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Seahawks Ground Out In Dallas, Lose 23-13

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Since I didn’t really expect Seattle to win this road game in Dallas on November 6, I thought I’d try an experiment and not drink with every bad Seahawks play. Naturally I figured this would help avoid alcohol poisoning that I’ve flirted with almost every game this season, I’m sure my liver thanked me for trying something new.

So here I sit writing my review, collecting my thoughts and sucking down Hennessey like holy water. Okay, that doesn’t really work but forgive me for that because I’ve just watched the Seahawks lose another game.

The worst thing about it is this was a game Seattle actually showed a lot of improvement. The running game went over 100 yards and the offense moved the ball down the field. The offensive line didn’t give up a sack until late in the game. 

The original “Play of the Game” was going to be a Dez Bryant fumble on the 1 yard line.

The play was a major swing because Bryant was destined score until safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman combined to take Bryant down and pop the ball loose. Seattle was able to drive the ball down the field, ultimately kicking a field goal to tie the score 6-6 going into half time.

Play(s) of the Game

Dallas changed that into a “Play of the Game” combo at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth quarter by intercepting Tarvaris Jackson on back-to-back plays.

The first was a fluke play where Jackson was trying to throw the ball into the ground to avoid a sack. The ball bounced off a Dallas defender arm into defensive lineman Jason Hatcher’s hands.

The second was a mind-altering throw that Jackson lofted towards the sideline but came down in Terence Newman’s hands instead. I don’t know if Jackson was trying to throw to Sidney Rice but underthrew him badly or was trying to throw the ball away and missed. The throw was that bad. Whichever he intended, Jackson earned dual “Plays of the Game” with those two throws.

The Good:

1. Running Game: Seattle ran the ball well, for the first time this season, against a vaunted Dallas defense. Marshawn Lynch broke 100 yards, ending up with 135 yards on 23 carries for a 5.9 yard per carry average.

2. Offensive Line: I was very worried about an injured Jackson with an offensive line that was giving up around 5 sacks a game. Whatever offensive line coach Tom Cable did, it’s working because Seattle’s offensive line only allowed one sack and Demarcus Ware, a monster for the Cowboys defense, never got close to touching Jackson. The offensive line remains a work in progress but the progress is encouraging.

3. Receiving: For the first time all season, Seahawks receivers didn’t drop a pass. Anthony McCoy, a regular drop artist, caught both passes to him. Since I’ve been calling him out on this every week, I have to give him a pat on the back this week.

The Bad:

1. Defensive Pressure: The Seahawks didn’t get close to bothering Tony Romo except a couple of times. The lack of a pass rush is a concern because Seattle’s pass defense is not good enough to make up for not getting to the quarterback.

2. Tarvaris Jackson: Jackson didn’t have a terrible game but it wasn’t a great one either. After putting up over 300 yards in his last two starts, Jackson only managed 221 yards on 17 completions against a Dallas defense that is susceptible to the deep ball. 

Jackson’s decision making was suspect as well. On the Seahawks’ second scoring drive, on third down and three at the Dallas 13 yard line, Jackson had Mike Williams and Sidney Rice on the left side. Rice was in the slot and ran into the end zone, towards the corner. Mike Williams ran an out just past the first down marker. Both corners on that side went with Rice, leaving Williams wide open for a first down and a possible touchdown. Jackson tried to thread the needle to Rice and ended up overthrowing him. Seattle had to settle for the field goal to tie the score at 6-6.

3. Penalties: I won’t complain about the refs too much, but overall, I thought the game was a well called one with only the ruling on the final interception being a bad call. Jackson threw a pass to Doug Baldwin that Dallas corner Gerald Sensabaugh undercut. Baldwin reached over Sensabaugh to make the catch but they both came down with the ball.

The referees ruled it as an interception but in these cases, the tie usually goes to the receiver, especially when the receiver had initial possession. The play was even reviewed and upheld despite both announcers, as well as every Seahawks fan, arguing about it. The main reason I’m not really upset with the play overall is that by the time it happened, Seattle had lost the game already, down by 10 with only 28 seconds left.

Instead, I want to spotlight that Seattle was flagged 10 times for 88 yards. That is unacceptable for a team that can’t afford to make a lot of mistakes in the first place.

The Ugly:

1. Byron Maxwell: I’ll be honest. I had no idea who this guy was before this game. Maxwell got two penalties and now I know him well.

He is the gunner on the punt team, the player who lines up at the wide receiver position and tries to be first to make the tackle or down the ball. On both occasions, Maxwell was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct because he was forced out of bounds and didn’t try and come back in bounds in a timely manner. I’m not really sure what is considered a timely manner; I’d never heard of this call as gunners are regularly forced out and try to out sprint their opposite number to get back in bounds. On the replays, Maxwell did just that.

I’m not saying they were bad calls but for it to happen twice is a mistake by Maxwell and by the special teams coach for not correcting it.

2. Run Defense: I got really tired, really tired, of hearing the TV announcers go on and on about DeMarco Murray all game.

Yes, he ended up with 139 yards on 22 carries for a 6.3 average, and he does look to be a good running back, but honestly, on the majority of the plays, the Seahawks had him stopped, and he broke the tackles. 

That’s not a thing that happens to Seattle’s run defense very often. If there was something I would have bet money on, it would have been that Dallas wouldn’t be able to run the ball on Seattle. Thanks to sloppy tackling, I would have lost money.

3. Zach Miller: I know Seattle kept Miller in to block a lot but I have him on my fantasy team. With him not catching anything, it helped doom my team this week. While I’m happy with the protection, I’d rather see Miller, who Paul Allen paid a lot of money to come to Seattle, than Anthony McCoy out running patterns.

Overall, I think Seattle made good progress in this game. The offensive line and running game made big strides but it was the run defense and quarterback, along with the mental mistakes, that doomed all the progress.

Seattle has to regroup to face the visiting Baltimore Ravens next Sunday, November 13. A very big test against a very good defense will show if all that progress was really just a fluke.


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About Russ Evenhuis

I'm a writer with a mid-life crisis. I'm into sports of all kind, a Seattle fan to my bones. A retired rugby player, now I punish myself with triathlons when I'm not hanging out with the family, drinking Guinness and playing PlayStation.
  • Hawk_Eye

    Every team’s gunner gets run out of bounds along the sideline the same way. You don’t think it’s funny the timing of penalties? I have not seen that call in over 30 years of watching NFL football. Dallas was struggling on offense and the Refs decide to give us 15 yard penalties thus giving dallas great field position. TWICE

  • Russ Evenhuis

    Great points Hawk_Eye although I really hesitate to jump on the conspiracy bandwagon too much. I was being sarcastic with the judgement call part but maybe I wasn’t sarcastic enough. And you’re right, I’ve been watching football for a long time and have never seen that particular penalty called.