SEATTLE – Through two preseason games, the Seattle Seahawks offense didn't look a lot like the unit that finished 2015 on such a roll. This was hardly cause for panic because, well, preseason. But with the starters playing into the third quarter in Thursday night's preseason game, the hope was that the offense, which had yet to score in the previous two games, would show a little bit more against the Cowboys.
And by the time the starting offense had left the game, Russell Wilson and company had indeed put together a much more complete performance, scoring two touchdowns and two field goals on six possessions in an eventual 27-17 Seahawks victory.
"That was huge, and I thought we had great tempo today," Wilson said. "I thought our offensive line did a phenomenal job, they were so strong and gave me so much time out there."
It wasn't a perfect performance—there were a couple of drive-killing penalties that resulted in punts—but the mistakes were ones that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called, "really fixable stuff," and overall the passing game was the best it has been, and the running game, which has been strong the entire preseason, enjoyed a big second half after struggling to get going early.
"A lot of stuff that was real obvious tonight to us," Carroll said. "We ran the ball well again. We didn't get the runs we wanted in the first half, just the way the half went. We got ourselves in trouble a couple of times in drives, but once we got going and took our shots, we really found a nice consistency. I hope we can carry this over into the regular season, because the numbers were pretty good and the pass protection was pretty solid tonight. It just seems like we're making progress on offense."
The "pretty good" numbers Carroll mentioned included Wilson going 16 for 21 for 192 yards and two touchdowns, giving him a 135.4 passer rating, 58 rushing yards on seven carries from Christine Michael, and the team 148 rushing yards on 27 carries, good for a 5.5 yard-per-carry average. Another notable number was Wilson not being sacked after taking four last week, a combination of improved protection and good decision making by him.
"I feel like we're ready to go," left tackle Bradley Sowell said. "There's always stuff to clean up, but as a unit we work really hard together, and it felt good together."
The offensive line that helped pave the way for a strong day did change a bit throughout the first three quarters while the starters were in the game. Seattle opened the game with the same five that had started the previous two games—Bradley Sowell, Mark Glowinski, Justin Britt, Germain Ifedi and Garry Gilliam—but they did a bit of mixing and matching at tackle to get a look at J'Marcus Webb, who had missed the previous two games because of a knee injury.
After two series, Webb replaced Gilliam at right tackle, then after two series with that look, Webb moved to left tackle with Gilliam coming back in at right tackle. There was also a brief change at right guard with Jahri Evans replacing Ifedi, but that was because Ifedi was having helmet issues.
"I can't remember the last time I did that," Webb said of playing both tackle positions in a game. "But anytime they ask me to do something, I just go ahead and do it—do it with passion and aggression and everything will be all right… You've got to be versatile in this league, and I'm OK with that. You keep competing and learning and learning from your mistakes."
And regardless of how the line was configured, those five, and the offense as a whole, felt good about the way things went Thursday.
"It's all about having confidence, and we're confident right now," Webb said. "That's what we want to do, we want to run the ball and switch it up, and I think we did that."
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Look through some photos of Seahawks vs Cowboys during Preseason Week 3 at CenturyLink Field.