Sunday, November 6, 2011
Wrap-up: Cowboys 23, Seahawks 13
By Mike Sando
Thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' road defeat to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9:
What it means: The Seahawks are 2-6 and will stand five games behind the first-place San Francisco 49ers with eight games to play, assuming San Francisco does not blow a big lead at Washington. This Seattle defeat to the Cowboys affirms the likelihood that Seattle is playing for draft positioning. This game also stood as a step backward for quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Seattle fans fearful that the team might consider Jackson as a long-term solution at the position probably had little to worry about before this game, and less after it.
What I liked: The Seahawks finally got production from their ground game. It's critical for Seattle to show progress in that area over the second half of the season after investing considerable draft capital in the offensive line over the last two seasons. This game counts as a big step forward in that area. Marshawn Lynch topped 100 yards for the first time during the regular season since Seattle acquired him. He finished with 135. The Seahawks topped 150 yards rushing, another first this season. The Seahawks also did a good job avoiding sacks after entering the game having allowed 28 this season, most in the league. The Seahawks have rushed for at least 145 yards in its last two games with Jackson and Lynch in the starting lineup together. Seahawks' defense, though too pliable from a yardage standpoint, played tough around the goal line and forced turnovers to keep Seattle in the game past halftime.
What I didn't like: Seattle's run defense has generally been strong this season. A few cracks formed against Cincinnati last week even though the Bengals' per-carry average remained in check. The Cowboys ran the ball effectively throughout. DeMarco Murray topped 100 yards. Murray hurt Seattle as a receiver, too. He eluded linebacker K.J. Wright on one reception, then ran over safety Earl Thomas along the sideline. The Seahawks' pass rush needs another dimension beyond Chris Clemons, and it showed. Tony Romo took no sacks and had too much time on a 6-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter. Cowboys tight end Jason Witten was uncovered on another play, leading to a 33-yard touchdown.
What's next: The Seahawks are home against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 8.