By John Boyle
So much for a Week 1 hangover. Not only did the Seahawks follow up a disappointing season-opening loss with a win, they did so in dominant fashion, beating what was thought to be a very good Dallas Cowboys team 27-7.
As Cowboys owner Jerry Jones put it, “I know this, in everything about playing football, they were better than we were today. Every aspect of it.”
The Seahawks win was particularly exciting for Pete Carroll not just because his team won, but because of how they won—with good defense, a good running game, efficient quarterback play, and some big plays on special teams.
“That is the way we’d like to do it,” he said.
There was a lot more good than bad in this one for Seattle, but every game has it’s ups and down, so here’s a quick look at the highlights and lowlights for the Seahawks.
Three things to like
—Huge plays on special teams. The Seahawks were up 10-0 in the time it took some fans to settle into their seats. First Michael Robinson forced a fumble on the opening kickoff, then Malcolm Smith blocked a punt a few minutes later that Jeron Johnson picked up and took to the end zone for a touchdown.
—The Seahawks were physical. Very physical. We’ve come to expect big hits from players like Kam Chancellor, but the Seahawks physical dominance of the Cowboys went beyond the defense. Exhibit A was receiver Golden Tate leveling linebacker Sean Lee with a block that helped spring Russell Wilson for a 15-yard run.
—The offense got going in the second half. Last week, when the Seahawks scored, it was because the defense or special teams gave it the offense a short field. On Sunday, Russell Wilson and a strong running game led the Seahawks to touchdown drives of 90 and 88 yards on consecutive possessions.
That the running game, and Marshawn Lynch in particular, got going late, was hardly a coincidence.
“You might get pumped up to hit (Number) 24 in the first quarter and he might get three yards, but in the fourth quarter, you really don’t want to hit him,” said Robinson. “He gets stronger, our offensive line gets stronger, and we stay with our play call.”
Three areas of concern
—As good as the Seahawks’ defense was in holding the 296 yards and seven point, they were frequently unable to get off the field on third down. The Cowboys converted seven of 13 third down chances, including four of four on a 95-yard touchdown drive, all of which were six yards or longer.
—The pass rush was once again inconsistent (and probably had a lot to do with the third-down issues mentioned above) and the Seahawks had only one sack.
—The offense took a while to get going. Yes, those two touchdown drives in the second half were impressive, but the Seahawks can’t count on their special teams to hand them a 10-0 lead every week, and if not for those plays, the Seahawks would probably have been losing at halftime.