As the late, great boxing corner man Angelo Dundee once said, “Everyone's a hero … until they get rocked on the chin.”
Somehow, against the defending Super Bowl champions the week before, the dimpled chins of your local heroes, the Dallas Cowboys, escaped unmolested.
But on Sunday in Seattle, the Seahawks didn't miss.
From the game-opening fumble to the blocked punt, from the persistent pressure on Tony Romo to the blind-side block that sent Sean Lee flying, the Seahawks played a rock number on the Cowboys' proud chins.
But don't take my word for it. Add up the number of times that quarterback Romo felt the need to bail hastily from the pocket. And the number of times that his uncomfortable receivers didn't hold on to the football.
And count the line in the training room Monday at Valley Ranch - Barry Church, Gerald Sensabaugh, Kenyon Coleman, Marcus Spears, etc., etc.
The Seahawks delivered a beating in their 27-7 victory, and the Cowboys are left to figure out just what kind of team they are.
Head coach Jason Garrett was asked about his team's identity at his Monday press conference. And though his answer was typically prudent and rendered in typical Princeton iambic pentameter, he clearly understood what the questioner was driving at.
“It's an identity that we work on and talk about a lot,” Garrett said. “We talk about the importance of playing together and having each other's backs. We talk about the importance of taking care of the football.
”And we talk about playing with a relentless, competitive-type nature and how we want to be physical.“
All of the things, in other words, that made the Cowboys we saw in the Meadowlands hard to recognize Sunday in Seattle.
Garrett continued, ”Identity is an ongoing thing. At times we've done a really good job playing to that identity, and other times we haven't.“
Sometimes, though, it takes a foe like the Seahawks to show a team its true self. And therein should lie the concern about what we saw Sunday.