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Overcoming Gaffes and Injuries, Seahawks Win Bizarre Showdown with Cowboys

Playing far from a perfect game and giving away points in the process, Seattle overcame numerous mistakes, defensive breakdowns, and injuries to hold off a talented Dallas squad and improve to 3-0 on the season.

It was far from pretty and the outcome seemed to be in doubt for much of the second half, but despite several significant miscues on both sides of the ball and a plethora of injuries, the Seahawks held on for a 38-31 win over the Cowboys on Sunday.

Continuing to play at an MVP level, Russell Wilson threw four touchdowns on the afternoon, including three to receiver Tyler Lockett, tying Patrick Mahomes for the most touchdown passes through the first three games in NFL history. While the defense gave up over 500 yards of offense, an interception by Shaquill Griffin, a safety by Bryan Mone, and a fumble recovery by Benson Mayowa proved pivotal to victory.

Here are some takeaways from Seattle’s bizarre win over Dallas at CenturyLink Field:

1. Attrition has really started to take a toll on the Seahawks on both sides of the football.

Injuries have been a prevailing storyline early in the 2020 NFL season and the Seahawks have been far from exempt. Last week, Bruce Irvin and Marquise Blair suffered torn ACLs, Quinton Dunbar was ruled out before the game with a knee issue, and the horrible luck continued into Week 3. First, rookie guard Damien Lewis exited with a sprained ankle on Seattle’s second offensive drive. Then in the second half, rookie linebacker Jordyn Brooks was ruled out with a knee injury to end his first career start early and star safety Jamal Adams walked gingerly off the field with a groin injury, eventually forcing him to sit the rest of the game as well. Making a miserable situation worse, running back Chris Carson’s leg was twisted up badly on a run late in the fourth quarter and didn’t return either.

2. DK Metcalf made the most gigantic mistake imaginable… then totally redeemed himself.

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After botching a would-be 63-yard touchdown reception in the first half and having the football punched out of his hands just short of the goal line late in the first quarter, Metcalf looked like he would be the scapegoat in a Seahawks loss late into the second half. The Cowboys had taken the lead for the first time since the opening drive of the game, using a Greg Zuerlein field goal to take a 31-30 lead inside five minutes to play. But with the game on the line, Metcalf made up for his monumental gaffe in the best way possible, reeling in a 29-yard touchdown on a corner route to help the Seahawks re-gain the lead after the two-minute warning. It was another outstanding display of resiliency from the young receiver, who will use this inexcusable mistake as one hell of a learning lesson.

3. With defenders dropping like flies, a pair of practice squad promotions came up with huge plays to help close out the Cowboys.

Without Adams, Dunbar, Irvin, Green, Hill and Brooks, the Seahawks were down to their third and fourth string players at a number of positions late in this game. Two players called up from the practice squad on Saturday – Shaquem Griffin and Ryan Neal – came up huge in the clutch after the Cowboys had marched into opponent territory with less than a minute to play. Griffin recorded a quarterback hit rushing off the edge and also made a pass deflection in the secondary against Cedrick Wilson, who had two long touchdowns early in the game. Facing 3rd and 14 with no timeouts remaining, Dak Prescott was under pressure and bailed out to his left, throwing up a prayer that was intercepted by safety Ryan Neal, Adams’ replacement, in the end zone to seal the victory.

4. After inexplicably being held out the first two weeks, Alton Robinson provides a boost to Seattle’s pass rush.

There’s no sugar coating it. The Seahawks still struggled mightily to generate pressure on Prescott and he had far too much time in the pocket most of the afternoon. But Robinson certainly made a strong first impression in his debut, including making a critical sack on Prescott during the final drive of the game to set up Neal’s winning pick on the very next play. He also showed out as a run defender, blowing up a double reverse and bringing down CeeDee Lamb in the backfield for a loss. Given the injuries Seattle has at defensive end, Robinson wouldn’t have to worry about being held out anyway, but his encouraging performance off the edge should eliminate the possibility of him being a healthy scratch moving forward and he will have more snaps coming his way.

5. When it comes to the secondary, giving up explosive pass plays has officially become a major problem.

All week heading into this game, Pete Carroll downplayed Seattle’s struggles giving up 831 passing yards in the first two games of the season, chalking much of it up to opponents playing from behind and being forced to throw. But even with the injuries the Seahawks have endured in the secondary thus far, the sheer number of explosive plays being given up defensively cannot be swept under the rug anymore. Throughout the game, Prescott routinely found receivers running wide open downfield, with the worst example being a three-play, 94-yard drive midway through the third quarter when Seattle gave up a 47-yard reception to Michael Gallup and Wilson raced 42 yards for his second touchdown off a crosser two plays later. On both plays, Griffin was trailing in coverage, not a good sign for the team’s top cornerback and 2018 Pro Bowler. Overall, the Seahawks yielded 461 passing yards and if not for a few timely turnovers, there’s no chance they hold on for the win. At some point, these big chunk plays will end up burning Seattle regardless of Wilson’s brilliance.