity was there to gain ground in the NFC East, especially with Washington and Philadelphia on byes. But Dallas failed to seize the opportunities and now fall to 2-5 with the hole at the bottom of the NFC East deepening. Fortunately for the Cowboys, other teams in the division have "efforts'' that haven't paid off, either.
"This division is crazy right now,'' Barry Church told our Mike Fisher. "Our next job is to try to get to 3-5.''
* Russell Wilson earned the 11th fourth-quarter comeback of his career.
* Dan Bailey accounted for all of the Cowboys' points with his four field goals. Bailey now has five games where he has hit four field goals or greater, and he has never missed in such games.
* Matt Cassel is the first Cowboys starting quarterback to throw for less than 100 yards in a game since Dec. 24, 2011 when Romo failed to get any on zero completions on two attempts.
* This is the second straight game that Christine Michael has had five or more carries. In Seattle, in his two-year career, it only happened four times.
* Greg Hardy's interception of Wilson was the first one of Hardy's career.
"This is a resiliant bunch,'' Hardy said. "We're going to come back, go to work on Tuesday and keep fighting. We've got a bunch of good guys.''