Wrap-up: Seahawks 27, Cowboys 7
September, 16, 2012
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
Thoughts after the Seattle Seahawks' 27-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys at CenturyLink Field:
What it means: The Seahawks improved to 1-1 while looking like the team they thought they would be this season. They played tough defense and forced an early turnover. They unleashed a physical ground game featuring Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin. They make a game-changing play on special teams by returning a blocked punt for a touchdown. And at quarterback, an efficient Russell Wilson used the play-action game to find his tight end (Anthony McCoy, not Zach Miller or the released Kellen Winslow) for a touchdown.
What I liked: Malcolm Smith's blocked punt and Jeron Johnson's return bought needed breathing room for Seattle after the Seahawks drove to a field goal on their opening drive. Those are the types of plays that get a home crowd going. They can make the difference for teams with strong defenses. Seattle contained DeMarco Murray (3.7 yards per carry, long run of nine yards) and Tony Romo. Romo had gone 3-2 in his last five road starts, tossing 12 touchdown passes with only two interceptions during those games. Seattle picked him off early and prevented him from getting comfortable.
Seattle's offensive line did a much better job against the Cowboys than against Arizona in the opener even though left tackle Russell Okung rested a knee injury. Wilson, who completed 15 of 20 passes and finished with a 112.7 NFL passer rating, showed he could find receivers with accurate passes when given time to throw. That is what Seattle needed to see. Lynch topped 100 yards rushing as Seattle wore down the Cowboys in the second half. Again, this game went to the Seattle blueprint.
What I didn't like: Wilson missed high early in the game, an issue lingering from Week 1. He became sharper as the game progressed. Receiver Sidney Rice left the game after taking a hard hit. Durability has been a problem for Rice. He takes too many big hits and tends to fall awkwardly. It's looking like he'll be on the injury report more often than not. Officiating was shaky at best. Seattle fans complained about the Cowboys getting away with holding. I thought officials erred most egregiously when they penalized the Cowboys for barely pushing Wilson out of bounds moments after Seattle's Golden Tate delivered a helmet-first blindside block to a helpless defender.
What's next: The Seahawks face the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field on "Monday Night Football" in Week 3.