Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 38-31 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at CenturyLink Field:
B+ Russell Wilson just keeps rolling, throwing five more touchdown passes to set the NFL record for most TD passes in the first three games of the season (14). Wilson may not have been as inch-perfect as he was during Seattle’s first two games, but he also performed his last-minute magic to engineer the game-winning drive. It was a nice moment of redemption for DK Metcalf, catching the game-winning touchdown after he had the terrible fumble on what should have been a 63-yard touchdown in the first half. But don’t forget about Tyler Lockett, who had a hat trick of TD catches to remind everyone that he, not Metcalf, is Seattle’s most important receiver.
C+The good: Seattle had three takeaways and a safety. The bad: The defense was handed a 30-15 lead in the second half and couldn’t hold it, with Dallas putting together three long scoring drives to surge ahead 31-30. But the defense had the last word, coming up with the stop on the final drive of the game to preserve the victory. Seattle continues to struggle getting pressure on the passer without blitzing safety Jamal Adams, and Dallas exposed the consequences of having just one safety roaming the secondary. Seattle came into the game having allowed the most yards in the NFL, and that likely won’t change after giving up another 522.
B Special teams played a big role in the outcome of this one, but it was more about the errors Dallas made on special teams —- a muffed kickoff that eventually led to a safety, two missed extra points — rather than the plays Seattle made. Credit Tre Flowers for getting a hand on one of those extra points. And punter Michael Dickson, who has been on point this season, had another spectacular game, averaging 54.7 yards on seven punts while regularly pinning Dallas deep during the second half when Seattle’s offense went into a lull.
C There was some sloppiness during the first half, particularly with Seattle having to burn two timeouts on defense because the Seahawks had 12 players on the field. The defensive scheme did a good job of turning Dallas’ star running back Ezekiel Elliott into a non-factor. The defense didn’t adjust late in the game once Dallas got rolling offensively, beyond dropping everyone back into a prevent defense, but the coaches were limited in what they could do as injuries reduced the defense to a skeleton crew by the end of the contest.
B Let’s be honest, Dallas did a lot to lose this game, as the Cowboys self-destructed on special teams and Dallas’ secondary couldn’t get out of its own way. But successful teams take advantage of their opponents’ mistakes, and credit the Seahawks for taking advantage of the Cowboys’ miscues, despite Metcalf’s gaffe. The victory may have been Pyrrhic, with the likes of safety Jamal Adams, running back Chris Carson and right guard Damien Lewis all leaving the game injured. But with both Arizona and the Los Angeles Rams losing Sunday it means Seattle at 3-0 is all alone in first place in the NFC West.
– Nick Patterson, Herald writer