72F CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
The Dallas Cowboys have had plenty of preparation time for their shot to open with two straight victories for the first time in four seasons.
Looking to build on a strong season-opening performance against the reigning Super Bowl champions, the visiting Cowboys expect another difficult challenge when they try for a fourth straight victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Dallas made an early statement with its 24-17 road win over the New York Giants on Sept. 5. Tony Romo was 22 of 29 for 307 yards with three touchdowns, DeMarco Murray ran 20 times for 131 yards and third receiver Kevin Ogletree had eight receptions for 114 and two TDs.
The Cowboys, who missed the playoffs the last two seasons, also held Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning to 213 yards with a touchdown and the Giants offense to 269 total yards.
"We have a chance to have good things happen every week. But the teams we play are good, too," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "I thought each of the guys understood what we tried to get across. And they just went out and did their job, over and over again."
Come kickoff Sunday, the Cowboys will have had 10 days between games to rest and fine-tune their attempt to go 2-0 for the first time since 2008. That also was the last year they won their first two road contests.
"It's always a challenge to move on," Garrett said. "But we continue to preach it. It's a good philosophy for football players and it's a good philosophy for life. We're focused on Seattle."
Though the Cowboys have outscored the Seahawks 95-39 while winning the last three regular season meetings, this will be Dallas' first trip to Seattle since Romo dropped the snap on a potential game-winning field goal during a 21-20 NFC wild-card playoff loss Jan. 6, 2007. Including that defeat, the Cowboys have lost two straight at Seattle dating to a 43-39 win Dec. 6, 2004.
Romo, however, has posted a 106.4 passer rating while throwing for 1,055 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception in four starts against the Seahawks. He was 19 of 31 for 279 yards and two TDs during Dallas' 23-13 win over Seattle on Nov. 6.
Romo's 111.2 regular-season rating against the Seahawks is the highest by any quarterback versus Seattle with a minimum of 100 attempts.
Murray gained 139 yards on 22 carries in last season's meeting.
Though the Seahawks have won eight of nine home openers, they went 4-4 at CenturyLink Field in 2011. They look to bounce back after falling 20-16 at Arizona last Sunday.
Seattle ran 39 of its 70 plays in Arizona territory but managed three field goals and a 10-yard TD pass from rookie Russell Wilson to Sidney Rice . Wilson was sacked three times and the Seahawks committed 13 penalties after setting a franchise record with 138 last season.
"That's not us, not the way we want to be, not what we're intending," coach Pete Carroll said.
Seattle had 1st and goal on the Cardinals' 6-yard line in the final seconds but Wilson threw three straight incompletions.
"Hopefully, we will grow and find that way to make that last catch, throw, make that last block, stop," Carroll said.
Wilson, who beat out free-agent pickup Matt Flynn for the starting job, was 18 of 34 for 153 yards with that TD and an interception. He also ran eight times for 20 yards. That versatility is something the Cowboys know they must be ready to contain.
"He's a rookie quarterback but he has a lot of savvy," Dallas cornerback Brandon Carr said. "Just looking at film, you couldn't tell he's a rookie."
Despite a sore back, Seattle's Marshawn Lynch rushed 21 times for 85 yards in the opener. He had 135 with a touchdown on 23 carries at Dallas last season.