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Seahawks Show "Great Heart And Great Resolve" But Come Up Short In Week 13 Loss To Cowboys

The Seahawks lost a third straight game on Thursday night, but showed fight that had Pete Carroll feeling good about what is still to come for the team.


ARLINGTON, Texas—After a back-and-forth for four quarters that featured a pair of quarterbacks and offenses trading blows, the Seahawks fell just short on Thursday night, falling 41-35 to the Dallas Cowboys.

The loss was Seattle's third straight, dropping their record to 6-6 and leaving them with a lot of work to get done to make the postseason, but it was still a performance that left Seahawks coach Pete Carroll feeling proud of his team for the effort he saw against one of the NFC's top teams, a game that, aside from far too many penalties called on both teams, was a thriller from start to finish.

"Well, that was a heck of a football game tonight," Carroll said. "It's a hard game for anybody to lose. I love the way our guys played. We played hard, tough, creative and executed, and battled the whole time. It was a fantastic effort. Give them credit, too. They were playing hard, too. Totally played for the moment. We had great leadership from our older guys. We had good play from our younger guys, too. It's unfortunate. It feels like there's a whole other factor in this game. I don't know. You guys saw it a lot better than I did, but there were just way too many penalties in this game from both sides, and we've got to get out of that kind of football. I thought so many guys came through and made big plays. Tough plays, and showed great heart and great resolve to hang in there.

"I'm proud as hell of these guys and the way we fought. And, unfortunately, there might be five plays in this game that could change the whole game, and it's just unfortunate that's the way it turned out."

While there are no moral victories in the NFL, there are definitely different types of losses. A week ago, the Seahawks failed to score an offensive touchdown and lost a lopsided game to the 49ers, the type of loss that can leave a team searching for answers. This game, while still a loss, had the Seahawks feeling a lot better about the direction the team is heading in with five games left to play.

Yes, the defense didn't play as well as it would have liked, but there were some key stops in the red zone to hold the Cowboys to field goals, and it's also hard to judge a defensive performance when so many drives were extended or aided by penalties. And more significantly, the offense showed the ability to bounce back from a rough two-game stretch with a huge game against one of the NFL's best defenses. Unfortunately the Seahawks couldn't get the final score they needed to win the game, coming up short on fourth-down twice in the final minutes of the game, but overall Thursday was a big step forward, with Geno Smith and the offense finding the end zone five times, gaining 406 yards and 25 first downs, and converting on 9 of their first 11 third downs before finishing 9 for 14.

"Absolutely, that's us right there," Carroll said of the offense. "I thought Zach (Charbonnet) pounded the football, kept it going. We didn't run the football as well as we wanted to, and we converted on third down so that we were still out there. So we had to use our play-pass game, which is still one of the best things we do, and Geno did a great job with all of that. Magnificent catches too throughout the night that kept us going. Noah (Fant)'s catches were crazy, and a bunch of them. We were really one catch away from really making this thing go our way."

Smith, who threw for 334 yards, including three touchdown passes to DK Metcalf, said the offense, "just came out and played our game. We played fast. No one was hesitant. Everyone was out there just playing hard. I thought that everyone had that drive and that focus. We wanted to get out there and get it done. It's tough to come up short in a game like this. Very fun game, a lot of back and forth. But we had the ball last. We had an opportunity to win it. I felt like we let ourselves down."

As Smith noted, the Seahawks were still disappointed to not get the job done in the end, but Carroll said, "there's no doubt" this loss felt different than last week's 31-13 loss to the 49ers.

"There's no doubt," Carroll said. "The performance last week was something I can't even explain to you. I can tell you what happened, but I can't explain why that happened. For our guys to bounce back and play against a great football team at home, they've got this big win streak and all of that and they're legit as can be, right down to the end. There's no concession to losing, but we will definitely build on this. Because the execution, the come-through and toughness, and the physicality of it, because of the respect we have for them, all of those things are of course things we can build on. There's all kinds of stuff that's going to happen. The story's not told, what's going to happen. We've got great chances again in the next couple of weeks against teams that are worthy of being on top of this thing at the end, and we're going to show the world we're worthy of being right there with them."

Players were feeling the same way as their coach after the game, with recently acquired defensive end Leonard Williams calling this "one of the most talented teams I have been a part of. There are so many opportunities in every match we have been in since I have been here for us to finish the game. There is just something small that is lacking right now that we can tighten up and finish these close games. I feel like we have all the talent in the world. The talent is there. The want to is there. It's not like guys are slacking throughout the week. Guys are working hard. We have the camaraderie and all those things. I think there are just like very small things that we need to clean up on."

Right tackle Abraham Lucas, who was playing in his first game since the season opener, added, "We lost, of course, but we played a really solid football game right up to the end. We just needed that little bit more to push us over the edge. We know we're a good football team, we've got to just keep chipping away at it."

DK Metcalf, who had a season-high 134 yards and three touchdowns on six catches, sees enough talent on the team for the Seahawks to get hot to close out the season, but the key will be for the team to function well in all three phases of the game at the same time.

"We've played games where the offense has done well and the defense hasn't, or the defense has had our back when the offense hasn't done so well," Metcalf said. "So we just have to play a complete game as a team to where we're hitting on all phases—the offense is executing, the defense is getting stops and special teams is running and hitting. Once we do that, I think we're going to be a great team."

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

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