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Originally published Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Seahawks fall apart in the second half, lose 23-13 to Cowboys

Seattle and Dallas were tied 6-6 at halftime, but Dallas gets 10 points following Tarvaris Jackson interceptions in the second half to win the game.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Where is the offense?

The Seahawks (2-6) lost their third straight game and have the NFL's second-worst offense.

242.6

Jaguars' yards per game

284.0

Seahawks' yards per game

294.9

Colts' yards per game

300.1

Jets' yards per game

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Everything is supposed to be bigger in this state.

Even the shortcomings. No, especially the shortcomings. Because Seattle's imperfections became warts and their warts became sores in a 23-13 loss to Dallas.

Yes, it was that ugly, a game that Seattle lost every bit as much as the Cowboys won. The Seahawks were flagged for 10 penalties, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was intercepted three times and, not to be left out, the defense completely neglected to cover Cowboys tight end Jason Witten on the touchdown that gave Dallas a second-half lead it never lost.

"It started with the penalties," coach Pete Carroll said, "and the turnovers will be the story."

To be fair, Dallas did move the ball up and down the field with relative impunity. The Cowboys had the ball inside the Seattle 20 three times and racked up more than 300 yards in the first half, yet had just six points to show for it.

Dallas had first-and-goal at the Seattle 1 early in the second quarter, and the Seahawks forced the Cowboys to settle for a field goal. Receiver Dez Bryant was headed toward the end zone later that period when he was knocked down by safety Earl Thomas and into cornerback Richard Sherman, whose hit forced a fumble Seattle recovered.

The score was tied 6-6 at halftime, which constituted progress for Seattle. But after spending the first half dodging bullets in the red zone, the Seahawks became preoccupied with shooting themselves in the foot in the final two quarters.

Down 13-6, Jackson was intercepted on a pass he was trying to throw away for an incompletion. The Cowboys turned that pick into a 6-yard touchdown pass from Romo to Laurent Robinson. Jackson's next throw was picked off, too. That one was even worse, as Jackson was moving to his right when he threw off his back foot, the ball way short of Sidney Rice. Dallas turned that one into a field goal.

The Cowboys came into this game still stinging from last week's blowout loss to Philadelphia. Dallas found a get-well pill in Seattle.

"We really needed to get back on track and start going here," Romo said.

Seattle turned out to be the perfect kind of houseguest in that regard.

The Seahawks watched as Cowboys defensive lineman Anthony Spencer hopped between a gap between the center and the guard to block Seattle's third-quarter field-goal attempt. Seattle's quarterback even set up Dallas with his back-to-back interceptions that turned into the 10 points that were the difference in the final score.

"Just made some stupid mistakes," Jackson said. "We've been staying away from those mistakes the whole season."

The Seahawks lost their third consecutive game, and any promise that was summoned from that Week 5 victory at the New York Giants has evaporated in the midst of sustained offensive struggles. Seattle has scored two touchdowns in its last 12 quarters.

There's a common thread to these defeats, one that starts with sustained difficulty in finding the end zone, but Carroll said he saw differences Sunday.

"It feels different," he said. "It doesn't feel like the same formula. We made a huge deal to move this thing protection-wise and (in the) running game this week, and it happened. We did those things. Unfortunately, it didn't turn into the points that we needed, but it doesn't feel the same thing."

Seattle's Marshawn Lynch rushed for 135 yards, his most in any regular-season start since joining the Seahawks. Jackson was sacked only once, the second-fewest total in any Seahawks game this season.

"We can compete," Rice said. "We've just got to do the small things. Stay disciplined. We protected the quarterback well today. We ran the ball well."

But in the end, Seattle couldn't get out of its own way.

"This was a game where efficiency would have won the game for us," Carroll said.

Instead, it wasn't all that close.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com

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