<
>

Russell Wilson, Seahawks escape with ugly victory over Cowboys

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Midway through the fourth quarter, it seemed like the struggles of the Seattle Seahawks' offense would lead to the team's fifth loss of the season.

But with 6:42 left and the Seahawks trailing by two against the Dallas Cowboys, Russell Wilson and the offense put together a 17-play, 79-yard drive that took 5:35 off the clock. Then Steven Hauschka hit a 24-yard field goal to put the Seahawks on top for good 13-12.

Make no mistake about it: This was an ugly performance by the offense. But with the game on the line, the Seahawks came through, and they'll enter the bye with a 4-4 record.

Wilson had open receivers for much of the day, but he just couldn't find a rhythm. Unlike in previous games, pass protection wasn't the issue. Even though the Seahawks were playing without left tackle Russell Okung, for the first time this season, Wilson went the entire game without taking a sack. On the final drive, he connected with Jimmy Graham for a key third-down conversion. Wilson later found Tyler Lockett for a first down, and he connected with Doug Baldwin for 15.

He used his legs too, scrambling for 7 yards on one play and picking up 8 on a zone-read keeper. Overall, Wilson went 19-for-30 for 210 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He ran six times for 32 yards.

According to Pro Football Reference, it was the 16th game-winning drive of Wilson's career but the first one this season.

There's no doubt the offense needs to play better for this team to return to the Super Bowl for a third straight year, but with the victory over the Cowboys, the Seahawks gave themselves a chance to find fixes during the bye and go on a run in the second half of the season.

One reason to get excited: Granted, it was against Matt Cassel and Colin Kaepernick, but the Seahawks' defense has looked good the past two weeks. They've gone eight quarters without allowing a touchdown. Cassel totaled 97 yards through the air, and Darren McFadden averaged 3.2 yards per carry on 20 rushes. The defense should have all 11 starters healthy and available after the bye. If the Seahawks are going to string wins together, the defense will lead the way.

One reason to panic: The offense continues to struggle to find a rhythm. The Cowboys' defense ranked 25th in Football Outsiders' DVOA rankings coming into the game, yet the Seahawks managed just one touchdown all game. A unit that has Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and Jimmy Graham among its weapons should not struggle this much against a team such as the Cowboys.

A scare for Lockette: It was a scary moment for the Seahawks with 12 seconds left in the first half. Cowboys safety Jeff Heath delivered what the officials deemed a blindside hit to wide receiver Ricardo Lockette on a punt return. Lockette lay motionless on the field before being loaded onto a stretcher. Lockette gestured to the crowd while he was carted off. He was later diagnosed with a concussion. The good news is the team said he had full movement of his extremities.

Fantasy watch: He didn't get in the end zone, but this was an encouraging performance by Graham. He finished with seven catches for 75 yards on 10 targets. The Seahawks flexed Graham out wide on several occasions and had success going to him on slants and other intermediate routes. Through the first eight games, he hasn't had a defined role. That's something the coaches need to work out during the bye.