The final score said 30-23, but the gut feeling among fans and analysts watching around the county said domination.
The fact that it happened in Seattle made it all the more stunning.
“There’s no doubt,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram Cowboys beat writer Clarence Hill said on Ferrall on the Bench. “The Cowboys dominated the game. That was as complete a domination as you can get in a seven-point game. It wasn’t as close as the score considering that the Cowboys gave them 17 points.”
Indeed, pick a stat – any stat – and you’ll find that the Cowboys either won it or dominated it. Let’s go down the line: first downs (23-9, Dallas), passing first downs (13-5, Dallas), rushing first downs (6-3, Dallas), third-down efficiency (10-for-17 versus 5-for-13, Dallas), total plays (70-48, Dallas), total yards (401-206, Dallas), passing yards (239-126, Dallas), rushing yards (162-80, Dallas) and yards per play (5.7 to 4.3, Dallas).
The Cowboys also dominated time of possession, holding the ball for nearly 38 minutes. They also committed fewer penalties (six to nine) and were more efficient in the red zone (3-for-4 versus 1-for-3).
The only thing Seattle won was the first quarter, using a blocked punt for a touchdown to go up 10-0. After that, Dallas dominated – and it all started upfront with the offensive line.
“It’s been a slow process, but Jason Garrett’s first pick as a head coach (in 2011 was) Tyron Smith, the left tackle,” Hill said. “He made a point to rebuild through the offensive line. It took them a while. They struggled. But they took Tyron Smith over J.J. Watt. J.J. Watt went to the Texans two picks later at No. 11. It spoke volumes about what the Cowboys wanted to do and what they were trying to do upfront.”
Dallas then took Wisconsin center-guard Travis Frederick in 2013 and Notre Dame tackle Zack Martin in 2014 – even though ticket-seller Johnny Manziel was available.
“If Jerry Jones had his way, they would have taken Johnny Football,” Hill said. “But because of Jason Garrett and people in the front office and their philosophy and how they wanted to build this team, they took Zack Martin. They added to what was already there, and they now have the best offensive line (in the league).”
The Cowboys’ other key linemen include undrafted left guard Ronald Leary, who joined Dallas in 2012, and right tackle Doug Free, a fourth-round pick in 2007.
Together, that unit has paved the way for the No. 1 rushing attack in football. The Cowboys are averaging a league-best 160.3 rushing yards per game, and DeMarco Murray has a league-high 785 rushing yards. Only two other running backs have even 500 yards (Le’Veon Bell and Arian Foster), and none has 550.
The Cowboys (5-1) have now won five straight games for the first time since 2007 and are tied with Philadelphia and San Diego for the best record in football.
And if this past Sunday is any indication, they show no signs of slowing down, either.
“They physically imposed themselves on that Seattle defense,” Hill said. “That doesn’t happen.”