ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 06: Jon Ryan #9 of the Seattle Seahawks punts the ball away in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on November 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys defeated the Seahawks 23-13. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
The basic stats don't tell the whole story, but they're worth looking at.
The Seahawks lost 23-13 on Sunday but managed to stay in the game until into the fourth quarter. They also covered the spread. So I suppose it wasn't all bad. Let's take a look at some of the numbers and what they might mean.
Tarvaris Jackson finished 17 for 30 for 221 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. HIs first interception was a failed throw-away attempt on a screen pass that failed to develop. He tried to throw the ball into the ground but simply threw it into the defenses waiting arms. Unlucky, -- ill-advised on Jackson's part but it's not like he was forcing it into coverage or throwing it into double teams. His second pick was a terrible decision, there's no way around it. He'll have nightmares about that throw. He drifted to the right out of the pocket, threw off his back foot in the face of pressure, and the ball simply fluttered and was easily picked off by the Cowboys.
"I feel very sick about how I played today," Jackson said. "I just made some stupid mistakes. You can't do it. I've been staying away from those mistakes the whole season, and it's just one of those games where you just do something stupid. So, I've got to watch the film. But I already know what I did wrong. But I'll just watch it and try to get better."
That's really all you can say about it. He didn't look flustered, he didn't look to be pressing. He still looks the part for the most part and on the surface he had an "ok" game. His final interception was arguably a Doug Baldwin catch - it was one of those "tie goes to the receiver" toss-ups that the refs probably got wrong. Regardless, it was in garbage time so I'm not overly concerned about that third miscue one way or another.
On the day though, TJack made two egregious mistakes and otherwise looked average. It's a game you can build on. It's not a huge setback, but it proves that Jackson still has to show consistency. His 7.4 yards per attempt average is respectable and on the year he's averaging 6.9 yards per attempt.
Running the football went a lot better for the Seahawks. Marshawn Lynch looked good, rumbling and stumbling for 135 yards on 23 carries for a 5.9 per rush average. Leon Washington ran thrice for 16 yards (5.3 ypc) and Justin Forsett tacked on two rushes 8 yards (4.0 ypc). That's a total of 162 yards on the ground, by far the Seahawks best rushing performance on the year.
"Some really good things showed up," Head Coach Pete Carroll said. "We made a big emphasis to make sure that we found out if we could run the football. And we wanted to find out if we could run it against these guys because they're really good. We thought we saw something and we went after it."
Furthermore, the Seahawks rushed 30 times and threw the ball 30 times, the kind of balance they've long preached attaining. Now, obviously the end result wasn't what they were hoping for, but this kind of thing is something you can take away from this loss as a positive, and Carroll certainly is.
As for the rest of the offense, there were a few bright spots. First in my mind is the re-emergence of Mike Williams into the Seahawks offense. Williams, prior to today, had just 9 receptions for 89 yards on the season after leading the team last year. He didn't have a stellar game necessarily, but he had team-high (tied with Sidney Rice) three receptions for 41 yards and most importantly, all three of those receptions came for first downs. Getting him involved in the offense will be important, in my opinion, for the rest of the season.
Sidney Rice led the team with 3 catches for 69 yards, Doug Baldwin had 3 catches for 31 yards, and Anthony McCoy had two big catches for 44 yards. Significant for McCoy that he didn't have any drops. On his final catch, a big 31-yard gain, he got up and pumped his fist emphatically, the first time I've seen him show any major emotion on the field. It was good to see.
The offensive line did well today, giving up only one sack and helping Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks backfield rush for 162 yards. They did have some key false start and holding penalties though that really hurt. They corralled DeMarcus Ware all day, and that's definitely a positive.
The defense didn't fare well in this game. The Seahawks gave up 442 total yards to the Cowboys and that included 163 yards on the ground. For a team that was leading the NFL in opponents rushing yards per attempt prior to the game at 3.2 yards per carry, giving up 5.6 yards per rush to this Cowboys team is certainly disappointing. Credit is due to DeMarco Murray for breaking tackles left and right but the Seahawks normally airtight gap discipline went out the window, as Murray broke off runs of 32, 22, and 14 yards throughout the game.
Along those lines, the Seahawks pass defense gave up some big gains as well - surrendering passes of 39 and 37 to Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, respectively, and then later 33 yards and 23 yards to Jason Witten. These types of huge gashes in the defense are not only bad for field position, but bad for morale and momentum.
I don't know if the Seahawks' defense in general took a step back or regressed in this game - the Cowboys offense is better than a lot of the teams the Seahawks have played this season (if not all) - but their body language and attitude was suspect.
Earl Thomas had a good game and saved a touchdown on the aforementioned 32 yard run by DeMarco Murray by dragging him out of bounds at the one yard line. He finished the game with a team-high 8 tackles (tied with David Hawthone) including one tackle for a loss. Kam Chancellor had a strong game as well with five tackles and a pass defensed. He had two monster hits in what's become expected in every game.
-- TIme of possession was won by the Seahawks for the first time, I believe, this season. The Hawks ended with a ToP of 30:33.
-- The Seahawks finished with 18 first downs, the same number as the victorious Cowboys.
-- The Hawks went 2 for 10 on third downs, compared to 6 for 14 for the Cowboys. On fourth down, the Hawks finished 1 for 2.
-- Finally, the Seahawks were penalized 10 times for a loss of 88 yards. Awful.