Cowboys avoid frustrations, beat Seahawks 23-13
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett preaches to players all the time about controlling their emotions. For instance, he tells them to avoid getting frustrated about something that's already gone wrong, even if it's gone wrong, say, three times in a row.
''We talk about just playing,'' Garrett said. ''You've just got to keep banging away, keep swinging and keep going.''
Against Seattle on Sunday, in the game that capped the equivalent of Garrett's first full season in charge, Tony Romo and his teammates kept banging all right. Dallas shook off three straight drives that got within 2 yards of the end zone but failed to yield a single touchdown and pulled out a 23-13 victory over the slumping Seahawks.
Romo was booed when those first two series field to reach the end zone, even though the Cowboys at least got short fields out of those drives. They didn't get anything for Dez Bryant fumbling after taking a bruising, blindsided hit just before the goal line.
Tied at 6 at halftime, Dallas broke the game open with a touchdown then 10 more points set up by consecutive interceptions of Seattle's Tarvaris Jackson.
''Frustration isn't a great word because you try to get rid of it from your psyche,'' said Romo, who's been hearing such things from Garrett for five seasons. ''You have to trust the people around you are going to do a good job. ... You just keep attacking.''
The Cowboys (4-4) bounced back from a flop in Philadelphia and ended a skid of three losses in four games. Now they're hoping this victory can start a midseason surge. Three of their next four foes have losing records, and they'll come out of that potentially momentum-building run with two games still to play against the division-leading Giants.
''You can't just hover around .500,'' tight end Jason Witten said. ''You need to make a run and make a push to stay in the hunt.''
The biggest building block is the chance for a balanced offense. While Romo was 19 of 31 for 279 yards, rookie DeMarco Murray turned 22 carries into 139 yards. He also caught four passes for 47 yards.
Murray has proven that his 253-yard performance in his first extended action was no fluke. Whenever Felix Jones returns from a high ankle sprain, he could find himself backing up the third-round pick from Oklahoma.
''I think he's shown us the last three weeks what kind of football player he is,'' coach Jason Garrett said. ''He's breaking tackles. That's hard to do in the NFL.''
Seattle (2-6) lost its third straight game. The Seahawks were hoping to get a boost from having Jackson and Marshawn Lynch start together for the first time since beating the Giants in New York, but they played down to their ranking as the NFL's second-worst offense. Their only touchdown came with 6:12 left.
''I'm really disappointed at where we are,'' coach Pete Carroll said. ''We thought we could be better. I don't know any other way to think. But it doesn't matter. Now it's about going back to it and see if we can put together games that give us a chance to get some momentum going.''
Jackson was 17 of 30 for 221 yards, with three interceptions, a week after throwing for the most yards in his career. He also was facing a Dallas defense that had been picked apart by Philadelphia and that was missing linebacker Sean Lee, its leader in tackles and interceptions, and starting cornerback Mike Jenkins.
''I feel very sick about how I played today,'' he said.
Bryant had four catches for 76 yards, and Jason Witten caught four for 71 and a touchdown. Laurent Robinson caught the other TD pass. Miles Austin caught two passes for 53 yards, but suffered a hamstring injury on his second catch and didn't return. He missed two games earlier this season with a left hamstring problem, and this time hurt his right hamstring.
Lynch ran for 135 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. It was his first 100-yard performance in the regular season since December 2008, when he was with Buffalo.
Dallas rookie Dan Bailey made three field goals, giving him 19 straight, the third-best streak in club history.