IRVING, Texas -- While the game lacked the hype of last week's Monday night battle against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys were just as eager going into yesterday's game against Seattle -- and that eagerness proved unfortunate for the Seahawks.
The Cowboys, embarrassed by their 31-7 loss to the Eagles, took out their frustration by holding the Seahawks to 62 yards of total offense on the way to a 27-0 win that gave the team a share of the lead in the NFC East. That broke a team record set in 1965, when Dallas allowed 63 yards to the Green Bay Packers.
Seattle was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, as the team was limited to 17 yards of total offense in the second half against the fired-up Cowboys (4-1). Seattle quarterbacks Dan McGwire and Stan Gelbaugh were sacked seven times and combined to complete eight of 19 passes for 79 yards.
"I don't think since I've been here we've ever had a game where we dominated someone like that," said defensive end Jim Jeffcoat, a 10-year veteran and one of five Cowboys to record sacks. "Guys were just working hard. We had pressure on [Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham] last week, but we were up against a less-mobile quarterback and took advantage of it."
The shutout was the first for the Cowboys since 1981 when they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 38-0, in the playoffs, and the first regular-season shutout since 1978, when they opened the season with a 38-0 win over the Baltimore Colts.
"The shutout was real important after the defeat we took from Philadelphia," said Dallas linebacker Robert Jones, who had one sack and a team-leading six tackles. "We had to come back and show people that was just one game and we can do better."
It was a costly game for Seattle, which lost a quarterback for the second time in two weeks. McGwire, replacing Kelly Stouffer, who was injured last week, suffered a shoulder contusion and an injured groin after he was sacked by Jones (McGwire -- the brother of Oakland A's slugger Mark McGwire -- was sacked four times) on Seattle's first drive of the second half. McGwire's day began to unravel on the third play of the game when his fumble led to the first of Emmitt Smith's two touchdowns that helped Dallas to a 20-0 halftime lead.
Gelbaugh, a fifth-year quarterback out of Maryland, replaced McGwire but was unable to rev up a Seattle offense that was held to 10 or fewer points for the fifth time.
"I know when a team is way ahead and a new guy comes in the game, they're gonna tee off on him," Gelbaugh said. "That's what Dallas did to me. They didn't really do anything different, but they did play hard from beginning to end."
With the exception of an interception that led to a missed 33-yard field goal, Seattle never crossed the 50 in the second half.
"I'm very pleased with our defensive performance," said Dallas coach Jimmy Johnson. "We put a lot of pressure on their quarterbacks, and the gamble worked. Now we have to get ready for Kansas City."