By JAIME ARON
There was a drive that fizzled 2 yards from the end zone, followed immediately by a drive that fizzled inside the 1. Both drew loud boos, yet at least the Dallas Cowboys got field goals each time.
All they got on the next series was a lost fumble inside the 1.
As inefficient as the start was, Tony Romo and the Cowboys managed to keep frustration from bogging them down. Romo threw for a pair of touchdowns in the second half and the defense was solid throughout, lifting Dallas to a 23-13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
“You just keep attacking,” Romo said.
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.”
The Seahawks were within 13-6 and driving when Tarvaris Jackson threw interceptions on consecutive passes. The Cowboys turned those into 10 points and the game was never close again.
“I feel very sick about how I played today,” said Jackson, who 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 away by Philadelphia and that was missing linebacker Sean Lee, its leader in tackles and interceptions, and starting cornerback Mike Jenkins.
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.”
On the Cowboys’ second drive, Romo led them from their own 2 to a third-and-goal from the Seattle 5. He didn’t see anyone open so he ran toward the end zone. When he realized he was going to be tackled shy of the goal line, he slid down at the 2, playing it safe with a chip-shot field goal. Fans who’ve wanted him to take fewer risks booed anyway.
“I obviously would’ve dived for the end zone if there was any chance,” said Romo, who played without a painkilling shot for the first time since breaking a rib in Week 2.
Dallas’ next series went 86 yards to a first-and-goal from inside the 1. Two incompletions and a failed running play led to another field goal and more jeers.
The Cowboys looked like they were going to finally crack the end zone at the end of a reception by Dez Bryant. But as he was fighting for the final few inches, a defender he never saw coming hit him hard enough to pry the ball loose. The Seahawks recovered and the game wound up being tied at 6 at halftime.
Romo hit a wide-open Witten for a 33-yard touchdown early in the third quarter. After Jackson’s first interception, Romo found Laurent Robinson for a touchdown on a third-and-goal from the 6. Romo scrambled around on that play and seemed ready to start running again when he pulled up and hit Robinson running alone across the back of the end zone.
Bryant had four catches for 76 yards, and Witten caught four for 71. 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 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.
Notes: This was Garrett’s 16th game in charge, the equivalent of a full season. Dallas is 9-7 in the span. … Cowboys DE Jason Hatcher got his first career interception, and it was a doozie. One lineman swatted it off the arm of a linebacker before he caught it. … On punt coverage, Seattle CB Byron Maxwell was flagged twice for going out of bounds and failing to return quickly enough. … At halftime, former Dallas stars Drew Pearson, Larry Allen and Charles Haley were inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor, with Hall of Famers Roger Staubach, Emmitt Smith, Tony Dorsett, Mel Renfro and Rayfield Wright among the previous Ring members taking part in the ceremony.
Tags: Romo's 2 TD passes lift Cowboys by Seahawks 23-13