1. Dez Bryant didn't make a huge impact in his first game back from injury. ... at least not in a "just-football'' sense.
He finished with just 2 catches for 12 yards in Dallas' 13-12 loss to Seattle. (Our game story is here). However, he was being shadowed by Richard Sherman for most of the game and he only had a few days to try and build up chemistry with Cassel. The biggest impact that Dez made in the game was as a defender. Dez saved Cassel from two interceptions, knocking the ball away from Sherman both times. I'm sure Cassel would've loved to have someone like that last week when he threw 3 interceptions vs the Giants.
And then there was the postgame stuff ...
And the whole darn thing takes on an unfortunate life of its own.
2. Demarcus Lawrence arguably had his best game of the season vs the Seahawks. The numbers may not show it but the tape sure did. He had 2 tackles for a loss and did a great job of containing Russell Wilson all game. On a designed QB run, Wilson just had to beat Lawrence around the edge and he would have had a big gain. Instead, Lawrence stuck with him step for step and was able to grab Wilson's arm and throw him out of bounds for a minimal gain. That's not an easy task for a defensive lineman but Lawrence was able to deliver. The 2nd year edge rusher is really starting to come into his own and finish plays, which is something he's struggled with at times.
3. Greg Hardy wasn't able to come away with a sack after recording 3 in his first 2 games but he wasn't any less dominant vs the Seahawks. Hardy was really impressive vs the run, recording a tackle for a loss and a couple run stuffs. Hardy also had 3 QB hits by my count and of course an incredibly athletic interception after tipping the ball to himself. In his first 3 games as a Cowboy, Greg Hardy has 3 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss, at least 7 QB hits, a forced fumble and an interception. Not half bad.
Is he self-impressed?
"Play harder, play better, win,'' Hardy said. "Everything else will take care of itself.''
4. Byron Jones played every snap for the Cowboys on defense and he didn't disappoint. He's been solid all year and his confidence has continued to grow each week, especially after his performance against Rob Gronkowski a few weeks back. Jones finished with 2 pass breakups and he forced Marshawn Lynch out of bounds late in the 4th, which stopped the clock and gave the Cowboys a chance to get the ball back.
The rookie has done everything the coaches have asked of him and is showing that he is much more than just a workout warrior at the combine. This kid can play football!
5. By the way, it's a good thing the Cowboys have Jones because the rest of their safeties are really struggling. Church blew the coverage on Seattle's lone TD of the day and Heath's reactions were awful while trying to make the tackle. Meanwhile, JJ Wilcox has been missing tackles left and right. When Jeff Heath is playing more defensive snaps than JJ Wilcox, you know you've got issues.
6. Speaking of JJ Wilcox. ... He's been struggling on defense but he made a really heads up play on special teams vs the Seahawks. After a Seattle punt that hit Corey White, Wilcox quickly fell on the ball and held onto it despite a pile of Seahawks immediately piling on top of him. If Wilcox doesn't hold onto that ball, the Seahawks would've gotten the ball back with great field position. That was a huge play in the game.
7. Both Rolando McClain and Sean Lee missed more tackles than we've grown accustomed to seeing. McClain especially looked rough, finishing the game with just 4 tackles. Lee was still able to make plays though, finishing with 11 tackles, including 2 for a loss of yards. We've yet to see this LB duo live up to their full potential together. If they can get on the same page and play at the high level that we all know that they're capable of, they could become the most dangerous LB duo in the NFL.
But right now, that's just talk.
8. The Cowboys weren't able to run the ball like they did last week vs the Giants, which is to be expected vs the Seahawks front seven. Still, they were able to grind out some tough yards on the ground -- "Dirty yards,'' coach Jason Garrett called them on Monday -- and McFadden finished with 64. He had to earn every yard and I was impressed with his toughness. That's not something he showed much of early in the season. Also gotta give some serious credit to La'el Collins. The rookie was mauling defenders all day and even pancaked Wagner and Chancellor on the same play. This guy is the real deal. I'm not saying he's the next Larry Allen at all but his aggressive and angry playing style reminds me of Allen's.
And McFadden will continue to be the beneficiary of it as Joe Randle really isn't an issue right now.
9. Matt Cassel finished with just 97 passing yards on Sunday. It seemed like he was playing scared after his 3 interception game last week. (An unfair thing to say about a football player, I know.) He wasn't throwing downfield nearly as much and he looked like Brandon Weeden with all of his check downs and dump offs. To be fair though, the Seahawks have the 2nd best pass defense in the NFL this year so it's not like any QB's that have carved them up through the air. Fun fact, Cassel had 20 more passing yards than Aaron Rodgers this week and 5 more rushing yards than Eddie Lacy.
But .. changes are coming ...
Romo isn't eligible to play until Nov. 22. But his collarbone is expected to allow him to begin practice as scheduled on Wednesday, when he'll at least do some light throwing and some non-first-team stuff.
10. Dan Bailey is on another impressive streak. He's made 14 consecutive field goals this season, including four on Sunday. He's also made 17 consecutive regular season field goals dating back to week 17 of 2014 and he's one of just 4 kickers this season who have remained perfect after attempting 14+ field goals. It's a good thing the Cowboys have a kicker of Bailey's caliber too. He's accounted for 68% of the team's points in their last 3 games.
That, plus a blocked field goal in the clutch (from David Irving) and just 13 points allowed ... and you lose? Yikes.