It wasn’t pretty in any sense, but the Seattle Seahawks managed to keep their playoff hopes alive with a 13-12 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
Coming into the season, the game at Dallas looked to be one of the more challenging contests on Seattle’s schedule. However, injuries have severely depleted the Cowboys’ offense, forcing them to start Matt Cassel at quarterback in place of Tony Romo.
Still, Dallas had a lead over the Seahawks until late in the fourth quarter. A clutch drive from Russell Wilson with under two minutes remaining helped Seattle avoid an embarrassing loss while keeping in striking distance of the postseason.
Seattle’s defense did exactly what it should against a backup quarterback, while the offense still has some issues to work out.
Richard Sherman is still an elite corner
Some defensive metrics haven’t been particularly kind to Sherman this season. While Sherman has not been playing at his best, his poor numbers weren’t helped by the rest of the secondary, which looked totally out of sync until the San Francisco game in Week 7.
Sherman silenced those critics on Sunday by completely shutting down Dez Bryant, a major reason why Seattle was able to hold Dallas to just four field goals. Bryant wasn’t at full speed yet in his first game back from a broken foot, but it was still a very impressive performance against one of the most physically gifted receivers in the NFL.
Once again, the Seahawks had Sherman shadow the opponent’s top target rather than stick to one side of the field like he’s done in the past. That seems likely to continue at least against a few teams if Cary Williams continues to struggle.
There might still be hope for the offensive line
Seattle had the worst pass protection in the NFL through the first seven games of the season, surrendering 31 sacks. That included five last week against the 49ers, despite dominating every other facet of the game.
It seemed like the Cowboys would be able to harass Wilson constantly with a solid defensive line. However, the Seahawks managed to hold Dallas without a sack, the most surprising statistic of the game.
Wilson was under pressure often, but it mostly came from Greg Hardy, who has been difficult for even good offensive lines to slow down. Tom Cable has engineered some midseason offensive line turnarounds before, and the Dallas game could be a critical step in the right direction for this unit.
The offense needs this bye week
Despite dominating on the defensive end, the Seahawks again had to eek out a close win due to an offense that just hasn’t gotten much going. The offense hasn’t been great in any game this season and has only recorded 12 touchdowns, which is going to be an issue against some of the defenses Seattle faces in the second half.
Seattle totaled 323 yards of offense against Dallas and didn’t connect on any real splash plays. Marshawn Lynch was limited to 71 yards after a great performance in San Francisco, Wilson isn’t playing at his best and Jimmy Graham‘s involvement in the offense is inconsistent.
That needs to change over the bye week before Seattle hosts Arizona in a game the Seahawks have to take to remain in contention for the NFC West. Fortunately, Paul Richardson should be back by then, which could completely change the dynamic of the offense.
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