Romo can't redeem self in return to Seattle

BY foxsports • September 16, 2012

SEATTLE (AP) -- Tony Romo returned to the scene of his famous bobble that still remains a chapter in his career as the quarterback in Dallas.

The Cowboys' performance Sunday provided little closure for Romo.

"You look out there today and I can literally think of 10 things that you can't do that and win football games and we had them all in one game," Romo said. "That's tough to overcome."

Marshawn Lynch ran for 122 yards and a 3-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, Seattle's special teams came up with two huge first-quarter plays that led to 10 points, and the Seahawks beat the Cowboys 27-7 on Sunday.

Michael Robinson forced Felix Jones to fumble on the opening kickoff that led to a short field goal, and Malcolm Smith blocked Chris Jones' punt which Jeron Johnson returned for a touchdown to give Seattle (1-1) a 10-0 lead in less than 5 minutes.

Romo finished 23 of 40 for 251 yards and threw a 22-yard TD to Miles Austin in the second quarter, but was able to direct only one scoring drive despite having extra time to prepare for the Seahawks. Dallas was trying to open the season with consecutive wins for the first time since 2008, but now heads home to face Tampa Bay wondering if they're more like the team that knocked off the New York Giants in the season opener or the one that flopped in Seattle.

"I know this, in everything about playing football they were better than we were today," Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones said. "Every aspect of it. So we can call it whatever you want to call it, but they were better than we were today, all the way."

Romo was trying to put in the past the demons of his last visit to Seattle -- the 2006 NFC wild-card game where Romo bobbled the snap of a potential winning field goal in the final minutes, then was tripped up on his way to the end zone short of the winning score. For all the victories Romo has earned for the Cowboys since, that bobble remains a defining moment in his career.

Dallas' early special teams meltdown didn't help Romo in erasing those memories, but he was guilty of mistakes himself. Down 10-0, the Cowboys drove to the Seattle 24, only to see Romo make a rushed decision to throw into traffic where his pass was intercepted by Brandon Browner. Romo nearly had two other passes intercepted and never was able to mount a drive of longer than 45 yards in the second or third quarters as Seattle took control.

Dallas had 112 total yards in the first quarter and just 184 over the final three quarters -- 51 of those coming in the final minute of the game. DeMarco Murray, who ran for 139 yards last year against the Seahawks, was held to 44 yards on 12 carries and was mostly a non-factor.

Kevin Ogletree, the star of the season opener with two touchdown catches against the Giants, had one reception.

"We didn't play real cleanly on offense. We had some drops and some opportunities and some opportunities to make the big plays and we didn't convert them," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said.

Dallas found itself in a quick hole thanks to special teams mistakes. Jones' fumble was recovered by Earl Thomas at the Dallas 29. The Seahawks drove to the 3, but Wilson's third down pass for Sidney Rice was nearly intercepted by Bruce Carter and Seattle settled for the first of two short field goals from Hauschka.

Dallas went three-and-out on its first possession with the drive stalling after Witten dropped a third down pass. The Cowboys' punt barely left Jones' foot as Smith reached out with his right hand to block the kick, which one-hopped perfectly into the hands Johnson, who strolled in for the Seahawks second blocked punt return for a touchdown in their last six games dating to last season.

"For us to put together that kind of a game and finish in the second half so aggressive and so tough, I'm really proud of it," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "That is the way we'd like to do it."

The Cowboys also failed to take advantage of Seattle's overhauled offensive line. The Seahawks were without left tackle Russell Okung, but DeMarcus Ware was held without a sack and only once got to Seattle rookie QB Russell Wilson.

"We didn't tackle like we should, we didn't create the big plays and get enough pressure on the quarterback like we should have," Ware said.

Wilson was 15 of 20 passing for a 151 yards and a 22-yard TD pass to Anthony McCoy. Wilson was 6 of 8 in the second half, and had a passer rating of 112.7. Steven Hauschka kicked field goals of 21 and 25 yards for the Seahawks.

Seattle also dominated possession running 38 second-half plays to just 19 for the Cowboys. And as a final blow, Seattle was clearly the more physical squad, highlighted by Golden Tate's crushing block on Dallas linebacker Sean Lee that didn't draw a flag but may draw a fine.

Still the point was made about which side was doing the hitting.

"You want to physically dominate them. In this game, we certainly didn't do that," Garrett said.

NOTES: The punt block for a touchdown was the first allowed by Dallas since Sept. 11, 2011, against the New York Jets. ... Both Seattle and Dallas had five penalties after each was flagged 13 times in Week 1. ... Dallas had one drive of more than 10 plays. Seattle had four.