Three things we learned: Cowboys 23, Seahawks 13
Posted by Danny O'Neil
Three things we learned
- Tarvaris Jackson's return isn't the antidote for all that ails Seattle.
Up until Sunday, Jackson's errors were largely ones of inaction such as the receivers he didn't see or chances he just wouldn't take. In Dallas, Jackson's mistakes actively undermined Seattle's chances at a second-half comeback. His three second-half interceptions led to 10 Dallas points and showed pretty clearly that while he may be the best quarterback on Seattle's roster, he's not going to right the ship all by himself. Seattle was already trailing when Jackson unleashed his hail of turnovers, but considering he's a veteran, Jackson had some pretty elementary mistakes. The first interception came on a pass that he was trying to throw into the ground. The second interception was the worst decision, coming on a pass that Jackson threw: a) while he was on the run; b) jumping off his back foot; c) with an injured pectoral muscle. That it did not end well is not a surprise. Jackson underthrew Sidney Rice, allowing Dallas cornerback Terence Newman to settle under it as if he were fielding a punt. This was clearly Jackson's worst game among his seven as a Seahawk.
- Seattle's run defense is not impregnable
It took eight games, but someone finally rushed for 100 yards against the Seahawks. That would be the Cowboys' DeMarco Murray, who gained 139 yards Sunday. The Seahawks didn't allow anyone to rush for 100 yards in the first six games last season, but when Darren McFadden cracked triple digits in Game 7 -- which was the game Red Bryant was injured -- the Seahawks allowed another couple rushers to surpass 100 yards: Jamaal Charles, who rushed for more than 170 yards in the Chiefs' victory in Seattle, and LaGarrette Blount, who checked in at 141 in Tampa Bay.
- It is, in fact, possible for Seattle to run the ball effectively.
Yes, it's true. Seattle did actually move the ball by having the quarterback hand the ball to a running back and then watching that running back gallop through holes that the offensive line created. It was only remarkable because it has been so long since something like that has been seen from Seattle. Marshawn Lynch gained 135 yards on the ground, the first time a Seahawk has hit triple digits in rushing since Justin Forsett did it in November 2009.
Three things we already knew
- The Seahawks struggle on the road.
It's not just that Seattle has lost 23 of its 29 road games since the 2008 season started. It's how the Seahawks have lost those games. Twenty-one of the defeats have been by double digits, and viewed in that light, Seattle's 10-point loss in Dallas actually constitutes progress. Trouble is that getting closer is no consolation when you're still losing by 10.
- Seattle tends to score mostly when desperate.
Seattle's only two touchdowns in the past three games have been scored in the fourth quarter. Of the 12 touchdowns Seattle's offense has scored this season, nine have been in the second half. That's a sign of a team that's scoring more out of desperation than efficiency. Yes, the Seahawks have been able to move the ball in the second half, but only when they know their only chance is to cut it loose and start firing the ball downfield. Seattle has not held a halftime lead this season.
- Seattle's pass rush is fickle.
The Seahawks did not have a sack, the third time in eight games this season they failed to record one. Chris Clemons, the team's top pass rusher, did not have a tackle. While quarterback is the most clear longterm need for this team, finding another edge rusher is right up there, too.
Three things we're still trying to figure out
- Should the Seahawks just go ahead and give Zach Miller a 70-something jersey?
That's a commentary on how much the Seahawks are calling upon him to block not on the man's skill set. Tight ends are allowed to catch passes. It says so in the NFL rulebook and everything. But Miller didn't catch a pass Sunday as he was called upon for a heavy diet of pass protection to keep Jackson upright against Dallas' defense. Miller is a good blocker. It worked. Jackson was sacked only once, but it came at a cost in terms of how seldom Miller was released into a passing route. He is very courageous, and he's going to do what's asked. He's also a consistent receiving threat, which is why the Seahawks paid him such a hefty contract, and they need to find ways to involve him in the passing game.
- What's going to stop Seattle's penalty parade?
It's one thing to be young, it's another to be undisciplined, and this Seahawks team is really straddling that line right now. A week after Seattle was penalized
1011 times against Cincinnati, the Seahawks were called for 10 penalties in Dallas. Veteran Robert Gallery and rookie Byron Maxwell were flagged for two apiece. It's on coach Pete Carroll to find a way to iron the mistakes out of Seattle's young roster.
- What is going on with Robert Gallery?
The man who was supposed to be the answer at left guard has had some very questionable play the past two games. A pancake is one of the top accomplishments for an offensive lineman. To be pancaked is a pretty serious problem, and Gallery was put on his back in the first quarter by DeMarcus Ware. He was also penalized for holding, a call that stalled a third-quarter drive, and a false start. Hesuffered groin and knee injuries in August, and he appeared to suffer a leg injury last Sunday against Cincinnati, and while he returned to the field, he certainly isn't playing like someone who's completely healthy.
Dec 24 - 6:10 AM Looking back: Revisiting Sunday's scouting report
Dec 24 - 1:09 AM Seahawks' scoring binge
Dec 24 - 1:01 AM Video: Summing Seattle's victory
Dec 24 - 12:58 AM Video: Russell Wilson post-game comments
Dec 24 - 12:21 AM Rookie passing roll call