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Seahawks 21 Cowboys 12: Winners and losers from Seattle’s season-saving victory

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It feels great to say that the Seattle Seahawks are still in contention to get into the playoffs. That it came at the expense of the Dallas Cowboys in their own stadium makes it that much sweeter. It was a clutch performance from Seattle’s defense, and the offense made the most of its two red-zone possessions to help put the Cowboys to bed.

If you’re worried that I’m spending Christmas Day writing up Winners and Losers, there’s no need to be, as I wrote everything on Sunday evening. Enjoy your Christmas and then check back on Tuesday for your present: Enemy Reaction - Dallas Cowboys.

Winners

Justin Coleman

What an outstanding day for Seattle’s slot corner. Coleman started the day showing off his effectiveness as a blitzer, then in the 2nd half he took advantage of an errant Dak Prescott throw and scored his second pick-six of the season. Unfortunately, he was penalized for jumping into the Salvation Army Kettle, and then flagged for a bogus pass interference on the next drive, but it was still a great performance from Coleman.

Byron Maxwell

Dez Bryant lost an impromptu game of Byron Maxwell Punch-out, and that set up Seattle’s first touchdown on the afternoon. Maxwell also was unlucky to later be flagged for PI, although that’s not a new thing for him when playing at Dallas. No one (other than Philadelphia when they signed him) will consider Maxwell a lockdown corner, but in Seattle’s system, he’s a good tackler and showed he can still make plays like the Bryant fumble happen.

K.J. Wright

Back from his concussion, Wright and Bobby Wagner were in top form, but I’m highlighting K.J. specifically on this day. Wright had a couple of passes defensed, with one of them a huge hit on (I believe) Ezekiel Elliott, and he intercepted Dak Prescott just two plays after Dak made a miraculous 33-yard throw to Dez. It’s just the second interception of Wright’s career, with the first one coming against the Buffalo Bills... in 2012!

Shaquill Griffin

The rookie did an excellent job on his own blitz, sacking Dak Prescott and forcing the Cowboys into a field goal attempt. It also looked as if he was just fine in pass coverage, which is encouraging considering he’d blown some assignments over the last two weeks.

Dion Jordan

Three sacks in four active appearances for someone who figured to be a high-profile bust. He had three sacks TOTAL during his time with the Miami Dolphins. Keep at it, Dion. At just 27 years old, there may be a career resurrection in store for Jordan, and it comes at a time when the futures of Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are uncertian.

Kris Richard

It seems as if Richard realized that being bland and just spamming four-man rushes against the Cowboys offensive line wasn’t going to cut it, whether Tyron Smith was healthy or not (and he wasn’t). There were some creative blitzes and twists that freed up some pass rushers to get in Dak’s face, and he didn’t like it one bit. I loved the corner blitzes, as well as the sack Michael Bennett got on a three-man rush. Well done, Mr. Richard.

Doug Baldwin

Not like Seattle’s passing game was remotely good, but Baldwin made the most of it. Four catches for 35 yards and essentially the game-clinching touchdown, in which he just about undressed rookie DB Chidobe Awuzie on national television.

Paul Richardson

Again, two catches for 27 yards doesn’t light the world on fire, but both of Richardson’s grabs went for first-downs. When Seattle was trying to kill clock after Dan Bailey’s first missed field goal, they were backed up with 1st and 20. I know I was expecting a punt. Instead, Russell Wilson fired it to P-Rich for a clutch 3rd and 9 conversion to force Dallas into using its timeouts on defense. Re-sign Paul Richardson. Re-sign Paul Richardson. Re-sign Paul Richardson. I know his injuries are a concern, but he’s only missed one game over the last two seasons.

Thomas Rawls

He got carries! Five of them! One of them went for 15 whole yards! Maybe this means Eddie Lacy can remain a healthy scratch for the rest of the season, however long that may last.

Germain Ifedi

I say this tongue-in-cheek, but he got away with holding Taco Charlton on a critical 3rd down conversion to Doug Baldwin. Why is he a winner? Because he’s been flagged so often that obviously this officiating crew was in the holiday spirit and cut him some slack.

Losers

Darrell Bevell and Tom Cable

Don’t let the win completely wipe out the fact that this offense was terrible. Again. Dallas is one of the worst defenses in the NFL, and Seattle has played more than half of its schedule against teams currently in the bottom-half of defensive DVOA. I’m convinced that Darrell Bevell has just zero feel for game flow. I wanted to pull my hair out when Seattle had an actual drive in which 100% of the plays called were Mike Davis runs. It’s damning of both Seattle’s inability to run a competent short-passing game and of the inept run-blocking that we see weekly from “run game coordinator” Tom Cable. Speaking of which...

Running from the 1-yard line

The Seahawks tried. That’s all I can say.

Luke Willson

Jimmy Graham isn’t a good blocker, that’s a given. Luke Willson is terrible at it. They lined Luke up to block at both FB and TE, the results were ugly. Tight end is probably a major need for the Seahawks next season... and no, I don’t think they will re-sign Graham.

The NFL’s interpretation of pass interference

I’m also aware (at least on live viewing) that the defensive pass interference in the end zone on Jimmy Graham could’ve been considered uncatchable, which is rich since Seattle didn’t get the benefit of the doubt on the same call in week 1 against the Green Bay Packers.

Troy Aikman

I used to despise Joe Buck for being boring, but I think his deserved early reputation is clouding reality. Whatever you think of him, this is a great call. So is this. Troy Aikman, on the other hand, was on the verge of a meltdown watching the Cowboys implode in their own stadium. You could sense the bitterness oozing through his mouth as Dallas committed penalties, turned the ball over, and at one point he said the Seahawks had “the worst offensive performance I’ve ever seen.” Aaaaaaand Seattle still won by two possessions. Maybe next year, Troy. Maybe next year. Until then, reduce your salt intake.