Beware of Cowboys’ Ware

Posted: Tuesday, August 23, 2005

SEATTLE — Dallas Cowboys rookie Demarcus Ware looks ready to be an NFL linebacker.

In one half, Ware forced two fumbles, recovered one, had an interception, a sack and three tackles in Dallas’ 18-10 preseason victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night.

Jose Cortez was 3-for-3 on field goals, connecting from 44, 37 and 46 yards for Dallas (1-1).

A defensive end at Troy, Ware was the 11th pick in the draft and is making the switch to outside linebacker with the Cowboys, who are moving from a 4-3 to 3-4 defense.

He had two tackles last week against Arizona, but made an impact in just two minutes against Seattle (1-1).

On Seattle’s first possession, Ware beat Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson, stripped quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and fell on the fumble at the Seattle 33. Cortez then made his first field goal.

Late in the first quarter, Ware showed his ability in pass coverage. After Hasselbeck had connected with tight end Jerramy Stevens on consecutive plays, Ware dived in front of Stevens, corralling the interception.

The interception broke a string of 10 straight completions by Hasselbeck to start the game. Hasselbeck was 12-of-15 for 135 yards, but coach Mike Holmgren found fault with the first half.

‘‘We did some good things, but we were way too sloppy,’’ Holmgren said at halftime. ‘‘Give Dallas credit, they are playing fast on defense, and we’re not doing a great job on pass protecting.’’

Late in the first half, Ware made perhaps his most athletic play. With reserve quarterback Seneca Wallace scrambling out of the pocket toward open field, Ware dived and jarred the ball from Wallace’s right hand, knocking the fumble out of bounds.

Hasselbeck led one scoring drive for Seattle, completing six passes on the 80-yard march. He found second-year receiver D.J. Hackett in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard TD that gave Seattle a 7-3 lead.

Dallas quarterback Drew Bledsoe was 7-of-11 for 56 yards, playing into the second quarter. Julius Jones had 12 carries for 58 yards, 44 coming on Dallas’ lone touchdown drive of the half. Bledsoe threw an 11-yard TD pass to fullback Lousaka Polite with 5:45 left in the second quarter.

Dallas played without defensive end Jason Ferguson (ankle) and guard Marco Rivera (hamstring), both free agent signings.

Seattle’s sloppy play continued into the second half. The Cowboys added a safety with 5:40 left, after Seattle quarterback David Greene was pressured by safety Justin Beriault and linebacker Eric Obogu, and ran past the end line at the back of the end zone.

Seattle also had a fumble return for a touchdown by cornerback Jordan Babineaux called back on a penalty.

A week after shining against New Orleans in a 34-15 win, Wallace was constantly pressured by Dallas and was 8-of-20 for 69 yards. Last week, he was 12-of-20 for 137 yards and a touchdown.

Dallas backup Drew Henson didn’t fare better, finishing 4-of-10 for 38 yards and an interception.

Rookie running back Marion Barber had 62 yards on 18 carries for Dallas.

Josh Brown had a 36-yard field goal with 12:47 left that pulled Seattle within 16-10.

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