It seems that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has come to the realization that his team isn’t going to out-talent too many clubs, particularly on the perimeter, so his winning formula is to knock the snot out of people on both sides of the ball and dare the refs to call it.
We’ve probably all seen the highlight of Golden Tate walloping Cowboys LB Sean Lee on a blindside hit worthy of Hines Ward, but there were plenty of jarring hits in the game by both sides, as well as guys laying on top of one another and leaning on top of one another after whistles.
Obviously, special teams played a big role in the game, with Dallas’ Felix Jones coughing up the opening kickoff to give the Seahawks three points (and in effect, the opening possession in both halves) and a blocked punt touchdown later in the first quarter, but the Cowboys clawed to within 10-7 and had the ball, so I’m not sure that’s a viable excuse for them.
The fact of the matter is that the Cowboys skill guys all played poorly. Tony Romo wasn’t sharp, throwing one bad interception and having another potential one clank off a linebacker’s hands.
Dez Bryant dropped two passes, fumbled a third and had another fumble on a punt return. Jason Witten dropped three, including a potential touchdown. Miles Austin had a relatively quiet day aside from one touchdown, and Kevin Ogletree, whom everyone rushed to pick up on the waiver wire in fantasy, had all of one catch.
The Seahawks kept things simple on offense once they got the early lead, grinding it out with Marshawn Lynch and asking rookie QB Russell Wilson to complete short, safe passes.
Neither of their second-half touchdown drives were cheap, though: eight plays, 90 yards on the first one and 12 plays, 77 yards on the second.
Lynch, Wilson and rookie Ryan Turbin pounded the Cowboys defense before a miscommunication between the linebackers gave Seahawks TE Anthony McCoy an easy touchdown in the third quarter, while Lynch powered through a dog-tired Dallas defense on the second.
It could just be a one-game blip, but this game won’t do much to dispel the stereotype of the Cowboys being a glamour team that can’t hang against teams that want to bang them around.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks (as well as the Cardinals) both look to be modeling themselves after the top dogs in their division, the 49ers. It sounds funny considering the 49ers rep of being a “finesse” team during the glory 80’s years and the way the Rams and Falcons tried to build high-scoring offenses rival that, but now, the NFC West seems to be the premiere “black-and-blue” division in the league while footballs are being chucked with impunity everywhere else.