Relative to last week, Greg Hardy was as polite and humble as Mr. Rogers and as willing to converse as a talk show host Sunday afternoon, even in the aftermath of the Dallas Cowboys’ fifth consecutive loss.
Hardy was in a much better mood than a week ago when his “passion” manifested itself in a confrontation with the special teams coach on the sideline, which later spilled over into the locker room where he had “no comment” to share with reporters.
The mood swing was likely fueled by his first career interception, which came late in the third quarter and kept his team in a game they eventually lost 13-12 to Seattle. It was the highlight Sunday for a defense that has lacked takeaways this season.
But the defense was also unable to get to Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who has been under siege all season. Seattle’s porous offensive line has allowed a league-leading 31 sacks.
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The Cowboys defense, though, had no sacks Sunday and was unable to get off the field during Seattle’s 17-play, game-winning drive that included three third-down conversions and ended with Steven Hauschka’s 24-yard field goal with 1:06 to go.
“I have confidence in my teammates and coaches ... in all the people in the organization,” Hardy said. “When you have that type of confidence and faith in the system, you just know [victory] will eventually come through. A collective effort always comes through.”
Hardy’s pick was the first of three potential game-changing plays.
David Irving’s block of Hauschka’s 47-yard attempt preserved the Cowboys’ 12-10 lead early in the fourth quarter. On Seattle’s decisive drive, Byron Jones and DeMarcus Lawrence saved the Cowboys about 40 seconds for a potential game-winning drive by knocking Marshawn Lynch out of bounds inside the 15.
Hardy’s interception set up the Cowboys at the Seattle 16, but Dallas had to settle for Dan Bailey’s fourth field goal of the game and a 12-10 lead.
The interception was only the Cowboys’ third this season and NFL-worst fourth turnover overall.
“It was a huge play in the game,” said Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee. “It gave us the lead. It’s a play we have to continue to make. We are playing well in a lot of situations. We have to get more turnovers.”
Lee also said the defense has to play better down the stretch.
After holding Seattle to 2-for-8 on third down, the Cowboys gave up three conversions on the final drive.
“We knew that was coming,” Hardy said of the Seahawks’ determined drive. “We have to do better with adjustments. That’s what they do. Great offensive coaches, great offensive players. They execute the game plan, make adjustments and win.”
Hardy left for several plays after twisting his ankle, but he was examined and returned.
“They had a lot of stuff going on that last drive,” Hardy said. “They extended it very well. The best team won. They wanted it more. We have to come back with the same intensity and that same effort they had — times 100.
“We’re a resilient team. We’ll come back to work on Tuesday and keep fighting. We have a bunch of good guys.”