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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

September 17, 2012 at 11:42 AM

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What we know, what we don't after Seahawks' victory over Dallas

Three things we learned

I. Seattle's strength against the run wasn't exaggerated in Week 1.
Dallas' DeMarco Murray was one of two players to rush for more than 100 yards against Seattle last season, and the 135 yards he gained Nov. 6 ranked as the third-highest total Seattle has allowed any opponent during Pete Carroll's time as coach. Murray finished with 44 Sunday, including just eight in the second half. After two games, only the San Diego Chargers are allowing fewer rushing yards than the Seahawks.

II. Golden Tate can play as well as he practices.
It's a sign of how slowly Tate's career has started that catching three passes for 38 yards is considered a breakthrough for the third-year receiver. But each of those three catches resulted in a first down, and it was impossible to watch the way he ran with the ball and not think that Seattle needs to get him more opportunities. On Sunday, he was Seattle's most explosive offensive player not named Marshawn Lynch on Sunday, and his blindside hit on Dallas linebacker Sean Lee was the signature play of a second half in which the Seahawks beat up the Cowboys.

III. Seattle's special teams is back to being a strength.
That was the single biggest strength for the Seahawks in 2010, and a notable sore spot the first half of last season when the Seahawks allowed two punts and one kickoff to be returned for touchdowns. In the season-opener, Leon Washington set up two scores with his returns, and this week, it was the coverage units that excelled. Fullback Michael Robinson forced a fumble on the opening kickoff, which set up a field goal, and linebacker Malcolm Smith blocked a punt that safety Jeron Johnson returned for a touchdown. The Seahawks' Brian Schneider -- deservedly -- has one of the best reputations of any special-teams coach in the league.

Three things we're still trying to figure out

I. Was that Week 1 loss at Arizona as bad as we thought?
All the Cardinals did in Week 2 was go on the road and beat the New England Patriots, who lost their home-opener for the first time since moving into Gillette Stadium in 2002. The Patriots allowed four sacks, showing they didn't fare much better in pass protection against the Cardinals than the Seahawks did allowing three. While Tom Brady threw for more than twice as many yards against Arizona as Russell Wilson did, Brady's quarterback rating of 79.6 wasn't all that much better than Wilson's rate of 62.5 vs. Arizona. Maybe Seattle's season-opening loss won't be anything to be ashamed of.

II. Why Seattle has such a hard time getting going?
The Seahawks didn't score a first-half touchdown until Week 4 last season, and after two games, their offense still hasn't found the end zone in the first two quarters. While Seattle led 13-7 at halftime against Dallas, its only touchdown was scored on special teams. The slow starts are as true for Seattle's pass rush as well as both of the Seahawks' sacks so far this season occurred in the second half.

III. Can Seattle dictate the pace against more explosive offenses?
Sunday's victory was cited as the epitome of the way Carroll wants to win, but are the Seahawks capable of keeping teams like the Packers, Lions and Patriots from turning games into shootouts? Through two weeks, Seattle is averaging 136 yards passing, fewest in the NFL. That's going to put the onus on the Seahawks' defense to keep opponents from staging a track meet because Seattle's offense might not have the horsepower to keep up.

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