Week 7 Game Recap: Dallas Cowboys 10, Seattle Seahawks 13
What you need to know
RB Anthony Thomas started the game for the Cowboys in place of injured Julius Jones. However, during the bulk of the game Marion Barber was the featured runner being spelled on two series by Tyson Thompson. Also, when Barber wasn’t being used on first and second down, he was quickly inserted into the game on all third down plays.
QB Drew Bledsoe’s interception at the end of regulation allowed the Seahawks a chance to win. Bledsoe was able to connect with his targets for the majority of the game, but this inaccuracy on third down and his tendency to hold the ball too long ended far too many Dallas drives (nine ending in punts).
The Dallas defense did a fantastic job of shutting down the NFL’s top offense holding them to only 13 points in Seattle. They stacked the line of scrimmage with seven and eight players through most of the game showing no fear of Seattle throwing the ball deep down field. Their corners and safeties played up in anticipation of the Seahawks throwing the ball short. When Seattle attempted to run the ball with RB Shaun Alexander they had no problem shooting the gaps and keeping him in check.
The Cowboys shut down RB Shaun Alexander, but the Seahawks remained committed to keeping him involved in their game plan. Alexander remained the focus of the Seattle offense throughout the game.
QB Matt Hasselbeck survived a heavy pass rush without making too many mistakes and avoiding sacks. Both of his interceptions were deflected balls that popped back up into the air that could have been caught by the intended receiver.
WR Joe Jurevicius and WR Peter Warrick started in place of injured receivers Jackson and Engram (each has now missed three straight games). Warrick saw three targets early in the game and quickly disappeared. Jurevicius was QB Matt Hasselbeck’s primary target for the bulk of the game, but sat out the last drive after he was shaken up. Youngsters DJ Hackett and Jerheme Urban both saw considerable action late in the game and came up with big plays.
What you ought to know
|QB Drew Bledsoe, Pass: 13 - 24 - 136 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 3 - 1 - 0|
Bledsoe began the game looking sharp. His fade to WR Keyshawn Johnson in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown had nice touch on it and only Johnson had a chance to make a play on the ball. However, Bledsoe struggled from that point in the game converting third downs. Six times drives ended with a Bledsoe incompletion or a sack on third down because he was hesitant in the pocket. Bledsoe’s first interception was a deep ball for WR Terry Glenn. The defensive back got a hand on the ball deflecting it to SS Michael Boulware who was running in stride with both of them. His second interception was the play of the game allowing Seattle PK Josh Brown to attempt the game winning field goal.
Barber looked very impressive in this game. He exploded through holes and broke tackles piling up 95 yards rushing. Barber showed good shoulder lean and destroyed SS Michael Boulware in the hole on one particularly impressive run. Of note, Barber entered the game as the feature running back on all third down and long situations and was in the game on both of the Dallas trips into the red zone in the fourth quarter. Also of note, Barber fumbled once, but a Cowboy recovered the ball.
Thompson got two opportunities to enter the game and be the featured ball carrier late in the game. On his first drive he showed great burst breaking off 6, 10 and 14 yard runs. Thompson displayed his tremendous speed and ability to get to the corner turning it up field for positive yardage.
Thomas started the game for the Cowboys, but re-entered the game for only two other drives during the first half. Thomas didn’t see the field during the second half. When he did get the ball he ran hard and hit his designated hole with his head down and shoulders lowered. His six carries went for 3, 2, 4, 2, 5, and 3 yards.
Johnson was QB Drew Bledsoe’s primary target early in the game. Johnson pulled in three of the first four Dallas completions in the first quarter including a difficult leaping over the shoulder touchdown in the corner of the end zone barely keeping his toes in bounds.
Glenn dropped his first target in the game, and it didn’t get much better from that point on. Glenn was targeted on both Dallas interceptions. However, he was able to draw a pass interference flag on third and nine early in the second quarter to keep a drive alive. Three of his four receptions came very late in the game. Two of which were while the Seahawks were in a prevent defense leaving the middle of the field wide open.
Price took over the third wide receiver job this week because WR Patrick Crayton was out with an ankle injury. Price entered the game late in the first quarter when the Cowboys penetrated deep into Seahawks territory. Price was given an end around run from the Seattle 27 yard line that went for nine yards. Price caught his only target during the second quarter on a deep in route. Price’s only other action in the game was returning punts.
Witten’s first target was a short out on the sideline, but it went for a long gain down the sideline when he broke a tackle by overpowering the smaller defensive back. Witten saw two other targets in the second quarter and caught one other pass at the beginning of the third quarter. After this Witten wasn’t a factor in the game.
Cortez missed his first field goal attempt in the game from 29 yards after Seattle turned the ball over at the Seattle nine yard line late in the game. Cortez immediately pointed to his holder as the kick fluttered wide to the left. He was able to hit his other attempt that followed an interception by QB Matt Hasselbeck.
From the beginning of the game the Cowboys stacked the line of scrimmage with seven, eight, and even nine players on some plays. Their commitment to stuffing Alexander was apparent. Alexander gained three yards or less on 13 of his 21 carries.
The Cowboys only sacked QB Matt Hasselbeck one time in the game, but they had constant pressure on him from the start and hurried him into two intentional grounding penalties as well as two interceptions. LB Demarcus Ware got close to Hasselbeck only one time in the game as he was matched up with LT Walter Jones for the entire game. The constant pressure came up the gut from blitzing linebackers. The Cowboys showed no fear of being beaten down field by long passes. The corners and safeties play up in press coverage the entire game knowing Seattle was only throwing short passes. However, on Seattle’s final drive that tied the game Dallas dropped back into a deeper coverage allowing Hasselbeck more time to see the field.
Hasselbeck took a beating from the Cowboys. He was hit more by Dallas than any other team so far this season, mostly from blitzes up the middle. His 23 out of 42 passing effort (55%) was his lowest for the season. Although Hasselbeck was only sacked once in the game, he was flagged twice for intentional grounding and threw two interceptions after being hurried more than he’s accustomed to. To be fair, both of his interceptions were balls that hit his intended receiver in the hands, but each was deflected up in the air and picked off. Hasselbeck showed solid decision making when he was under the heavy rush. Down by seven points with the clock ticking down the Cowboys played more prevent defense and stopped bringing the intense pass rush. Hasselbeck was able to complete all four of his attempts on their final drive.
Alexander found it very tough to run in this game. The Cowboys showed no fear of the Seahawks throwing the ball deep down field and stacked the line of scrimmage. Often Alexander had to cut prematurely or was hit in the backfield. Eight of his carries in the game went for no gain or less. All four of Alexander’s passing targets were plays that were not designed for him. In each case Alexander was the check down outlet for QB Matt Hasselbeck. Alexander had a chance to score from the one yard line late in the game, but was stuffed at the line of scrimmage. Seattle went with play action on second down and scored stealing his only chance for an easy touchdown. Even though Dallas consistently stuffed the Seattle running game, head coach Mike Holmgren remained committed to getting Alexander his touches throughout the game. It paid off when Alexander’s longest rush in the game (11 yards) came on Seattle’s game tying drive near the end of regulation.
This was a typical Mack Strong game with no carries and two passing targets.
Morris was on the field for only a few plays spelling RB Shaun Alexander. He had no carries or targets.
Jurevicius remained as QB Matt Hasselbeck’s most reliable target while both starters are out with injury. Jurevicius ran mostly short crossing routes along with some quick slants and outs. However, Jurevicius was injured on the sideline as the Seahawks drove down the field for their lone touchdown. The injury occurred when Jurevicius bobbled a pass that was nearly picked off, but when the defensive back also bobbled the ball Jurevicius got it back. He wasn’t unable to prepare himself for the big hit that came because he was concentrating on catching the ball. Even though the made the catch, there was a holding penalty on an offensive lineman that negated the play.
Hackett had a tough time connecting with QB Matt Hasselbeck. Often Hackett didn’t appear to be on the same page as Hasselbeck. On top of this Hackett had a terrible drop early in the third quarter. However, Hasselbeck appeared to be committed to getting Hackett involved in the offense. Hackett was targeted deep three times in the game. Also, Hackett was able to draw two pass interference flags during the game. He went high in the air to catch his last pass and did a nice job of getting his toes down at the one yard line setting up the game tying touchdown.
Urban made three big catches late in the fourth quarter. He made a 20 yard catch shortly followed by a 16 yard sliding grab on the sideline to get the Seahawks offense moving after it was lifeless for most of the game. His leaping 22 yard reception on the first play of Seattle’s final drive got them out of a deep hole and started the march towards the game tying touchdown. QB Matt Hasselbeck targeted Urban on a similar play earlier in the game, but the defensive player was able to make a nice play getting an arm between Urban and the ball. Both plays were good examples of Urban’s ability to get high in the air attempting to catch the ball at its highest point.
Warrick started the game for the Seahawks, but didn’t see a target again after the first quarter. Warrick ended the first Seattle drive when a ball deflected off his hands and was intercepted. Also of note, Seattle utilized a wide receiver screen play designed to get the ball in Warrick’s hands in the open field.
Did not play due to cracked ribs.
Did not play due to knee surgery.
Stevens pulled in his first reception on Seattle’s first play of the game for the second week in a row. He followed up the first one shortly after with another similar ten yard quick dump over the line. Stevens was the target on the second Hasselbeck interception. He didn’t work his way back to the ball allowing the defensive back the opportunity to get a hand in front causing the deflection. However, Stevens made up for this with his beautiful 22 yard catch on Seattle’s final drive to tie the game. Stevens beat his man straight up the seam making the over the shoulder catch.
Hannam’s first target was a short out on third down and long that had little significance. However, Hannam’s other target tied the game at 10-10. Hannam’s rolling one yard touchdown reception came off play action on second down.
Brown came up huge in the game hitting both of his attempts. His 55 yarder just before halftime got the Seahawks on the board giving them some momentum heading into the locker room. Brown put the Seahawks two games up in the NFC West with his game winning 50-yarder at the end of regulation.
The Seahawks' front seven didn’t handle the Dallas' rushing game with much success, but did make plays on third down to force punts and get the Cowboys off the field. RB Marion Barber found large holes to burst through and broke tackles on his way to a near 100 yard performance. Seattle allowed nine carries in the game of at least seven yards. Barber embarrassed SS Michael Boulware when the two met in the hole and Boulware ended up on his back.
DE Grant Wistrom silenced critics today with a huge performance. Combining with DE Bryce Fisher, the pair combined for 14 tackles, four assists, and three sacks. Their ability to put pressure on QB Drew Bledsoe forced several errant throws and got the Dallas offense off the field. Backup CB Jordan Babineaux intercepted Bledsoe with less than ten seconds allowing PK Josh Brown to win the game at the end of regulation. SS Michael Boulware also intercepted a pass in the game that was broken up by CB Kelly Herndon. The ball ricocheted off WR Terry Glenn and Herndon before Boulware was able to catch the deflection and return it to near midfield. Boulware’s interception set up the Brown field goal just before half.