I played golf on Saturday at a local course called Tour 18 Dallas, with every hole set up like famous holes on the PGA tour, included Amen Corner and the island hole at TPC Sawgrass.
It was a fun course, although a little soggy because of the storms they had here earlier this week.
But the main reason I bring this up is because of the two, local guys Everett Herald writer John Boyle and I were paired up with for the last, few holes. They were not Tony Romo fans. They had played golf with him a couple times, and in fact used colorful language that I can’t repeat here to express their displeasure with him as a person.
One of the local golfers said that anybody should be able to complete a pass down field when they have eight seconds to throw, referring to the excellent pass protection Romo receives on most plays. Well, Romo has been sacked 11 times this year, including five times in a 17-10 loss to Denver, so teams have been able to get to him.
Which leads to my first key of the game:
Pressure the passer: The Cowboys receivers are too good for Seattle to sit back in a two-deep zone and let Romo have all day to throw. They will need to get consistent pressure on the passer, both in standard, four-man pressure and blitz packages, in order to keep the Dallas offense off balance.
Create turnovers: The Seahawks likely need at least two takeaways to have a chance here. Seattle is tied for 20th at -2 in the league in turnover ratio, and only has three picks on the season. They need to create some big plays on defense today to make it easier for the offense to score. And having Marcus Trufant and Leroy Hill back defensively should help.
Start fast: Seattle is 2-8 on the road in its last 10 games for a reason – they’ve been outscored by an average of 17-8 in those games. The Seahawks need to strike first and get on the scoreboard early to have a chance here. The Seahawks are 22-11 when scoring first and 16-21 when they trail dating back to 2005.
Run the ball: This has been a constant in terms of keys to the game each week, but I think it’s even more important on the road. Julius Jones needs to have a decent game today. He laid an egg here last year on Thanksgiving, finishing with 36 yards on 11 carries and two fumbles, losing one. In the last three games Jones has totaled 64 yards, averaging a woeful 2.3 yards per carry.
Columnist Dave Boling of the TNT provides a bit of history on Seattle’s past performances in Dallas, and it isn’t pretty.
My story today discusses the possible, final meeting between Tacoma natives Lawyer Milloy and QB Jon Kitna, now backing up Tony Romo in Dallas, as both of their careers wind down.
The pick ‘em challenge is still going on, which you check out here. Kurtabarnes leads the overall standings with 78 picks correct. I forgot to put my picks in last week, but I went 8-5 in my picks for the paper, so that would puts me at 71 correct.
Greg Johns of Seattlepi.com likes Dallas in this one, 34-17.
More Johns: Among the juggling on the offensive line, two constants have been right guard Max Unger and right tackle Ray Willis.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald profiles middle linebacker David Hawthorne.
A pre-game report on the game from Seahawks.com
Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News provides some keys to the game here.
Bill Nichols of the Dallas Morning News profiles overnight sensation Miles Austin.
ESPN’s John Clayton talks to Todd Archer about today’s game in this audio link. The conversation starts about halfway in.