The Morning After: Seahawks Ride Dem Cowboys, Frustrate FOX Announcers in 21-12 Victory
Offense
Defense
Special Teams
3.6Game Rating
Reader Rating: (23 Votes)

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Cowboys fans around the world will wake up this morning excitedly unwrapping Christmas presents. Many will tear the wrapping paper open to reveal a Cowboys jersey, t-shirt, hat, mug, or some other team paraphernalia. Their first glance will send adrenalin pumping through their veins with excitement and glee. Then, a memory will flash. Byron Maxwell punching the ball free from Dez Bryant for a fumble. Justin Coleman snatching a Dak Prescott pass and returning it for a touchdown. Bobby Wagner chasing down Ezekiel Elliott and slamming him to the ground. Excitement will be replaced by resignation. Pride with shame. Merry Christmas, Cowboys fans. Seahawks Claus came to town, and decided you were all naughty.

No two Cowboys fans were more disappointed than the FOX broadcasting crew of Troy Aikman and Joe Buck. Apparently, the Seahawks lost more than a game last week when they were dismantled by the Rams. They also lost the right to any form of respect from the announcers. Aikman and Buck called this game as if Jerry Jones was their boss. They were practically bursting with anticipation to share stats about why the Seahawks defense was done and why the Cowboys are elite on offense when Elliott is available to play.

They got a little of what they wanted early. Every Elliott 3-yard run was celebrated like a 40-yard gallop. But that breakaway never came. Dallas expected to dominate the Seahawks on the ground. That dominance never came. What they and the FOX crew were left with was equivocating horrible pass interference penalties against the Seahawks, and belittling the Seattle defensive performance by describing the game as a ugly.

Far more ugly than the game was the coverage. This Seahawks defense has been historically good over the past six years. They are the best defense of this generation by a long stretch. They are better than the Cowboys offense will ever be. Seahawks fans sold out the Kingdome to watch Dave Krieg play, are consistently among the highest in television ratings, and travel as well as any fanbase in the league. This franchise has made the playoffs 12 times in the past 20 years, won 13 playoff games, and made 3 Super Bowls. Far more than the Cowboys 8 playoff appearances, 2 playoff wins, and 0 Super Bowl appearances. We get it. The Cowboys used to be great. When Windows 95 was buzzworthy.

Show some damn respect for a franchise that has mattered the last two decades. Think they are on the last legs after the game against the Rams? Fine. Honor them with reflections on what they have done, and marvel at the spirit and professionalism on display when they rise up to stop what has been an unstoppable offense when their star running back is on the field. Listening to Aikman and Buck spend the entire game trying to force the narrative they desired blew past infuriating and became comical. This team, this fanbase, this franchise deserve respect. They have earned it. Shame on you FOX for refusing to give it.

 

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Since we know that respect will not be coming anytime soon, let me offer some. They say that you do not truly know someone until they go through adversity. Some people fall down and focus on the pain. They amplify the anguish and look to others for pity. The Seahawks defense could have easily looked at the beating they took last week, understood their long playoff odds, focused on being away from home on Christmas eve, and mailed this game in. Aches and injuries scream a little louder and a relaxing offseason tugs a little harder when there is only pride to play for. They could have turned down the intensity after seeing their offense fail time and time again. Instead, they persisted. They dominated. They crushed.

Many fans will read that and say, “Well, that’s what they are paid millions of dollars to do!” That is not how motivation works. Players who are only playing for the money are exactly the types of players who would fold in moments like this. There is a reason players call it a “business decision” when someone turns down a chance to make or take a hit. The players on this defense go about their business differently, and I am grateful for it.

If there was any doubt how important a healthy Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright are to this defense, there should be none after this game. Both linebackers were brilliant against the Cowboys. Wagner was back to his heat-seeking self, and Wright had an interception and fumble recovery. Elliott’s longest run of the day was 9 yards, and he averaged just 4.0 yards per rush. He ended up with less than half his goal of 200 rushing yards, and his offense failed to score a touchdown in a game he played in for the first time, a span of 25 games.

Seattle generated a good pass rush, with Frank Clark leading the way. He has one sack and a number of pressures. People seem to be down on Clark for some reason, but he recorded his 9th sack yesterday and now has 22.0 sacks in his first three seasons with the Seahawks. That moves Clark past Cortez Kennedy with the second-highest sack total in a player’s first three seasons. Only Jeff Bryant (25.5) has had more.

I’m guessing people would like to see Clark be more consistent. That’s not how most pass rushers work. A lot of players have a few “burst” games now and then, and little some half-sacks and one-sack games in between. Clark definitely has room to improve, but he is easily the Seahawks best young defender. He has been a productive pass rusher and is very solid against the run. He was great against Dallas.

Earl Thomas garnered some headlines after the game after he entered the Cowboys locker room and told their coach to “Come get me,” making his desire to play in Dallas public. Entire Seattle Times columns were dedicated to this subject this morning. Please. Thomas is entering the last year of his deal. His best friends, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman, may not be playing for the Seahawks again. This defense is likely going through a transition and rebuilding period. He just got married. Is it really so surprising or horrible that he is thinking about what comes next?

If Thomas was going through the motions on the field, I could understand outrage. His motions were the typical Thomas blur on Sunday. He led the team in tackles and was terrific yet again. Thomas is a Seahawks legend no matter what happens in future years. He is one of the best players to ever put the uniform on. If Jerry Rice can play for the Raiders and the Seahawks, Earl Thomas can play for the Cowboys. Just don’t expect John Schneider to feel any motivation to honor the requested relocation unless it fits with his roster plans.

No team gets better by moving a motivated Hall of Fame safety in his prime. If Thomas is not going to be at his best here, and Seattle can get significant draft capital for him to help rebuild the roster, Schneider will consider it. Mostly, there is nothing to see here.

Speaking of nothing to see, how about that Seahawks offense? The 21 points they scored was the most scored by a Seahawks offense that had less than 136 total yards since Gino Torretta and Stan Gelbaugh led the team to a win over the Raiders with 28 points on just 129 yards in 1996. It was another dreadfully inefficient performance by a group that appears incapable of finding consistency in any part of their game.

What I can compliment is their ability to counterpunch in this game. Three times the Seahawks defense caused a turnover. Coleman took one of those back for a touchdown. The Seahawks offense took the other two back for touchdowns. That included a 79-yard drive. The passes to both Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin for touchdowns were Russell Wilson’s best throws on the day. Baldwin’s release was a thing of beauty yet again.

The offensive line had a terrible time creating space for running backs or protecting Wilson. Mike Davis ran hard, but there was little room. Thomas Rawls looked refreshed and continues to make a case for more carries, or at least a higher share of the workload.

There does not seem to be any formula that will result in this offense finding reliable footing. That is the story of this season, even if the headlines are about the aging Legion of Boom. Remarkably, Seattle has a chance to make the playoffs next week if they win against the Cardinals at home and the Panthers beat the Falcons in Atlanta. The fitting end to this season would be 10 wins without a playoff berth. No matter how this season ends, this team continues to earn my respect with the way they handle adversity. Merry Christmas to all who are celebrating today, even you Cowboys fans who choose to put that jersey in the back of the closet for now.

15 Responses

  1. Kevin

    This just goes to show again, that a strong defense will carry you further than a strong offense. Can you imagine where the hawks would be without our D. Buck and Aikman need to come to grips that their Boys just got handled by a defense with just a couple of offensive plays thrown in. Even with some defensive stars out it didn’t matter as the Hawk shined….again. Hey guys, there may be a pattern developing here. Maybe Joe and Troy don’t have access to stats

    Reply
  2. SikhHawk

    One of our greatest games!. So proud to see them bounce back from such painful defeats inflicted via 1- vile head hits by Jags on KJR & Jimmy G. 2- By NFL’s modern day Lawrence Taylor (A.Donald). 3- By injury decimation (Future HoF RS&KC out & BWags hobbled, Pro B’s Avril&Bennett&D.Brown also hobbled).

    Panthers can easily beat choking Falcons.
    Don’t forget how we beat NFL’s best team, Eagles.
    Chemistry of OL will only get better, C.Carson our best RB could be back soon.
    Naz J, D Jordon, Brandon, will make DL stronger. D Shead & B Max & S Griffen & JC will make Secondary Stronger.
    Best of all Russ & Jimmy & Doug & P.Rich & Tyler L got their mojo back.
    Why cant we win SB52? Why cant we go to Panthers then Eagles then Vikes to beat Steelers. Yes we can !
    BELIEVE…

    Reply
  3. Uncle Bob

    Okay, I’ll lapse into a binary view here. In the immediate, this was a deserved win and with a slim but possible chance at entering the playoffs. In the longer view we still have the same issues many have lamented here in the past several weeks, if not all season, that don’t bode well for championship expectations.

    Sure, the Fox crew didn’t give the Hawks a chance, and didn’t hide their disappointment at the flow and outcome. To cut them just a bit of slack, pretty much none of the national (aka outside Seattle/Wa. St.) talking heads and other commenters gave the team a chance. The kinder remarks tended toward “…injuries, age…….” the harsher were slamming the “window” shut hard. The defense did a pretty good job of bouncing back after the embarrassment of last week. But the Cowboys, both players and even moreso coaches, aren’t in the same conversation with the new, improved Rams. The Boys made a lot of mistakes, and probably believed too much of the Ellliott hype as well. To the Hawks credit they capitalized on those errors, both caused and gifted, as they should have. While the defense did reasonably well, the offense continued it’s ineptitude beyond the two scoring ops from turnovers. Our two headed offensive coordinator program (not what the team acknowledges, but it is the functional reality) is just not championship capable. As much as I’d hope this season has demonstrated that deficiency I don’t believe we’ll see a pro-active change. Hopefully I’m wrong about that.

    We’re just about a week or two away from the domino falls in the coaching ranks. The new, favorite flavor in McVay (and Shanahan will likely shine next season) will motivate the copycats to seek out those young, offensive studs to elevate to HC/OC ranks. There’s probably somewhere between 5 and 12 staff changes likely this off season. Some of the cast offs aren’t worth considering, but there just might be an under appreciated gem available……especially those not from the favored age group. Our team will have opportunities to get an offensive coordinator that could work to the player skills and scheme against opponent weaknesses, all at the same time (what a concept!)……..but will they admit they should? Time will tell.

    Reply
  4. andy

    Not quite sure why Brian focused on the announcers. We all know they are biased. Nothing new. Who cares? Regarding the team, be positive but the team is not that good. The defense was good, but Dallas pretty much “handed” us the game. Dallas’s OL is not the same as last year with the loss of two starters. When TS left the game, it was pretty much it. No outside thread. DP is showing why he was a fourth rounder. I wonder who has a “better” receiving corps- Dallas or Seattle. The game was unwatchable from the offensive perspective. Personally, I don’t want them to make the playoffs because that is the only way of “forcing’ them to make significant changes. If they make it and get bounced or embarrassed again on national TV, then it would be the same damn excuse- oh the injuries.

    Reply
  5. Jonathan

    I never thought I’d agree with the notion of getting 10 wins (for pride) and missing the playoffs (for practicality) but I do. Entirely. Changes are needed on the staff and the roster.

    On another note, I’m furious with Earl Thomas. I grew up in Texas and watched this guy play for UT, then was thrilled to see him get picked by the Hawks after I moved to Seattle. IMHO, Pete Carroll made him what he is today. He saw the diamond in the rough. Earl should show some respect and at least keep his thoughts to himself… running over to the other locker room and offering himself to another team really rubs me the wrong way. I’m hoping he offers some kind of public apology.

    Reply
    • Brad

      I agree with your comment on ET. That kind of hurts. Show some respect to the team and fans! He lost me today. I like the intensity but use your head! I wonder if there has been a “divide” of late. It’s time for new blood. I really don’t think they can afford to trade down this year. Trade Thomas, get another 1st and move on.

      Reply
    • Andy

      Agreed about the ill-advised action but that should tell you a lot about the team situation moving forward. I don’t disagree with PC has had helped ET to be what he is today, but I’d think ET can excel in any organization. I believe he was the second-ranked safety, behind Eric Berry, coming out of the 2010 draft.

      Reply
  6. hawkdawg

    No problem with Earl wanting out of Seattle, if he does. But I do have a problem with him leaving his teammates in the locker room after a big win to “run after” the losing team’s coach in the opposing locker room, inviting that team to “come after him” when they can.

    Substance ok, context stunk.

    Reply
  7. Christine Hansen

    As usual, I appreciate your many insights making a clear picture by putting things in context.
    Fox, the unbiased station, put on two very biased announcers. What a surprise.
    Proud of the Seahawks and will continue to be.
    Merry Christmas to you, your family, and all Hawk fans.

    Reply
  8. Reggie Howard

    Seahawks players all showed character, determination, unity and all-in commitment. This is what matters most. Made doubters look foolish. Also, these past couple weeks super-exposed our crippling weakness: our Zone-read Offensive Collapse of a line (and its mastermind coach).

    Reply
  9. Doug

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you Brian, and thank you for all you give in writing these posts!

    I remain optimistic about this team making it to the playoffs. Somehow, they always find a way.

    Reply
  10. Hawkman

    Fox has many biased announcers on probably the most Biased national station out there! Thought I was listening to the hometown crew on the Jax game –
    Again the offense couldn’t get out of it’s own way mostly thanks to the O-line . If they don’t revamp the coaching and the players ( on the O-line) this off season then the whole staff should go. Rawls FINALLY got a couple of carries and showed he is not done. Want a run game, Fire Cable , get some quality Guards and send Ifedi packing ( or give him a shot again at RG but hope he doesn’t win it ). Pocic and Fant can battle it out for R tackle , a healthy [email protected] and Britt at Center with two Quality Guards and they will probably have one last shot with this defensive group for a run next year . Keep Earl , maybe Sherm ( but they have options at Corner now) Get rid of Graham , new blood at LB and DL is needed to at least groom , bring back Kasem Williams ( if they can ) and for God sakes hopefully they open their eyes and can Cable and fix the O-line . It is the only way to make a run next year ! Again and again and again !!!!!

    Reply
  11. Ross

    Remember post Super Bowl win it was the beginning of a dynasty? Didn’t happen. I suggest poor drafting last 4 years (oline specifically) is reason. Consistently trading down for value failed. Draft capital was used for oline but picks were too low. A gamble that didn’t work.

    Reply
  12. Cathy Shallow

    Well said, Brian! I just cringed at the so-called television ‘coverage’. It was truly sickening and they should NOT be allowed to be so biased.

    Reply

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