Forget whatever you thought about the Dallas Cowboys.
Your previous opinions about the Cowboys not being mentally tough and failing when it mattered most have been rendered invalid.
It’s time to open your mind to a new future for the Cowboys where anything is possible.
Maybe even “super.’
What else can it be after the Cowboys shocked the NFL with an eye-opening 30-23 victory against the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on Sunday?
The Cowboys (5-1) went to Seattle, everybody’s pick to repeat as champions, and dominated the game, largely from start to finish.
The close score was more indicative of the litany of mistakes the Cowboys, including a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown and a fumbled punt that resulted in a touchdown and a fumbled snap that Seattle (3-2) turned into a field goal.
Add that to the 19-1 home record Seattle had since the start of the 2012 and what the Cowboys accomplished was even more impressive, while validating their legitimacy as a bonafide Super Bowl contender in 2014.
Owner Jerry Jones compared the victory to the one against the Washington Redskins in the early 1990s that helped juice the momentum for the run to Super Bowl titles in 1992, 1993 and 1995.
“The way we won this game, to have done it against a great team in a really, really adverse situation in this stadium, and everyone knows that, and then to handle adversity against a great team in this condition, is a big plus for these guys,” Jones said.
“It’s like sitting in a room that’s full of lighter fluid. It just takes something to flip the match over in it. This could do it. They can build off this.”
Coach Jason Garrett entered the season as a coach on the hot seat after four consecutive seasons out of the playoffs and is now in the running for coach of the year.
“I really will tell you, this is a Jason Garrett win for Jerry Jones,” Jones said. “Certainly yes, this is probably Jason Garrett’s finest hour as a Cowboy.”
The Cowboys beat up Seattle, the league’s best defense, with 401 yards offense, including 162 on the ground. Running back DeMarcus Murray tied Hall of Famer Jim Brown with his sixth consecutive 100-yard game, rushing 29 times for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Dallas dominated time of possession by more than 15 minutes, 37:39 to 22:21.
Quarterback Russell Wilson completed just 14 of 28 passes for 126 yards before being intercepted by linebacker Rolando McClain to seal the victory.
Bruising running back Marshawn Lynch had 61 yards, but 32 came on one carry. Game-breaking receiver Percy Harvin rushed for minus-1 yard on three carries and had three catches for 3 yards.
Take away the 17 points off turnovers and miscues and the Seahawks earned six points.
“We are not going to back down from anybody,” cornerback Orlando Scandrick said. “We stood up on defense. They got 17 points off of turnovers. There was no watching, there was playing. That is the team we are. We are going to run it at you and we are going to be physical. There is no exposing, man, we are just good. Both teams have talent. We are good.”
The Cowboys want to be physical, they want to be resilient and they want to be mentally tough. They were all that against the Seahawks.
“This is kind of team we want to be,” Garrett said. “We feel good about it. When you play this style of football, it allows you to go on the road in tough environments and have some success.”
“One of the things we had to do in this game was quiet them down. Quiet their defense. Quiet their crowd down. The best way to do that is run the ball at them. Have some success doing it, mix run and pass and control the line of scrimmage and control the game and we did that. That allowed us overcome some of the bad things that did happen.”
Murray and the Cowboys set the tone on the ground and quarterback Tony Romo and the receivers made plays on the outside.
The Cowboys converted 10 of 17 third-down chances.
Romo let the Seahawks know the Cowboys came to play in the first quarter when he was rocked by linebacker Bobby Wagner, casting a pall on the Cowboys’ sideline. Romo, who is still recovering from December back surgery, stayed on the ground for a while before heading to the sideline with bruised ribs.
The blocked punt returned for a touchdown came on the next play, and the Seahawks led 10-0 when Romo returned to the field.
He immediately directed a nine-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 2-yard pass to tight end Gavin Escobar.
Romo completed 21 of 32 passes for 250 yards. He also had a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten.
The biggest pass of the game was a 23-yarder to Terrance Williams on third-and-20. Romo bought time by escaping a couple of defenders to hit Williams, who made a textbook, toe-tapping catch on the sideline.
Murray gashed the reeling Seahawks defense with runs of 25 and 6 yards to the end zone and a 27-23 lead with 3:16 left in the game.
“Obviously that was a big win,” Romo said. “That’s an outstanding football team we just played and they’re good everywhere. I think just for the mindset going in we kind of take the approach of just playing each opponent, we say nameless, faceless and just go out and do you job and you just do that.
“I was proud of the guys for just really putting their heads down and doing their job and you’ve got to make a couple of plays when you have to beat a team like that and I thought our team did that.”
Romo enjoyed the win as much as any of his teammates but echoed Garrett in saying it’s no longer about the other teams. It’s about the Cowboys. That’s the statement he cares about. That’s the real legitimacy the Cowboys gained in Seattle.
The Cowboys, who remain tied atop the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles, return home against the New York Giants on Sunday looking for their sixth straight win.