In 2014, you may remember that the Dallas Cowboys stunned the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field, rallying from 10-0 down to win 30-23. Since then, the Seahawks have played the Cowboys three times, twice in Dallas and once in Seattle, and the Seahawks have won them all, holding the Cowboys to a grand total of 37 points.
While the Seahawks offense sure could’ve done a much better job of closing out this game late in the 4th quarter, we should recognize that they did lead by double digits for the entirety of the second-half, which we’ve not seen from any Seahawks team since December 2016. This was a must-win game, and they delivered.
Here are the Winners and Losers from Sunday afternoon, and frankly I don’t really have many losers to list here.
How can he not be the biggest winner here? The “will he or won’t he be traded?” drama is likely going to persist until October 30th passes and, in all likelihood, he is not traded. This storyline has definitely worn me out and I’m sure that’s the case for other Seahawks fans, as well. I don’t know if Thomas will be a Seahawk in 2019, but I do know he’s a future Hall-of-Famer and one of the best players in franchise history. There is nothing more quintessentially Thomas-ian than seeing two interceptions plucked out of nowhere. How many top defensive players would be able to pick off a pass by trapping the football against their lower leg? Or win an impromptu game of volleyball in such a congested area? If you want to trade for Thomas, you’ll need a Brinks truck filled with first-round draft picks for me to be satisfied. For now, let’s enjoy what a special player Thomas has been and continues to be.
Take a bow, Earl. Take a bow.
Savagepic.twitter.com/QnhZZW5GeT— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) September 23, 2018
No Justin Britt and no Ethan Pocic? Not much of a problem. Pass protection held up, with only two sacks given up all game. Joey Hunt fared much better in his second start than he did in his rookie appearance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016. Also a shoutout to D.J. Fluker for paving the way for respectable-to-moderate gains on several running plays, including on Chris Carson’s touchdown run. I’m not going to praise 2.9 YPC on 39 attempts as good, but this was a more than solid showing by a banged up group. If I didn’t yell at Germain Ifedi even one time, it must have been a good day.
Wilson was 16/26 for 192 yards, 2 touchdowns, but the key thing here is zero turnovers for the first time this season. He was victimized by several drops (more on that later), but he was less frazzled than in the previous two games, did a very good job of catching the Cowboys off-guard with uptempo offense, and had a good streak of keeping the chains moving with on-time, on-target third-down conversions in the 2nd quarter.
New contract, new responsibilities as essentially the #1 wide receiver for as long as Doug Baldwin is out, and he has three touchdowns in as many games. This one was a terrific 52-yard strike that marked his seventh receiving touchdown of 40+ yards. Lockett topped all Seahawks receivers with four catches for 77 yards in addition to the score, and three of those grabs were on third-down, including the TD.
32 carries for 102 yards isn’t anyone’s idea of setting the world on fire. However, he had six first-downs — five rushing and one receiving — and the first running touchdown of his young NFL career. He’s the undeniable best back on the team, and what he lacks in lateral quickness he makes up for with good vision, power, and ability to play physical football. Congratulations to Carson for providing Seattle with their first 100-yard rusher in regular season play since Thomas Rawls in December 2016, as well as their first running back touchdown since J.D. McKissic last October. He’s someone who played better than the stats suggested, so to speak.
Not known as a pass rusher, he had a two-sack game, which actually gives him his career-high already. Reed has 1.5 in his rookie year, 1.5 in his sophomore campaign, and was disruptive against Dallas in ways that have to make you excited about his development as a more complete defensive tackle, and not just a run-stuffer.
Have you ever seen Tyron Smith look that average in a game? Clark was getting by him on speed rushes, and even ignoring how he fared against Smith, he was timing Prescott’s snaps to perfection and hassling Dak all game long. The stat sheet will say he only had one sack, but he helped Mychal Kendricks get a sack of his own. This is what we want to see out of Clark in his contract year, and he might be on his way to another double-digit sack campaign.
Kam Chancellor raised the 12th Man Flag, and he must have been proud of McDougald’s performance. I’ve been more than critical of the personnel decisions by the front office, but John Schneider hit a home run with the Bradley McDougald signing. He was just about airtight in pass coverage, had a tackle for a loss, and a forced fumble of Ezekiel Elliott in the 4th quarter. This guy is a bargain at 3 years/$13.5 million.
Lest we forget that he helped cause that first interception by jarring the ball free from Michael Gallup. He looked better in this game than he did against the Broncos, and while Dallas’ passing offense is pathetic, that he minimized big plays and didn’t get picked on is a positive for the rookie.
I know he’s a rookie, but is it time to be worried about him? Three carries for five yards and a near-disastrous fumble on a handoff on what turned out to be the game-clinching drive for Seattle. 20 carries for 43 yards could be just as easily achieved by the lumbering Eddie Lacy, never mind a first-round draft pick.
That 27-yard snag was cool but that’s about as good as it for for Marshall. He had numerous drops just in the opening quarter alone and was a huge liability on third-down. His drops were a problem last season with the New York Giants, and they re-appeared today. Marshall has got to be better than this and surely he knows that, too.
He didn’t play because of a supposed groin injury after not being on the injury report all week. I’m not saying they’ll cut him or anything, but I do know that the Seahawks appreciate availability, and if he can’t even be available as effectively RB3 on the depth chart... how much longer do we hold onto those few games in 2016? Running backs have short shelf lives and he’s spent too much time on the shelf.
- Jaron Brown picked up his first touchdown of his Seahawks career. He only had one other catch the rest of the day, but that seam pass score was sweet and it totally caught the Cowboys secondary napping.
- Despite Joe Buck and Troy Aikman repeatedly trying to will a Cowboys comeback into existence, this did not materialize. Sorry to ruin your day, FOX.
- There were two roughing the passer penalties called in this game. The first one was the absolutely irritating “landing on the QB with your body weight” rule, but it did benefit the Seahawks and Russell Wilson, so I’ll take it. Then Quinton Jefferson lightly shoved Dak Prescott late in the 4th quarter, and even Aikman sounds increasingly exasperated at the great lengths the NFL is going to protect quarterbacks. They are the ratings grabber I suppose, and it’s bad for business when guys like Aaron Rodgers are hurt on previously legal plays.
- Holy shit, that Cowboys offense is dismal to watch. It’s not just this game, it’s the previous two weeks and much of last season. It’s exactly the offense Jerry Jones deserves. They don’t need Earl Thomas unless he can run routes.
- It feels great to do an Enemy Reaction again, and against one of the most-loathed teams in the NFL. See you Monday!