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Cowboys Defeat Seahawks on Thanksgiving
The Seahawks came to Dallas for Thanksgiving and the host Cowboys (8-4) had a few extra servings of touchdowns today, four to be exact, defeating their visitors 34-9 for their third straight win.
For the Seahawks (2-10), it was their 10th loss of the season and fifth in a row. For the Cowboys, it was their last game on Thanksgiving at Texas Stadium as they move to a new venue in 2009. It marked their third straight victory since the return of their quarterback Tony Romo coming back from a broken pinkie in Week 11.
The Cowboys signal caller was near perfect tossing 331 yards through the air, completing 22-of-34 passes including three touchdowns and an interception. He and the Cowboys offense looked in form scoring on their first four drives including a touchdown in their first three attempts.
"They were really good. We knew that coming down," said quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. "Seeing them in person you see that more so. They’re a very talented team, especially on offense. We weren’t scoring touchdowns early, and they were. They did a nice job."
The Seahawks on the other hand, stalled on third down 12 out of 14 times and twice in the red zone coming away with field goals.
"They’ve got an interesting red zone plan," admitted Hasselbeck. "They let you move the ball, but don’t let you score."
One silver lining to draw from such inefficiency is that the kicking game had a good day. Punter Jon Ryan had a tremendous outing averaging 50.1 yards on seven kicks and Olindo Mare made all three field goal attempts. Read
“Their offense jumped on us so fast. Anytime a team gets you in a situation when they know you have to drop back and throw the ball, it puts them at an advantage.”
~ OT Walter Jones on the Dallas pass rush Read
The other silver lining came on the receiving end. Both tight ends for each team led their respective teams in receiving with over 100 yards apiece. Jason Witten for the Cowboys hauled in nine catches for 115 yards while his counterpart on the Seahawks had Seattle's best offensive performance of the day with 105 yards receiving on six receptions.
"We know this, but I think the country perhaps, got a glimpse of a what’s to come with John Carlson," said coach Mike Holmgren about his rookie tight end. "I think he is going to develop and give us a lot to look forward to. He has a pretty good future."
The Dallas defense line controlled the line of scrimmage from the start recording seven sacks - three of which came from defensive end DeMarcus Ware tying a single-game career high. The offensive line, playing without starting center, Mike Wahle, could not contain the oversized Dallas line.
"I want him to feel good about the season in the end. That will help him next year," said Holmgren. "I was worried about him getting hit but I need him in the game. He has taken a lot of hits this season so I hold my breath each time he gets hit but I told him he’s not coming out of the game anymore." Read
In their first drive, the Seahawks seemed to be responding to the Cowboy's opening touchdown drive with Hasselbeck completing 3-of-4 for 41 yards. However, on a play indicative of the Dallas defensive line's first half, Tank Johnson got penetration on a Julius Jones off tackle run to the left and forced a fumble. Instead of evening up the score, nine plays later the Cowboys were ahead 14-0. The Seahawks never mounted an effective drive thereafter and were shutout of the endzone.
Offensive player of the game
Rookie John Carlson was Matt Hasselbeck's saftey valve again gaining over 100 yards on six catches.
Defensive player of the game
Defensive back Marcus Trufant had five tackles on the day and intercepted Tony Romo in the end zone.
In a drive that ate up over six minutes of clock to start the fourth quarter, the Cowboys tacked another field goal to their lead when the Seahawks held on 4th-and-goal at the seven yard line.
Seahawks failed to respond on the ensuing possession ending the drive on a Matt Hasselbeck pass thrown deep to a well-covered Deion Branch that found its way into the hands of cornerback Terence Newman.
The Seahawks received the ball to open the second half and Maurice Morris got the call at running back in the opening series. Sparked by a 22-yard reception by Bobby Engram, the offense once again threatened inside the 10 with a first and goal at the Dallas six.
Morris was stuffed for negative yardage on the first play and two incomplete passes later, Olindo Mare was on the field making his third field goal of the day.
Romo got the ball back and seemed to be moving the ball at will again. He gained 20-yards on his first pass to Witten, then came a 13-yarder to Roy E. Williams.
In a rhythm he decided to go for broke and went to the end zone in his third attempt to Terrell Owens. But with deep coverage, Marcus Trufant made a brilliant over-the-shoulder catch for an interception and touchback.
Once again with the ball, the Seahawks offensive line sputtered. Ware tallied his third sack on a third down possession - the sixth for the Dallas defense - and forced the Seahawks to punt.
Four plays later, the Cowboys were back in Seahawk territory converting on a third down to Owens for one of the most acrobatic catches of his career despite defensive holding. Just inside the redzone, Romo went back to Owens the very next play on a post pattern and this time found paydirt extending the Cowboy lead to 31-9. Read
Halftime at a glance
The Cowboys scored touchdowns on their first three drives. Tony Romo was near perfect in the first half completing 14 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns. His main beneficiary was Jason Witten who had 93 yards on seven receptions. On the other side of the ball, the Dallas defensive line recorded five sacks as they controlled the line of scrimmage the entire half.
For the Seahawks, the key play occurred in Dallas' fourth drive where the defense held on third down for the first time in the game. The Cowboys were forced to a field goal and more importantly out of the end zone. The Seahawk defense would force a punt the next time they returned to the field. Read
The Cowboys continued an 8-play drive into the second quarter and Romo looked sharp again. Though Deon Grant broke up a sure touchdown to Jason Witten but Romo went back to Witten three plays later for another score.
The Seahawks defense finally held on third down and the string of three touchdowns on three drives finally ended. Nick Folk's attempt at a 41-yard field goal was good.
The Dallas defense was too much for the Seahawk offensive line as they recorded two more sacks on the day. With the drive stalled, the Seahawks punted and the defense returned to the field. Finding their own rhythm the Seattle defense held once more and, with 3:09 left in the half, forced Dallas to punt for the first time.
The Seahawks offense seem to finally come to life near the two-minute warning taking advantage of a Josh Wilson 30-yard punt return. They drove down to the Dallas 11 yard line and threatened their first end zone trip of the day.
However, the Dallas defense responded with two more sacks from both Ware and Brady James, for each their second of the day. Mare trotted out for a 38-yard attempt and with 1:35 minutes left in the half, the Seahawks had cut the lead 24-6.
Romo was near perfect in the opening drive completing on 3 of 4 passes for 61 yards in driving down the field capped by a touchdown pass to rookie Martellus Bennet.
In response, Hasselbeck had his own 3-of-4 start covering 41 yards connecting with Deion Branch and Koren Robinson early.
However, back in Dallas for the first time since his release, Julius Jones fumbled the ball on a hit by Tank Johnson and what felt like momentum in the opening Seahawk drive fizzeled to a halt. Cowboys took over at their 28 and Romo picked up where he left off.
Marion Barber combined with short passes to Jason Witten moved the ball down the field. Barber was stuffed on his first attempt at first and goal, but was able to walk into the end zone on his second try.
Only 10 minutes into the game, the Cowboys were already up 14-0 and it did not seem the Seahawks had an answer for Romo or Ware for that matter.
Hasselbeck returned to the field and spread the ball around to three more receivers and seemed back in his groove until a few offensive miscues.
A false start put created a 1st and 15 situation, of which Dallas' Ware took full advantage. He bull-rushed Walter Jones around the left tackle and sacked Hasselbeck for an 8-yard loss. At 2nd and 23, the Seahawks sputtered and eventually got on the board with an Olindo Mare field goal.
This and That
Seahawks wore their home blue jersey and pants today since the Cowboy home jerseys are white ... Cowboys won the coin toss and elected to receive ... inactive for the Seahawks are K Brandon Coutu, SS C.J. Wallace, C Chris Spencer, G Mike Wahle, DT Red Bryant, and DE Brandon Miller ... inactive for the Cowboys are WR Mile Austin, S Patrick Watkins, CB Mike Jenkins, CB Quincy Butler, G Kyle Kosier, G Joe Berger, and T Doug Free ... Teen pop stars Jonas Brothers were the half time performers ... Cowboys DE DeMarcus Ware with three sacks, won Fox's Galloping Gobbler. Read