Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their the 41-35 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday at AT&T Stadium:
For so much of the game this was Seattle’s best offensive showing in weeks, and it came against one of the NFL’s top defenses. Quarterback Geno Smith was feeling it, as he threw for 334 yards and three touchdowns — all three going to DK Metcalf, who had a huge night — and he was immaculate during the Seahawks’ touchdown drive at the end of the first half, moving the team 75 yards in 1 minute, 26 seconds with no timeouts. Seattle was 9-for-14 on third down, an area which has been a struggle. However, the offense didn’t have the answers late in the game, getting turned over on downs on each of its final three possessions. Leaving Dallas’ best pass rusher unblocked on the game’s decisive play was a bad way to end it.
It was a weird night for Seattle’s defense. The Seahawks never really got a stop. Seattle allowed 33 first downs, forced zero punts, and the Cowboys were 8-for-14 in converting third downs. And yet the defense — as crazy as it is to say in a game in which the Seahawks gave up 41 points — made plays that limited the damage, holding Dallas to field goals four times after the Cowboys drove into the red zone. The defense couldn’t come up with the stop after Seattle turned it over on downs the first time in the fourth quarter, giving up the go-ahead touchdown. But it did limit Dallas to a field goal after the second turnover on downs, which gave the Seahawks one last chance to win it with a late touchdown.
There was barely any special teams play in this one, as there were no punts by either team, and every kickoff went into the end zone except Seattle’s squib kick to end the first half. The one consequential special-teams play for the Seahawks was kicker Jason Myers’ missing a 42-yard field goal in the first quarter, which ended up having an impact on the game state for much of the contest. Myers did make all five of his extra points, however.
Seattle had been struggling mightily on offense coming into the game, but offensive coordinator Shane Waldron crafted a game plan that got the Seahawks back on track. The clock management at the end of the first half was perfect, as Pete Carroll used his timeouts well on defense to give Smith just enough time to get all the way down the field. Seattle went 0-for-3 on fourth down, but the decision to go for it on each occasion was sound, though one play call in particular didn’t seem confident. The penalty bug was back in a big way (10 for 130 yards), but given the way the officials were throwing flags like Marshawn Lynch tossing skittles to a parade crowd, perhaps the coaches deserve a pass on this occasion.
The expectation going into this game was that Seattle, coming off back-to-back disappointing losses and on the road against an 8-3 Dallas team that was rolling, was going to get blown out. So being in the game and holding a lead in the fourth quarter can be viewed as a building block. But moral victories are no help in the standings as the defeat dropped Seattle to .500, and with grade-A degree of difficulty games coming up the next two weeks (at San Francisco, at home against Philadelphia) the playoffs are now in jeopardy. Yet given the Seahawks’ trajectory, a positive performance at least provides a measure of hope for the back half of this brutal four-game stretch.
– Nick Patterson, Herald writer