There were a ton of fun reaction pieces to peruse in the wake of the Dallas Cowboys’ punishing win over the defending world champion Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. I typically use this space to break down Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett’s Monday press conference, but today I thought it might be fun to examine what his Seattle counterpart had to say publicly about the champs getting pushed around at home.
“Tony’s got magic about him. He always has.” – Seattle head coach Pete Carroll
One of Garrett’s well-worn mantras so far this season, in which he has led the consensus surprise team in the NFL to a league-best 5-1 start, is that it’s doesn’t matter who the Cowboys are playing: “This game is about us. It’s not about them. Every week it’s about us… We focus on what we can do to the best of our ability.”
So after looking at the film, how did the Cowboys do at doing what they do? Seattle head coach Pete Carroll was impressed:
"“Watching the game film really confirmed that Dallas played a really good football game. They got us in a day when they really executed, they functioned really well – like they have been – and we weren’t able to do enough about it to stop them. They ran the ball kinda like they like to, they threw the ball well, and they probably played one of their better defensive games, too.”"
“They ran the ball kinda like they like to.” That’s because it wasn’t about you, Pete, or your fine team, or your loud stadium. It was about the Cowboys, and what they want to do. Power met power. Strength met strength. Seattle gave up the fewest yards-per-rush in the league; the Cowboys had run for more yards than anyone. The Seattle defense was at home with a 12th man; the Dallas offense was on a silent count. None of it mattered, because Dallas wanted to run the ball. So they ran it.
This press conference is about 16 minutes long, and you have to sift through some Seattle injury news to get to the meat about the Cowboys, but it sure is fun. There were two sections that, if you watch them, can give you some idea of how frustrating it must be to root for a team that is playing against Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
"“With 4:55 left, we’ve got them third-and-20 and we need to stop them and run the clock out and win the game. We were up 23-20 at the time, and, boy, we really had ‘em. And Tony Romo came up with a great play and a great throw and they make a great catch, and get a first down – and bang, bang, they’re down there scoring.”"
Carroll is referring to the vintage Romo play during the game’s winning drive late in the fourth quarter. On third-and-20 from his own 31-yard line, Romo spun to elude the rush, kept his eyes downfield, pointed where he wanted wide receiver Terrance Williams to go, then hit him for a 23-yard gain and a first down. Williams’ toe-dragging catch was challenged by Carroll and confirmed by replay. Three DeMarco Murray hand offs and 46 yards later, the Cowboys hit paydirt.
Carroll almost winces a little as he remembers it. Later, he talks about the play some more:
"“They’re the best third-down team in the league, and they were it again. We weren’t able to get them out of that rhythm. I think that we would have had an OK day at the start of it, if we would have converted on the third-and-20… We’ve been great in those situations. We’ve given up very few conversions in third-and-long like that… But, you know, Tony’s really good at it and we were, we were on the verge of having an OK game, but we didn’t quite get it done.”"
The day before in his post-game press conference, Carroll was less frustrated and more effusive in his praise:
"“It looked just like what happened at Houston. I didn’t see clearly how (Romo) escaped, but we saw how he beat one of the top players in football a week ago. He makes a great throw and catch and put them in the scoring zone and everything goes their way from there. I thought that was the same play, in a sense, in this game. It was that significant. We had played things well, we had rushed him and flushed him out, you know? Tony’s got magic about him. He always has. And he pulled it out right then and made an incredibly good play.”"
Having had time to watch the play on tape from all the requisite angles and all the necessary stops and forwards and backs, and looking at what this guy was doing and why that guy was open and so on and so forth, you can almost see Carroll’s toes curling in his shoes as he talks about it. No wonder so many people hate Tony Romo – it’s gotta be nerve-wracking to watch your team play against him.