The $1.2-billion Seahawks at Cowboys game thread

I’m in Arlington at the new Cowboys Stadium, which is one large and impressive building. That giant high-def video board you’ve probably heard about and seen pictures of? It’s pretty insane. Although I will say I could have lived a happy life having never seen an 80-foot version of Billy Crystal in high-def. We’re about 15 minutes from kickoff. After a couple of weeks of heavy rain–the Cowboys had to move practice twice this because their practice field was flooded–it’s been a sunny and warm weekend here in Dallas. Game-time temperature is 73 degrees.

Here are today’s inactives
Seahawks
DT Craig Terrill
TE Cameron Morrah
T Sean Locklear
G Mike Gibson
RB Louis Rankin
S C.J. Wallace
CB Travis Fisher
Mike Teel will serve as the third quarterback

Cowboys
CB Allen Rossum
S Mike Hamlin
LB Jason Williams
G Montrae Holland
C Duke Preston
T Pat McQuistan
LB Curtis Johnson
Stephen McGee will serve as the third quarterback

Cowboys won the coin toss and will start the game with the ball.

Good news, bad news
The good for Seattle? The defense, after giving up 26 yards on Dallas’ first two plays, forced a punt (OK, some poor throws by Tony Romo helped). The bad? The questionable decision making on punt returns continues for Justin Forsett. Forsett elected to catch and return a ball at the 4-yard line that was probably headed for the end zone. As a result the Seahawks will start at their own 6. Just what a team wants when it’s been having trouble protecting its quarterback and is starting its fourth left tackle of the season.

Seahawks take a 3-0 lead
Considering that drive started on the Seattle 6-yard line, the Seahawks should be pretty happy getting three points out of it. The drive was moving along nicely, but stalled out at the 25 and ended with a 43-yard Olindo Mare field goal.

The most encouraging sign of that drive for the Seahawks has to be the fact that they ran the ball with some success. After losing a yard on his first carry, Jones had runs of 6, 7, 3, and 11 yards before being held to no gain on his last carry.

After the drive ended there was a pretty lengthy and animated discussion on the sideline between Matt Hasselbeck and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Houshmandzadeh was upset with where a ball was thrown, wanting it lofted over the defensive back who broke it up. Should be interesting to see how those two work the rest of the game. The two of them getting on the same page has been a work in progress since Houshmandzadeh signed in the offseason, and it appears they weren’t on that play.

Cowboys answer with a touchdown
That Seahawks lead was short-lived, as Dallas needed only 3:41 to find the end zone and a 7-3 lead. Sam Hurd turned a short swing pass into a 35-yard touchdown thanks in part to some bad tackling.

But more importantly, I now feel slightly more fulfilled in life. Why you ask (or more likely you don’t care)? Because I’ve now seen animated cans of Dr. Pepper, a Diet Dr. Pepper, and a 7-up race on a giant high-def video board. If that’s not excitement, I don’t know what is. And for the record, the 7-up can won, though the Peppers can still hold it over 7-ups’ head that they both earned their doctorate.

Forsett’s rough day continues
Justin Forsett–you might remember him from such plays as: the guy who inexplicably caught a punt on the 4-yard line–isn’t having a great day here in Texas. Facing third-and-3, the Seahawks called Forsett’s number, and he picked up the first down and more, but then fumbled thanks to a big hit from Terence Newman.

That gave Dallas the ball at the Seahawks’ 30-yard line, and Marion Barber just punched the ball in for a 2-yard touchdown to make it 14-3.

Yes, Deion Branch is still a Seahawk
We haven’t seen a ton out of No. 83 this season (his critics would say ever). But Deion Branch just hauled in a 23-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-10.

Seahawks finally get to Romo, get a stop
Who knew? Apparently pressuring the quarterback can lead to positive things. Having gone a quarter-plus without touching Dallas QB Tony Romo, the Seahawks finally knocked him down a few times, and the result was Dallas having to settle for a 48-yard field goal attempt, which missed wide right.

Cory Redding was the first to get to Romo, knocking him down on back-to-back plays before David Hawthorne came up with a sack. Lawrence Jackson also had a QB knockdown on an incomplete third-down pass before the field goal attempt.

Dallas adds to lead
It’s now 21-10 at halftime, and the Seahawks are not happy about that last score. They appeared to have Dallas stopped at the Seattle 43-yard line, but Marcus Trufant was flagged for pass interference. Seattle’s gripe–and it seems to be a good one–was that Miles Austin simply ran over Trufant on the play to draw the penalty. Five plays later, the Cowboys added six points to their lead.

Some first-half stats
Seahawks had 163 yards to 228 for Dallas. Matt Hasselbeck was 9 for 16 for 126 yards and one touchdown. Julius Jones led Seattle with 29 yards on eight carries. Nate Burleson led the Seahawks receivers with 46 yards on two catches. Hasselbeck was sacked only once, which isn’t bad considering he was sacked seven times here last year, and five times last week. It appears the return of Rob Sims at left guard and the switch to Damion McIntosh at left tackles is helping.

For Dallas, Marion Barber had nine carries for 40 yards, Tony Romo was 12 for 23 155 yards and two scores. Miles Austin has 58 yards on four catches.

Dallas lead grows, Ken Lucas hurt
After a few punts back and forth between teams, Dallas came up with the first score of the second half, a 3-yard touchdown pass to Miles Austin.

Four plays before the touchdown, Ken Lucas suffered an injury tackling Felix Jones after a long catch and run. The injury update we just heard is a shoulder stinger for Lucas and his return is questionable. Though they were just showing on TV trainers checking his eyes, which last I heard wasn’t something you do for stingers.

Also on that drive, Marcus Trufant was flagged for pass interference for the third time today, though the Seahawks were pretty upset about two of those calls, including the last one in the end zone.

This is getting out of hand quickly
It’s now 35-10 following an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown by Patrick Crayton. The only good news to come out of this half so far for Seattle is that Matt Hasselbeck appears to be OK after taking a big hit and staying down momentarily before jogging off. He came out for Seattle’s possession after the touchdown, but was sacked twice in a row and now the Seahawks are about to punt again. . . Yikes, that was an ugly punt. Oh well, at least Crayton didn’t get a chance to return it.

Seahawks massive deficit a wee bit smaller
It’s “only” 38-17 now after a 4-yard touchdown pass from Matt Hasselbeck to Justin Griffith. That score was set up by a David Hawthorne fumble-causing sack that gave Seattle the ball at the Dallas 8-yard line.

This will be it until after the game. As always, thanks for reading.

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