Rested Seattle awaits team on a roll
IRVING, Texas -- Now comes the hard part for the Dallas Cowboys: building on their winning ways.
The Cowboys earned a few things with Sunday's convincing 37-21 victory over the Atlanta Falcons at Cowboys Stadium. The New York Giants lost, moving the Cowboys within a half-game of first place in the NFC East behind the defending division champs.
In a span of two weeks, the Cowboys have stabilized themselves within the division.
Yes, life is good right now, but here comes Seattle at 2-4 and coming off a bye week.
"You only ride it for a couple of days and the next day." inside linebacker Bradie James said of the win. "All the naysayers can say whatever, but we beat a winning team and now we're rolling."
Several Cowboys players and coaches expressed that the team played its most complete game of the season Sunday at Cowboys Stadium.
There was the offense, led by wide receiver Miles Austin's six receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Tony Romo threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns. It's the third time this season Romo has thrown for more than 300 yards. It also marked the second consecutive game he has avoided throwing an interception.
When the game was over, Barber had rushed for 47 yards on 14 carries and Jones had gained 37 yards on eight carries.
Now, the Cowboys must continue to build on their offensive outburst against Seattle, which is 12th in total defense.
"It's always important," coordinator Jason Garrett said regarding improving his offense. "We've got to keep building. We're going to look at this tape, and there's going to be 100 things that we've got to correct. That's part of it, and our players understand that the thing that's a real positive is they come to work and they understand that they see it on tape, and say, 'Hey, we've got to get better at it.'"
On defense, the Cowboys had one of their best games.
Dallas tied season highs in sacks (four) and interceptions (two) and was credited with three quarterback hits and seven passes defended.
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, who had been sacked only twice coming into Sunday's game, was rattled for most of the day.
Seattle's offense is one of the worst in the league, ranking 28th as a rushing attack and 23rd overall.
Beating Seattle would build on the two-game win streak the Cowboys have and complete a goal of sweeping this brief two-game homestand before consecutive weeks at Philadelphia and Green Bay.
Getting close to their division rivals and beating quality NFC teams help build confidence, and might also improve a team's status should a playoff tiebreaker be needed.
"It's good to be in a good position," defensive end Marcus Spears said. "But at the end of the day, you've got to put more wins together and be a solid team throughout the whole season in order to be where you want to be."
Calvin Watkins covers the Dallas Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.