Michael Ainsworth/ Associated Press                                Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and his staff earned a C+ for their work in Sunday’s 21-12 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Michael Ainsworth/ Associated Press Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and his staff earned a C+ for their work in Sunday’s 21-12 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Grading the Seahawks’ 21-12 victory over the Dallas Cowboys

Seattle’s defense earns the highest mark in a game that kept Seattle’s playoff hopes alive.

Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 21-12 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at AT&T Stadium:

OFFENSE

For the most part this was a downright ugly performance by Seattle’s offense. In the first half the Seahawks managed just 44 yards, including a net two yards passing when sacks are taken into account, and overall Seattle finished with a season-low 136 yards. However, some credit has to be given for performing in the fourth quarter, sustaining a drive for the first time all game to score the touchdown that made it a nine-point contest, as well as converting first downs on a late drive that ate up clock.

Grade: D

DEFENSE

There’s no question which unit deserves the credit for this victory. Seattle’s defense came up with three takeaways, and those resulted in all of the Seahawks’ points, including Justin Coleman’s pick-six. Seattle allowed Dallas some rushing yards early, but clamped down as the game went along, limiting the Cowboys to 283 total yards and holding Dallas to field goals. And the Seahawks were the scourge of Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott, who was regularly subjected to big hits.

Grade: A

SPECIAL TEAMS

Little of note happened on special teams in this one, at least on Seattle’s side of the ball. The punt team did its job, with punter Jon Ryan turning in a solid performance and the coverage team limiting Dallas’ returns — with the exception of Jeremy Lane’s unnecessary roughness penalty late in the game that could have been costly. The Seahawks didn’t get any chances in the kicking, and returner Tyler Locket was only able to attempt a return once.

Grade: B

COACHING

The good: Seattle called a great game on defense, recognizing the Cowboys offered little threat of the deep ball and unleashing the blitz to great effect, particularly on third down. The not-so-good: Most of what the offensive coaching staff tried failed miserably, with nothing happening either running or passing the ball. The ugly: Once again discipline was a major issue as the Seahawks were flagged for 142 yards of penalties — which was more than Seattle’s total offense.

Grade: C+

OVERALL

While there were good aspects and bad aspects to Seattle’s performance, the most important thing is the Seahawks gave themselves a meaningful game to play during the final weekend of the regular season. Yes, Seattle needed some help from Cowboys, who self destructed through a combination of defensive penalties, questionable play calls and missed field goals. Nevertheless, the Seahawks remain in the playoff hunt, as a victory next week at home against Arizona combined with an Atlanta loss at home against Carolina will get Seattle a wild-card berth.

Grade: B

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