A look at the Seahawks’ Week 8 opponent
When: Sunday, 10 a.m., Cowboys Stadium
Record: 4-2 after Sunday’s 37-21 victory over the Atlanta Falcons
Where they rank: No. 2 on offense (4th rushing, 9th passing); No. 22 on defense (16th rushing, 22nd passing)
Series: Cowboys lead 7-4, including last year’s 34-9 victory in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day
Star power: Tony Romo. There are ample candidates on the Cowboys’ roster, since they had six Pro Bowl selections last season and 13 in 2007. But as their QB goes, so go the Cowboys. In their four victories, Romo has a passer rating of 120.3 (79 of 123 for 1,270 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions) – against teams with a combined record of 7-19. In their two losses, his rating is 40.4 (38 of 71 for 382 yards, one TD and four interceptions) – against teams that are a combined 11-2.
Unsung hero: Miles Austin. Unsung? That might be a bit strong, after he has just compiled the best two-game receiving totals in Cowboys history (16 receptions, 421 yards, four touchdowns). But undrafted? That definitely works. Miles made the team in 2006 as a free-agent rookie from Monmouth (N.J.) University. His totals the past two weeks exceed those from his first three seasons (18 for 354 and three TDs). His totals Sunday against the Falcons (6 for 171 yards and two TDs) exceeded those from the first four games this season (5 for 81 and one). Austin is big (6-3, 214), fast and apparently slick to the touch. How else do you explain the number of tackles he slips and that best-in-the-league 23.9-yard per-catch average?
On the spot: Roy Williams. He presents the flipside to the warmness and fuzziness that is Austin’s story. The Cowboys gave up a fortune in draft choices last year to acquire Williams from the Detroit Lions (four picks, including a first-rounder this year) and then a fortune of a contract extension to appease him (five years, $45 million). Sunday, Williams caught one of the five passes thrown to him for 16 yards. He’s now caught 12 of 30 for the season and is fifth on the team in receptions. Since joining the Cowboys last October, Williams has caught 31 passes for 428 yards and two TDs.
Burning question: Is any player worth a six-year, $78 million contract that includes $40 million in guarantees? The Cowboys believe DeMarcus Ware is, because they signed the pass-rushing linebacker to that deal on Monday. Ware had three of his league-leading 20 sacks last season against the Seahawks. After a slow start this season, Ware has four sacks in the past two games.
Familiar faces: FS Ken Hamlin was the Seahawks’ second-round draft choice in 2003 and started 52 games in four seasons before signing with the Cowboys in 2007. Backup QB Jon Kitna also played for the Seahawks (1997-2000), as well as at Central Washington University and Tacoma’s Lincoln High School.
The last word:
“Feeling good about each other, believing in each other, being accountable to each other, all those things you preach, they’re more solid when you’re winning. We’ve got to continue that.” – Cowboys coach Wade Phillips