SEATTLE – The Seattle Seahawks have been insisting they had it in them.
They finally proved it, and just in the nick of time.
The Seahawks established a running game, forced three turnovers, and generally looked like a classic Pete Carroll team as they beat the Dallas Cowboys 24-13 at CenturyLink Field on Sunday, resurrecting their season and improving to 1-2 in front of a charged-up home crowd.
After months of talking about re-establishing their identity as a running team, the Seahawks finally did it. Chris Carson looked outstanding, running hard and often on the way to 32 carries for 102 yards and the team’s first rushing touchdown by a running back this season.
"We ran the ball 39 times today – that’s what we’re talking about!" Carroll said after the game.
On the other side of the ball, none of the rumors surrounding Earl Thomas on Sunday morning seemed to affect his play on the field. After reports emerged that the Seahawks were considering fining him for missing two practices last week – and that they’re still considering trading him – Thomas intercepted Dak Prescott twice, once in the first quarter and once in the fourth. Thomas now has three picks on the season, and had seven tackles in the game as well.
"I haven’t even talked to him about it, other than we made it through and we'll talk next week," Carroll said after the game. "There’s nothing to even tell you about it right now. I’ll let you know next week."
Thomas addressed the situation after the game, saying Cowboys coaches approached him before the game and implied he'd be traded tomorrow.
"I don’t know if it was (my last game with the Seahawks), but I had a damn good time," he said. "I’ll go out like that if I have to."
Russell Wilson had a solid if not mind-blowing afternoon – which was actually a good sign, because it was the rare game in recent memory where the Seahawks didn’t need him to carry the offense by himself. Wilson completed 16 of 26 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He was sacked twice.
The Seahawks’ first scoring drive of the game was a sign of things to come. Seattle drove 64 yards, converted three third downs, and Carson’s 19-yard swing pass set up Wilson’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Brown.
The first half was also confidence-inspiring and featured the most complete football they’d played to date this season. Carson had 14 carries for 50 yards in the first half, and Seattle had 18 rushing plays on offense compared to 20 passing attempts. They also had 12 first downs in the first half compared to the Cowboys 4, 202 yards of offense to the Cowboys’ 92, and no turnovers to the Cowboys’ 1.
One thing that’s still not fixed: The curse of the first drive. The Seahawks’ first drive started off promising, featuring a 12-yard run by Carson. But it ultimately stalled out, making it 32 games in a row in which Seattle failed to score a touchdown on its opening possession.
A roughing the passer penalty late in the fourth quarter kept things interesting. The Seahawks Quinton Jefferson was called for putting his hands on Prescott on 4th-and-3, with Dallas on its own 27. But a 16-yard pass and the penalty suddenly put the Cowboys on the move. Fortunately for the Seahawks, Thomas intercepted a hot potato and sealed the game with just over three minutes to play.
Seattle heads back on the road next Sunday, when it will travel to Arizona to play the Cardinals in a 1:05 p.m. game that will be broadcast on the official home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX.