This trio of events adds up to another upset victory over another NFC East opponents on the road for the Seahawks, right?
Not on this given Sunday, when things that had been a given for the Seahawks were left in the locker room.
So instead of a yee-haw victory, the Seahawks absorbed another I-don’t-believe-what-I-just-saw loss. This time it was 23-13, as they reached the midway point of Pete Carroll’s second season as coach at 2-6 and having lost three in a row.
The run defense that had been allowing a league-best average of 3.2 yards per carry? Cowboys rookie DeMarco Murray averaged 6.3 while running for 139 yards – not only the first triple-digit rusher against the Seahawks this season, but a total that matches the most rushing yards surrendered to an entire in the first seven games.
“I was really disappointed they ran the football like they did. That just has not happened to us with any consistency at all,” Carroll said. “The way it felt was like we just could not tackle Murray. We missed him time and again.”
The return of
“I had three turnovers and that’s just unacceptable,” Jackson said. “I just feel very sick with how I played.”
The emphasis on reducing penalties? The Seahawks were flagged 10 times for a season-high 88 wrong-way yards.
“Well, this is a classic game where a football team goes out and plays real hard and does their stuff and then makes the mistakes that put you in the loss column,” Carroll said. “And it started with the penalties, and the turnovers will be the story.”
With that said, here’s a look at three things that worked against the Cowboys and three things that need work as the Seahawks prepare for this week’s game against a 6-2 Baltimore Ravens team at CenturyLink Field:
The running game, and the offensive line – The Seahawks emphasized getting the running game going during the week after seeing the Eagles rush for 239 yards against the Cowboys the previous week. Sunday, they preached what they had practiced. Their 162 rushing yards and 5.4-yard average were not only season highs but their best regular-season marks in the past two seasons.
In addition to opening holes for Lynch, and often running right at Ware to defuse his ability to run down plays, the Seahawks also held the Cowboys’ pass-rusher supreme without a sack for only the second time this season.
The line has taken its share of the blame for the growing pains that have fed the offensive struggles, so it deserves ample credit for what happened against the Cowboys – from tackles
“Just kind of gelling a little bit more,” Okung said. “Week in and week out, we’ve been challenged up front. Now we’re responding.
“But there still were too many mistakes, too many errors. That’s not going to win games.”
On his first punt, a 58-yarder,
Sunday, he followed his one-interception, one-tipped-ball-to-setup-another-interception performance against the Bengals with a TD-saving hit on Bryant that forced a fumble just when it appeared the Cowboys’ wide receiver was about to cross the goal line. Nickel back
WHAT NEEDS WORK
Penalties – The Seahawks have been getting in their own way, and helping their opponents get on their way, since the preseason. After Sunday’s 10-for-88 showing, they have 70 penalties to rank second in the league behind the perennially penalized Oakland Raiders (84) and their 523 penalties yards are the sixth-highest total in the league.
Against the Cowboys, the penalties were across the board: four against the offense, two against the defense and four on special teams. Eight players were flagged, including two each by Gallery and special-teamer
They were called for holding (three times) and false starts and unsportsmanlike conduct (two each), as well as a facemask, an illegal block and a pass interference.
“In a close game at halftime, we come out in the second half and look great running the football and we get a penalty that stops us,” Carroll said. “Then we get a penalty in the kicking game that gives them great field position.
“We had three penalties in the first half and seven in the second half. That told the story.”
The pass rush – Not only did the Seahawks not sack Tony Romo, they were credited for only two hits on the Cowboys’ QB. It was the third time this season the Seahawks went sackless and the two hits tied their season-low.
They have 13 sacks in eight games, and five of those have come from “Leo” end
The mystery element – After the game, Carroll offered, “There’s an issue that we have, and we’ve got to help out our young guys up front cadence-wise. … We can fix the line of scrimmage. We need to make a move there. We have to do something. That needs to go away.”
Asked to elaborate, he said, “I can’t talk about it anymore than that, OK. We’re just going to fix it.”