IRVING -- The Dallas Cowboys will defend themselves against allegations they didn't play with enough passion, emotion and enthusiasm, catchphrases of Jason Garrett's. They maintained that they were prepared, well prepared after a 10-day break between games.
They even take offense to questions about the Seahawks being more physical in Seattle's 27-7 victory Sunday.
It was, they say to a man, simply a lack of execution as they got whipped in all three phases.
"Hey, look, I'm not here to convince y'all or anybody else what this football team is going to be," Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said Monday. "I believe we've got the guys that are going to do it. Ultimately, we laid an egg. We didn't do it.
"... We're worried about executing and winning ballgames. That's where the focus is for us. I think it should be clear to you guys that it's not about: Were they up? Were they not? We got our [tails] beat. That's where our focus is: How we bounce back from that. You've got to execute. You've got to play winning football."
On the heels of their 24-17 victory over the New York Giants, the 2012 Cowboys were expected to be the first Jerry Jones-owned team to start the season with two consecutive victories on the road. Though the Cowboys might be better than the Seahawks on paper -- they were favored by 31/2 points -- they didn't play like it.
Dallas fell behind 10-0 only 4:37 into the game as Felix Jones fumbled away the opening kickoff and the Seahawks blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown.
"I think the stuff that happened early on in the ballgame really challenged us, because we were playing from behind in bad situations," Garrett said. "I thought the defense did an outstanding job in the first half keeping them out of the end zone, getting some stops after some adverse situations.
"We were behind the chains, so to speak, through the game, and we battled back, I thought, really well. But as that game wore on, they did the things necessary, and we didn't, and we have to address that, and we've got to fix that."
The Cowboys trailed only 13-7 at the half, but the Seahawks wore down Dallas with running back Marshawn Lynch. Seattle had the ball for 38 plays in the second half, gaining 187 yards, including touchdown drives of 90 and 88 yards. The Cowboys had the ball for 19 plays and gained 85 second-half yards.
"We just got a little tired on defense," Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter said. "With that, our technique wasn't good. We didn't fire off the ball like we're supposed to. We didn't play Dallas Cowboys football like we know."
That's the challenge for this week and beyond: Figuring out what Dallas Cowboys football is and playing like it.
"We want to be a team that can go out there and win and be consistent every week," linebacker Sean Lee said. "That's the identity we're working toward -- a tough, relentless, hard-nosed football team that's going to be there. We didn't do that. We didn't execute, and that's why we lost."