The Dallas Cowboys just do not seem to bother with normal football games and it was another topsy-turvy contest against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3.
This time, however, there wasn’t a miracle to be had as the Cowboys couldn’t overcome their mistakes to walk away with a win in the Pacific Northwest.
Dallas now sits at 1-2 on the season and that could easily be 0-3, or 3-0 depending on if a few further bounces had gone the other way. One thing is quite clear, though. This team is still a work in progress and they don’t yet resemble the Super Bowl contenders that they were hyped up to be during training camp.
To put it frankly, there were just too many mistakes against the Seahawks for Dallas to overcome. There were blown coverages on defense, terrible defensive penalties, bad play calling on offense, and special teams errors galore that cost the Cowboys points.
The Cowboys were without two of their best corners with Chidobe Auwuzie and Anthony Brown sidelined, but that’s no excuse for leaving Seahawks receivers running free. Tyler Lockett was inexplicably wide open on all three of his touchdowns. Seahawk TE Jacob Hollister didn’t have a defender in his zip code during his score, either.
It got so bad that Seattle receiver D.K. Metcalf would have had an easy six points if rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs hadn't made up for his blown coverage by punching the ball out of Metcalf’s hands before he crossed the goal line for another score.
One or two mix-ups can be explained – especially with the secondary dipping deep into the reserves – but the gaggle of miscues in coverage suggests a larger issue for the Dallas defense.
They just don’t have the players or the ability to perform at a high level currently and that’s a lethal proposition against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in Seattle.
Dallas also doesn't appear to have the discipline necessary to win games consistently. On one Seahawks drive that ultimately resulted in a touchdown, the Cowboys had three penalties that kept the drive going.
On another, there was a third-down penalty that led to score.
The calls might have been questionable at best, but the lack of self-control remains astounding. Jourdan Lewis was the culprit on two of the penalties and has had difficulty avoiding flags thus far.
Those 14 points were scored because the defense didn’t have the discipline to play it straight and those 14 points were the difference between a signature victory and a 1-2 reality.
Add those points to the four points that the Cowboys lost on special teams and it’s clear to see why they couldn’t dig themselves out of a hole this week.
No one can possibly explain why returner Tony Pollard decided to try to run a kick out from a few yards in the end zone. His comeuppance for a poor choice came immediately as he fumbled the ball and recovered on the half-yard line.
The result of that poor decision was a safety on the next play.
Dallas wasn’t done handing points away on special teams, either.
Kicker Greg Zuerlein missed on two extra point attempts, which were points that the Cowboys chased for the remainder of the game. Poor special teams are once again bogging down Dallas even though they made personnel changes and hired a new coach for the unit.
Even after all of those mistakes, the Cowboys weren’t done giving the game away.
Quarterback Dak Prescott’s interception just before halftime and his fumble to begin the second half allowed the Seahawks to score touchdowns on both possessions. Instead of the Cowboys double-dipping with scores on both sides of the half, they gave up 14 points instead.
Seattle’s QB Wilson didn’t need the extra help with his torrid start to the season, but the Cowboys were in a giving mood again.
And yet, just like last week and the one before, the Cowboys were in position to win the game.
An otherwise superb effort from Prescott and the intermediate passing game gave the team a chance. Unlike last week, the Cowboys couldn’t take advantage of the reprieve.
Ultimately, it was a curious sequence of play calls that doomed the Cowboys. Down 30-28 with the minutes dwindling in the fourth quarter.
Dallas was driving with ease against a decimated Seahawks defense before offensive coordinator Kellen Moore called for a wide receiver screen to CeeDee Lamb and two jump balls that weren’t close to being completed from just outside the red zone.
Instead of sticking to attacking the middle of the field, an area that Dallas had feasted upon all game, the three plays that were run got the Cowboys nowhere and they settled for three points.
The difference between a touchdown and the field goal allowed Seattle their own chance to drive the field and go up a score.
Overall it was another sloppy game where the Cowboys got down early and were forced to play catch-up. That’s not a way to live in the NFL.
It didn’t work for Jason Garrett and it isn’t working for Mike McCarthy. We’re three weeks into the season and the Dallas Cowboys have a lot to clean up before they can be considered a good football team.
Do you think the Cowboys will be able to get out of their own way long enough to reverse course this season? Share your thoughts with Ben Grimaldi on Twitter @BenGrimaldi.