It was a gritty day of defensive football on Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks traveled to Arlington, TX to take on the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams were determined to shut the other down, and it was evident, as the Seahawks eked out a 1 point win, thanks to a crucial Steven Hauschka Field Goal. If there was one word to describe what helps the Seahawks so much, it would be: Legs.
Offensively, it was business as usual for the Seahawks. A heavy dose of Marshawn Lynch’s legs kept the chains moving (to the tune of 82 total yards), and Russell Wilson wasn’t afraid to rip off a few yards with his legs, especially as time ticked away in the fourth quarter. He wasn’t as effective through the air as he probably would have liked, going 19/30, 210 yards, for a score and a pick. Jimmy Graham brought seventy five yards in the passing game, but easily could have eclipsed the one hundred yard mark had he and Wilson connected on some deeper plays. The lone touchdown in this game came on a Wilson to Luke Willson 22 yard pass, which Willson fought and twisted his body furiously to achieve ball position for. The offensive line held up, giving up zero sacks for the first time this season. Wilson was the product of some designed QB hurries and got away from some of them. What really differed from Seattle’s offensive play this week was that they felt comfortable enough to bleed the clock to their advantage, managing their lead and preventing Dallas from having loads of time to come back, especially in the 4th quarter.
Outside of the first Field Goal Hauschka kicked, his next kick would not be so lucky (it would be blocked), and his final kick provided the penultimate nail in the coffin for Dallas. Besides this game, just about every time Hauschka lines up to make a kick, he makes it. 50 yard field goals are common occurrences in Hauschka’s world. Look for him to come back with a vengeance against the Cardinals in Week 10.
The Seahawks defense played a little bit like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. They seemed to be behind the 8-ball when it came to containing Dallas Running Back Darren McFadden, as he tallied over 100 yards (64 on the ground, and 49 through the air). But if were talking about Mr. Hyde, look no further than Richard Sherman. He stayed glued to Dez Bryant’s hips all game long, limiting him to two catches (on six targets) for 12 total yards. On two of those targets, Bryant was either deep down the field or in the end zone. It didn’t matter, Sherman played the role of consummate shutdown corner in this game. Hyde even showed his face when Cliff Avril recovered a Darren McFadden fumble, but the call was overturned off of the fact that McFadden was unable to make a ‘football move’ after receiving the ball. Even later, Avril would again be the centerpiece of another controversial call, as Cassell was intending to throw, but KJ Wright made a play on McFadden to force what should have been another fumble. After Jordan Hill picked up the ball, he trotted into the end zone, but it was called back. It didn’t matter that cliff Avril rushed to Cassell or if KJ Wright.. The ball tumbled, and If you’re cursing aloud after reading those lines, don’t fret. I am as well, but it’s the truth. If we’re talking interceptions, well the Seahawks looked more like Dr. Jekyll in that respect, notching zero picks on the afternoon. They didn’t allow a single touchdown in this game, a further testament to them getting into a rhythm.
No matter if it was a 1st and 10, or a 4th and inches, the Legion of Boom legitimately came out to play, and even with some injuries, wreaked havoc on Dallas. This was prevalent in the first half, but even more apparent in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters, after a highly questionable and illegal hit (and subsequent concussion) on Ricardo Lockette from Dallas’ Sean Heath with :19 to go in the first half provided them the motivation to play lights out for the remainder of the game. Both benches cleared, and Lockette was ultimately pulled off in stretcher. After a very long of no visible movement from him, he was able to move his hands and ultimately raised his hand in the shape of on “L” to raucous cheers by visiting 12s in the stands. Pete Carroll would dedicate the win to Lockette, who underwent surgery to repair torn ligaments and other damages in his neck.
Dallas’ back up QB, Matt Cassell, only found effectiveness rushing the defensive line of the Seahawks. He was kept under 100 yards passing in this contest. When he scrambled, Cassell refused to keep his head on a swivel, succumbing to a punishing sack by a hard charging Bruce Irvin as time expired in regulation. His next and final throw would fall incomplete to end the game. Dallas’ defense played arguably the best game of their season, forcing a number of Seattle 3 and outs. Greg Hardy, their controversial defensive end, notched some key tackles, and garnered the lone interception of Russell Wilson, recovering the tipped pass and getting Dallas within the red zone. The Legion forced them into another 3 and out.
Up next after a well-deserved BYE week are the Division leaders, the Arizona Cardinals, visiting Century Link field for the first of three home games. At 6-2, Arizona, anchored by a healthy Carson Palmer, is on fire. Their running game, seemingly laughable on paper, is racking up over 100 + yards per game, and Palmer has a 20/6 TD/INT ratio through this point in the season, but has thrown almost 300 times and completed less than 200 of those passes. His passer rating is averaging right behind Aaron Rodgers, but he’s completing even less of his passes than compared to Wilson or other QB’s in the NFC. After winning their first three games, they lost to the Rams at home, eviscerated the Lions, lost to the third string QB driven Pittsburgh Steelers, and notched a pair of wins vs the Ravens and Browns. They are playing too decent and too all over the place to expect that home field advantage will make this an easy victory for Seattle. The ‘Hawks are really in a ‘must win’ mode situation from this point out, and playoff dreams are most definitely on the line. Both teams have a BYE in Week 9, and will be (hopefully) at 100% health by the time 15 November rolls around. GO HAWKS!