Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 9/17/12

The NFL is a funny thing. Some weeks teams click on all cylinders. Everything in the playbook works, the ball bounces the right way, and the team likely enjoys a great deal of success. But then, with no rhyme or reason, there are games like the one we just saw the Dallas Cowboys play this afternoon. Games in which everyone is out of sync, (almost) nothing in the playbook works, and everyone is left scratching their collective heads about what just happened.

Uh-oh, that ball is going the wrong way… (AP Photo / John Froschauer)

The Dallas Cowboys suffered a pretty thorough beating, never really putting up a real fight against a physical Seattle team. In the first half, the only team beating the Dallas Cowboys was actually the Dallas Cowboys. And it all started from the opening whistle. Felix Jones fumbled the opening kickoff, Chris Jones' punt got blocked, and the Cowboys were down 10-0 in the blink of an eye. 

Dallas was able to recover for the time being, with Romo leading the only good drive of the day. The Cowboys responded with a masterful 15 play, 95 yard drive that culminated in Miles Austin's 2nd TD reception of the year. Unfortunately, they were never able to replicate their success. Even while possessing the ball for most of the first half and leading in nearly every statistical category, the Cowboys went in to the break down 13-7. 

In the second half, everything changed. It was no longer the Cowboys beating themselves, it was the Seahawks beating them. Heavy doses of Marshawn Lynch and smart, timely plays by Russell Wilson wore down the Dallas D. Jason Garrett relayed those sentiments in his post-game press conference, saying

"I thought we did a good job of battling back from some of the adversity that happened early in the ballgame. We gave them opportunities and we fought back, but as the game wore on they did more things to win the game than we did in all three phases than we did."

It also didn't help that the Dallas offense couldn't stay on the field. The unit just could not get in sync, and only possessed the ball for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in the second half. Players looked out of position, passes were falling incomplete no where near receivers, and there were no running lanes to speak of. Demarco Murray finished with only 44 yards on the ground (3.7 yards per carry) and Miles Austin led all Dallas receivers with 63 yards.  

The Dallas defense fought hard, but in the end succumbed to the bruising style of Lynch. He led the way with 122 yards and a touchdown, efficiently working the clock and shortening the game. The pass rush was not nearly as effective this week, and Anthony Spencer was the only man to take down Wilson in the backfield (twice). In a moment of controversy, Sean Lee (14 tackles) got blindsided on a block by Golden Tate. The play, which should have been a personal foul penalty on Tate (illegal hit on a defenseless player), actually resulted in a penalty called on Dallas for a small "shove" (if you can call it that) on Wilson as he was stepping out of bounds. While it may not have directly altered the outcome of the game, plays like that are tough to recover from as a team. The play eventually helped to setup the game-icing touchdown by Lynch, and it was time to warm up the buses. 

In the NFL, the reality is that teams are going to have weeks like this. The most important aspect of a game like this is how a team responds the following week. Next week will we see the potent bunch that dismantled the defending Super Bowl champs? Or will we see the lame duck squad that laid an egg in the Pacific Northwest? We'll find out soon enough. 

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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