The Seahawks won and that feels good.
It’s not just the winning that feels good, after three straight regular-season defeats and four preseason toe stubs. It’s winning by being better prepared, cleaner, and more well-rounded.
The Cowboys were strategically overmatched. They burned all three first-half timeouts on defense when the much-maligned Seahawks offense changed pace on them at opportune and unpredictable times. In the postgame locker room interview happy times, WR1 Tyler Lockett spilled the beans a little. He confessed that *some* hurry-up was part of Schottenheimer and Carroll’s game plan, while cautioning fans to not expect too much of it.
The Cowboys were out-executed. Penalties at the most inopportune times (roughing RW on the first third-down play, putting Seabass in much, MUCH more favorable position to end the half, giving away 30 yards on a punt return, stepping out of bounds in the red zone) meant the Seahawks won the flag game. Or lost Sunday’s capture the flag event. Which you want to lose. In football. Whatever. It’s a very bad analogy and you should feel very bad for reading it.
Timing, though. The Seahawks took an intentional delay of game on their next-to-last possession and suffered three calls against them on the Cowboys’ garbage time TD drive. Earl Thomas cost his team a few yards for BOWING to the opposing sideline after his SECOND interception of the day. You can more than live with insignificant or alpha dog penalties. *When it mattered,* Seattle was cleaner.
There’s living on the edge of legality and getting burned, as the 2012-14 Seahawks regularly did, en route to leading the league in penalties over that three-year period. And then there’s straight undisciplined play, which the Cowboys showed us Sunday.
Finally? The Cowboys were not as well-rounded as the Seahawks. When LB Sean Lee went out with an injury, his replacement was anonymous. Meanwhile, for the good guys’ LB crew, Mychal Kendricks was everywhere, making people forget that the Seahawks prefer to run a 4-2-5 defense. Jarran Reed brought interior pressure, Bradley McDougald was omnipresent in coverage, and Frank Clark gave Dallas’ OL fits. And they’re not even Seattle’s brightest stars. The second tier of Seahawks was vastly superior to the second tier of Cowboys. That was the real difference Sunday, as the defense looked positively Carrollian again.
Bonus item: here’s how it sounded (defeaning) when Kam Chancellor was introduced as the flag raiser. It’s the loudest cheer I’ve heard in 14 years of season ticketing. Good for him. Fuckin good for him.