Earl Thomas’ 2 interceptions lead Seahawks to 24-13 win over Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys didn’t come get Earl Thomas. On Sunday, it was Thomas who got two interceptions in a 24-13 Seahawks win over them.
Thomas had a pick in each of the first and fourth quarters against the team he has been rumored to be a potential trade target of since late last season, and the second pick was the biggest, ending a Dallas drive in Seattle territory with 3:17 go while the Seahawks were trying to preserve a two-score advantage.
The Seahawks did just that as they took their home opener for their first win of the season, a game that featured a second quarter that was easily the most encouraging frame in the three-week old 2018 campaign.
The offense had a nice performance, as well, as it committed to the run with Chris Carson rushing for 102 yards on 32 carries.
Here’s a quarter-by-quarter look at the Seahawks’ victory.
Seahawks 0, Cowboys 0
Thomas didn’t practice Friday due to personal reasons, throwing his availability for the home opener against the Cowboys – the same team whose coach he told to “come get” him last season – into question. Thomas is still a six-time Pro Bowler, however, a fact he reminded everybody on the field of when he made his second interception of the year.
The story of the first quarter could have ended up being one of missed opportunities for the Seahawks. Despite Thomas’ pick and strong defense by Seattle throughout, something helped out by the return of All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner, the Seahawks went into the second frame locked in a scoreless tie. They were forced into a three-and-out after Thomas’ interception, and while the defense forced Dallas into a punt of its own on the next series, the Cowboys were able to keep the ball for a few more plays due to wide receiver Jaron Brown getting flagged for running into the punter.
The good news on offense was that Seattle gave No. 1 running back Chris Carson a steady diet of carries, and he was producing, racking up 29 yards on seven attempts with a long run of 13. The bad news was that the wide receivers, specifically Brandon Marshall, had a hard time hanging on to Russell Wilson’s passes. As a result, Wilson finished the quarter 3 of 7 passing for just 15 yards.
Notable: Though center Justin Britt was active, Seattle started Joey Hunt at center to allow Britt to continue to rest a shoulder injury.
Seahawks 17, Cowboys 3
Lockett got himself open downfield just inside the 2-minute warning, caught a long pass from Wilson and waltzed into the end zone untouched for a 52-yard score that extended a Seahawks lead to 14-3.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 23, 2018
Seattle was able to add three more points on a 47-yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal at the end of the half after the defense came up with big a three-and-out.
The Seahawks had struck first early in the second quarter with a touchdown at the end of an efficient 10-play, 64-yard drive. Seattle converted three third downs in the series, including a third-and-10 play from the Dallas 35 where Wilson found Carson on a short pass for a 19-yard gain. The next play was a 16-yard scoring strike from Wilson to Brown, putting the Seahawks ahead 7-0.
Dallas appeared to even things up on its next possession with a touchdown pass from Dak Prescott to Ezekiel Elliott, but Elliott had stepped out of bounds before making the catch, nullifying the play and forcing the Cowboys to settle for a 50-yard Brett Maher field goal.
SEA – Jaron Brown 16 pass from Russell Wilson (Sebastian Janikowski kick), 9:28
DAL – Brett Maher 50 FG, 5:30
SEA – Tyler Lockett 52 pass from Wilson (Janikowski kick), 1:52
SEA – Janikowski 47 FG, :04
Seahawks 17, Cowboys 6
The Cowboys were able to cut a little into the Seahawks’ lead as Maher’s 35-yard field goal accounted for all of the scoring in the third quarter, but it was Seattle’s pass rush that stood out in the first frame after halftime – Frank Clark in particular. The fourth-year defensive end had a big sack of Prescott on third-and-6 in the red zone, forcing Dallas into settling for the field goal. That was the second sack of the quarter caused by Clark, although the first one was credited to Mychal Kendricks, who was right where he needed to be when Clark flushed Prescott up in the pocket on a third-and-5 to force a punt earlier in the quarter.
On offense, the Seahawks were driving at the end of the third, a series helped out by a laser throw from Russell Wilson to Brandon Marshall that produced a 27-yard gain in one of the more impressive offensive plays of the day. As if to atone for his multiple drops earlier in the game, Marshall did five push-ups on the field after the catch.
DAL – Brett Maher 35 FG, 3:48
Seahawks 24, Cowboys 13
The run game that was such an emphasis in the offseason provided its part in a very encouraging game for the Seahawks. A 5-yard touchdown run by Carson capped off a 10-play, 72-yard drive, pushing Seattle’s lead to 18 points early in the fourth. It was significant for this reason shared by 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil.
That's something the #Seahawks didn't have all last season: a red-zone rushing TD by a running back.
— Danny O'Neil (@dannyoneil) September 23, 2018
The defense then created the second takeaway of the day, as safety Bradley McDougald punched the ball loose at the end of a 26-yard run by Dallas’ Elliott. Seattle’s offense stalled on three plays, though, and the Cowboys found the end zone for the first time all day on a 3-yard pass from Prescott to Tavon Austin at the end of a five-play, 57-yard drive that started with three straight first downs.
Dallas threatened to make a game of it, driving into Seattle territory inside the final four minutes. But a Prescott pass was tipped up, and the ball eventually found its way into Thomas’ hands. A first-down run by Carson helped get the Seahawks to the 2-minute warning, and he passed 100 yards rushing as Seattle was able to lock up the victory.
SEA – Chris Carson 5 run (Janikowski kick), 12:54
DAL – Tavon Austin 3 pass from Dak Prescott (Maher kick), 7:11