I will be the first to admit, I was very worried about the Seahawks’ chances on Sunday, September 16. Dallas was coming into Seattle with a long layoff after beating the NY Giants pretty handily on the 2012 NFL season’s opening night, Wednesday September 5.
Having an extra three days off to bask in the win, watch the Seahawks offense look positively moribund against Arizona, and then prepare for that same offense must have looked pretty appetizing to the Cowboys. It definitely looked that way to the tons of Cowboys fans that showed up for the game.
Hearing that starting left tackle Russell Okung was going to be out again with a leg injury gave me nightmare visions of Dallas monster defensive end DeMarcus Ware feasting on rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
I won’t say that I had no hope for a Seattle win, because this game was in the now legendary confines of CenturyLink Field, home of the Beast Quake. This was the place Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo entered into history as the quarterback unable to hold onto a field goal attempt and then be tackled short of the first down from behind by Seahawks safety Jordan Babineaux, the play that led to a classic posting on Facebook.
Soon, after properly fueling with alcohol to loosen the vocal chords, the 12th Man came alive as Cowboys kickoff return man Felix Jones had the ball knocked loose by Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson on the opening kickoff. Seattle recovered but the drive stalled. The Seahawks managed to come away with a field goal.
Another kickoff led to a Dallas three and out. The ensuing punt got blocked by linebacker Malcolm Smith and the football was recovered by safety Jeron Johnson for a touchdown. Five minutes in and the Seahawks special teams have given the home team a 10-0 lead. It was a nervous lead but made all the better that the Seahawks would not be so dependent on a shaky offense thanks to a special teams cushion.
At halftime, the score was 13-7 and Dallas was looking like the stronger overall team. If not for Jason Witten dropping most of the passes to him, the score would have showed it too.
The stats bear it out too: Dallas had 11 first downs to Seattle’s five, 211 yards total offense to 118 for the Seahawks. DeMarco Murray had eight carries for 36 yards while Marshawn Lynch had 10 carries for 22 yards. It seemed like a matter of time for the Cowboys to wear down the Seahawks.
One thing the Pete Carroll-led Seahawks have done well is second half adjustments. At the end of the game those numbers show some interesting things. The number of first downs ended up with 17 for Dallas and 20 for Seattle. Total yards came to 296 for Dallas and 315 for Seattle. The running backs’ numbers ended with 12 carries for 44 yards for Murray while the Seahawks rode Lynch for 22 carries and 122 yards.
To do the math, Dallas only got six more first downs while Seattle got fifteen. Dallas managed only 85 more yards in the second half while Seattle almost doubled their first half with 197 more yards.
For me, the best stat was time of possession. Dallas ended up with 25:21 in possession but only got 1:29 total time in the 4th quarter. That number is really amazing to me.
Play Of The Game
There were several to choose from for this honor, but only one can be chosen. I didn’t go with Marshawn Lynch’s 36 yard run or Russell Wilson’s great touchdown throw to Anthony McCoy, nor did I choose the punt block for a touchdown or Brandon Browner’s interception.
The people that know me best won’t be surprised to find that I chose wide receiver Golden Tate’s golden block on Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee. It was on a second down and 12 yards to go play after a false start penalty. Russell Wilson started scrambling left before tucking the ball and running for the sideline.
Lee was covering Tate, who was trying to give Wilson a good target. When Wilson tucked the ball, Lee dropped his coverage and took off after Wilson, looking primed to stop Wilson well short of the first down. When Tate saw what was happening, he looped back around and blocked Lee. Well, blocked is too limiting a word really for what happened. When I say blocked I really mean demolished, decimated, annihilated, and destroyed. Those words are much more accurate than blocked and if you haven’t seen the video yet, go here and check it out. I haven’t seen a wide receiver block like that since Hines Ward.
Before any Cowboys fans complain, it was a perfectly legal block. Look at the pictures, Tate hit Lee from the front, into Lee’s chest, led with his shoulder and didn’t launch into Lee. Even the regular refs wouldn’t have thrown a flag on that one. While I don’t wish for Lee to be injured, that block brought the crowd to their feet and sprung Wilson for the first down. Jerry Jones can whine for a fine all he wants, but he can’t change the fact that his team came in here and got their asses whipped again.
I am still not a Wilson believer, as I think Matt Flynn would have gotten the win in Arizona, but I do like the improvement Wilson showed against a good Cowboys defense. Congratulations to him for his first win, a big one against a good Dallas team.
Seattle gets to stay home and enjoy the weekend as the next game is on next Monday Night against the visiting Green Bay Packers. The Packers beat up on the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night, making this two weeks in a row the Seahawks are playing a well-rested winner. That should worry me more but after yesterday, it doesn’t so much.
Photo Credit: DEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES