Seahawks don’t grade out well after getting dominated by the Cowboys
Special teams was the only area in which the Seahawks were competitive
Seattle Times staff reporter
Perhaps as surprising as the final score — Dallas 30, Seattle 23 — was the manner in which it was achieved.
Seattle’s second home defeat since the 2011 season came without any asterisks as the visiting Cowboys were simply the better team from start to finish, save for two special-teams miscues that handed the Seahawks 14 points.
Dallas had 401 yards total offense to Seattle’s 206. And in a battle of the two best rushing teams in the NFL, it was the Cowboys who imposed their will on the Seahawks, getting 162 rushing yards to just 80 for Seattle.
Dallas also can lay claim, for now, as the best team in the NFC, improving to 5-1 while Seattle drops to 3-2.
As coach Pete Carroll said afterward of Russell Wilson: “When he throws for 120 yards (actually 126) and he’s 50 percent (14 for 28), then that’s not a good day for him and he’s better than that.’’ Indeed, the passing game was out of sync all day, save for a 53-yard pass to Jermaine Kearse on the first series. Wilson’s running also was bottled up, held to 12 yards on two carries, one a 9-yarder for Seattle’s only offensive touchdown. Wilson’s passer rating of 47.6 was his lowest since a 38.7 in a defeat at San Francisco on Oct. 18, 2012.
A hard position to judge because the Seahawks simply didn’t run it much. Marshawn Lynch had just two carries for 8 yards in the first half, and no carries at all in the second quarter as the Cowboys grabbed the lead at halftime. When he got the ball, Lynch looked like his usual self. But Seattle won’t win often when he gets just 10 carries.
Seattle looked like it wanted to take shots down the field early, but on several occasions Wilson found no one open and had to scramble. Opponents also appeared to have found some answers to defending Percy Harvin, who was held to minus-6 yards on four touches in the first half and finished with minus-1 yard on six touches. Doug Baldwin made two nice plays to get open on third downs on a drive early in the fourth quarter that gave Seattle life. But those were too few and far between.
This was the second game without Zach Miller, and Seattle probably could have used him on a day when the passing game was such a struggle. Still, give Luke Willson credit for the block that helped spring Wilson open for his 9-yard touchdown run that tied the game in the third quarter.
A really tough day for this unit, which struggled to give Wilson time or give Lynch room to run against a defense that came into the game allowing more yards per play — 6.4 — than any in the NFL. Seattle played without starting center Max Unger, with Stephen Schilling filling in. Left tackle Russell Okung had two false starts and now has seven penalties.
Dallas’ offensive line proved worthy of the hype, dominating the Seahawks in the first half to give Tony Romo all kinds of time and allowing the Cowboys to rush for 94 yards in the first half. Seattle came in allowing just 62.3 yards per game to lead the NFL. Seattle had just one sack and three quarterback hurries in 32 pass attempts.
Seattle played much of the first half short-handed after Bobby Wagner left midway through the second quarter with a foot injury. That forced Seattle to shuffle its linebackers, at times using rookie Brock Coyle in the middle. Wagner returned in the second half and the run defense got better for a while. Seattle also gave up two more touchdowns to tight ends, a responsibility that often lies with the linebackers.
Due to an injury to Byron Maxwell, fans got what they wanted — Richard Sherman covering Dez Bryant for much of the game. The personnel issues forced Seattle to have Sherman follow Bryant from the late second quarter on instead of staying on the left side as is normal. But while Sherman gave up two completions and committed a penalty, the battle was mostly a standstill and didn’t really cost Seattle.
Simply put, this was the only reason Seattle stayed in the game as a blocked punt by Baldwin returned for a touchdown by Mike Morgan gave the Seahawks their first touchdown and a fumbled punt their second. Dallas, though, did a good job limiting Harvin on kickoff returns, save for one 46-yarder.