ARLINGTON, Texas—Coming off of back-to-back losses, the Seahawks came out showing they could go toe-to-to with one of the NFC's top teams, trading scores with the Cowboys in a thrilling Thursday night contest.
Unfortunately for the Seahawks, an offense that was putting up big numbers for three-plus quarters wasn't able to get the final score Seattle needed, and the result was a 41-35 Cowboys victory that dropped Seattle's record to 6-6.
Here are five rapid reactions to Sunday's loss:
1. Geno Smith and the offense bounced back with a big game, but couldn't get the final score Seattle needed.
It's been a tough couple of weeks for the Seahawks offense and quarterback Geno Smith. After a beautiful opening drive for a touchdown in an eventual loss to the Rams, the Seahawks offense was held out of the end zone for the next seven quarters, a big factor in Seattle losing consecutive games for the first time this season.
To make matters worse, Smith exited the Rams game with a triceps contusion, and while he was able to return late in that game and play last week against the 49ers, he was barely able to practice last week and went through an abbreviated pregame warmup before that Thanksgiving loss to save his arm.
After a full week of practice, Smith put together one of his best performances of the season, and Seattle's offense got out of its funk in a big way, though Smith and the offense couldn't get the final score needed to win the game.
With a huge play on the opening drive, a 73-yard touchdown pass to DK Metcalf, the Seahawks offense set the tone early, and would go on to score touchdowns on five of their first seven possessions, with the other two ending on a missed field goal and an interception.
The Seahawks were 9 of 11 on third down at one point in the fourth quarter, finishing the game 9 for 4, and Michael Dickson never punted, though Seattle was stopped on fourth down three times in the fourth quarter.
The interception notwithstanding, it was a great day for Smith, who threw for 334 yards and three touchdowns.
Unfortunately for the Seahawks, however, they needed one more scoring drive after Dallas took a fourth-quarter lead and couldn't come up with it, with their final two drives both ending on incomplete passes on fourth down, plays that both featured Smith having to rush a throw under duress.
2. DK had a big day against one of the best corners in the league.
Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland is having a fantastic season, coming into the game with a league-high seven interceptions, including five he returned for touchdowns, a single-season NFL record. But the Seahawks showed early they weren't going to be afraid to go at the standout second-year cornerback, with Geno Smith hitting DK Metcalf on a quick slant with Bland in tight coverage on Seattle's first third down of the game. It was a laser of a thrown pass that Metcalf secured before sprinting away from Bland and the rest of the Cowboys defense for 73-yard touchdown. It was the longest play of the season for the Seahawks, and marked the first time this season the Cowboys trailed at home.
Metcalf added a deep catch down the sideline, as well as a 1-yard touchdown with Bland in coverage in the first half, giving him 108 yards on three catches at the break, and he finished the game with six catches for 134 yards and three touchdowns, his first three-touchdown game since he did it against Detroit late in the 2021 season.
Per NFL Next Gen Stats, Seahawks were 6 of 7 for 138 yards and two touchdowns with Bland as the nearest defender, and he was also flagged for pass interference in the end zone.
But it wasn't all bad for the NFL's interceptions leader, as he was able to nab interception No. 8 on a third-down pass intended for Tyler Lockett.
3. Seattle's defense couldn't contain Dak Prescott and the Dallas offense.
While the Seahawks did get a couple of key stops in the second half, including a fourth-down stop right after Seattle's offense committed a turnover, it was overall a tough day against one of the NFL's best quarterbacks and offenses.
Like the Seahawks, the Cowboys never punted, scoring on eight of nine possessions, minus a knee-down to end the first half and the game, and including a 54-yard touchdown drive to take the lead for good late in the fourth quarter, a drive capped by Dak Prescott's third touchdown pass of the game.
In all, the Cowboys totaled 412 yards and 33 first downs, with Prescott completing 29 of 41 attempts for 299 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
4. Rookies Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Zach Charbonnet both made big contributions.
The Seahawks offense leaned on a couple of rookies Thursday, and both came through with several big plays. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who is from the Dallas area, led the team with seven receptions, gaining 62 yards. He could have had an even better day, but a second-quarter touchdown was overturned after review, though he did still draw pass interference on the play, setting up an eventual Metcalf score.
Running back Zach Charbonnet started his second straight game in place of an injured Kenneth Walker III. In addition to a hard-fought 60 yards on 19 carries, Charbonnet also added 39 yards on a screen pass, a catch that set up an eventual touchdown.
Unfortunately, Charbonnet suffered a knee injury in the fourth quarter and was not able to finish the game.
The Seahawks also had a rookie starting on the offensive line, with Anthony Bradford making another start for Phil Haynes, who went on injured reserve Thursday.
5. Penalties were a big factor in the game for both teams.
While both teams put on a show offensively, the game was somewhat marred by a plethora of flags on both teams, particularly on both defenses, with defensive backs getting flagged frequently for pass interference and holding.
In all, the Seahawks were penalized 10 times for 130 yards, while the Cowboys had nine penalties for 127 yards. It was the second time in three games the Seahawks have had 130 penalty yards, also suffering that fate against the Rams in Week 11.
Check out some of the best action shots from Week 13 at the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on November 30, 2023. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery. This gallery will be updated throughout the game