The Dallas Cowboys looked sharp in so many ways despite falling 27-17 to the Seahawks... but looked wounded on the first possession of the game at Seattle when near-football tragedy struck, QB Tony Romo getting crushed on a scramble attempt.
Romo's night was done, even though, after holding his back in anguish, he tried to beg his way back into the preseason contest against the Seahawks. Instead, he finished the game going 1/1 for 11 yards.
"He's not injured," boss man Jerry Jones told our friends at CBS 11 during the game. "He was okay on the sideline immediately. We saw the same thing you saw. If anything, he kind of landed, jammed it there. It didn't have an impact on it. But he was raring. He was fit to be tied to not to be able to go back in. It was a coach's decision."
"You always feel bad when you see your guy go down like that," receiver Terrance Williams said. "But it's kind of good that he got up."
No. 2 QB Dak Prescott took over, the rookie teaming with fellow rook Ezekiel Elliott to get the football moving. The ex-Buckeye did so rushing seven times for 48 yards, a 6.9 yards per carry, and a 13-yarder as his longest rush.
"I was pleased with Ezekiel Elliott," Jones said. He also indicated he was pleased with the protection Elliott provided.
Williams was pleased with how rookie Prescott was able to pick up the reins seamlessly after Romo departed the game.
Said Williams: "Dak, he comes in here and we just communicate well. We'll have different guys doing different things. We all communicate very well. So, whenever you have a guy like that poised to run the plays, it's kind of fun."
Williams was also very impressed with the debut of Elliott.
"Zeke is tough," said Williams. "He's a hard runner. He has great people blocking for him. He comes to work every day and he's just a big, physical guy. And people will get tired of hitting him for four quarters."
Said Jerry: "He's as advertised."
Zeke can be a huge story this year (as long as he avoids some of the negative ones that popped up in Seattle). Prescott, you hope, won't have to be "huge'' because Tony Romo will be. But his night was over early, due to a "coaches decision.'' Romo has played in 16 snaps this preseason, surely won't play in the preseason finale Sept. 1 against Houston, and therefore has ample time to get healthy for the Sept. 11 opener against the Giants.
At which point you hope he can dodge 16 games worth of more bullets.
RUSH TO JUDGMENT
The Cowboys had a little trouble rushing Russell Wilson during his two-and-a-half quarters of play Thursday night. The three-time Pro Bowler went 16/21 for 192 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It is worth noting that starting three-technique defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford (concussion) and veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick (groin) did not make the trip to Seattle. But the starting rushmen let Wilson escape more than once and the first-team secondary blew opportunities for interceptions a couple of times.
Former Cowboys running back Christine Michael, who incidentally was a rusher Dallas traded with Seattle to acquire last year to shore up their running back by committee, peeled off 58 yards on seven carries. The interior defensive line had a few good stops against Michael, but the four-year pro was able to find daylight on a few long runs.
DEVALUING THE CURRENCY
Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey, who has been money for the franchise since 2011, missed a 52-yarder with the first-team offense. The most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history shanked the try left with no shot of sneaking into the uprights. However, Bailey was able to nail a 40-yard field goal to tie the game at 10-10 heading into halftime.
Not to worry: Bailey has never missed a field goal in Week 1, and he has never missed an extra point. It is no wonder he shares the most accurate kicker ever title with suspended Giants kicker Josh Brown.
THE LAST WORD
The Cowboys now head back to Dallas to host the Texans in the preseason finale on Thursday. Before that, they will have their annual Cowboys Kickoff Luncheon. CowboysHQ will be there on the red carpet at AT&T Stadium to report all the latest happenings.
Jerry, after the scare, you gonna make it home?