Seahawks Instant Reaction: What went wrong in loss to Cowboys?

Nov 30, 2023, 9:22 PM | Updated: 9:55 pm

Seattle Seahawks Pete Carroll...

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll during a Nov. 30, 2023 game against the Dallas Cowboys. (Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

(Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks are in a tough spot, falling to 6-6 on the season after losing a 41-35 shootout to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on Thursday Night Football.

Cowboys 41, Seahawks 35: Good, Bad, UglyBig Plays | Recap | Stats

Seattle took the lead into the fourth quarter, and the offense was enjoying a big night thanks in particular to the connection between quarterback Geno Smith and wide receiver DK Metcalf. So what went wrong?

The voices of Seattle Sports share their takes in our latest instant reaction post. Read what they have to say below, and listen to the station on 710 AM or the Seattle Sports app all day Friday for plenty more reaction beginning at 6 a.m., including The Pete Carroll Show with the Seahawks head coach at 9:30 a.m.

Mike Salk – Brock and Salk (6-10 a.m.)

It’s rare to have a game with so much on the line before the start of December, but that’s what the Seahawks had in Dallas. For a team that had been embarrassed over the last month, they needed a strong showing. In theory, they got that.

The much-maligned offense scored 35 points and never punted. Their embattled quarterback threw for a gazillion yards. Their oft-criticized offensive coordinator seemed to find some identity, creativity and success.

Unfortunately, that only lasted for 45 minutes and the defense never bothered to show up. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

There were some encouraging signs in the first three quarters of this game. But they were unfortunately drowned out by the negative moments, questionable decisions, and eventual loss. In fact, what worries me most is that this is yet another way they are not playing “Pete Carroll” football. Pete Carroll teams are supposed to run it, play physical defense, not get beat over the top, and above all, finish. They ran for just 72 yards, didn’t stop anyone all night, and were beaten 14-0 in the final 14 minutes of the game.

To say that the questions weren’t answered would be an understatement. This isn’t what the Seahawks are supposed to look like. And with the Niners and Eagles on tap, time is running out to make that change.

Stacy Rost – Bump and Stacy (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

The Seahawks needed this win. Without it, their playoff hopes take a very obvious hit.

I’m not feeling nearly as optimistic about Seattle’s playoff chances (though the Seahawks are still in the mix, holding a wild card spot alongside the 6-6 Vikings). It’s a shame then that this loss came in one of their best offensive performances of the season.

Ahead of this game, the Seahawks’ offense had gone six quarters without scoring a touchdown. They scored three in the first half alone. Their 35 points were their most since Week 3. They entered the game 30th on third downs but converted 9 of 14 (64%) against a defense that had limited opponents to a second-best 34% this season. DK Metcalf finished with three touchdowns.

They didn’t score with the game on the line (mostly due to a miscue that left Micah Parsons unblocked on a pivotal fourth down), but this one falls on a defense that allowed 41 points and didn’t force a single punt.

Bob Stelton – Wyman and Bob (2-7 p.m.)

Generally, if you score 35 points, you feel pretty good about your chances of winning. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, defense seemed to be optional for the majority of the game.

This was, in my opinion, the best night of the season for this offense. And it came against one of the best defenses in the NFL.

The Hawks were 9 for 14 on third down, 4 for 5 in the red zone. Geno to DK Metcalf was a killer! Three touchdowns, 134 yards, six catches on eight targets.

We also have to credit offensive coordinator Shane Waldron for a game plan that had been missing for most of the season. Geno was getting rid of ball quickly, taking pressure off of the O-line.

Having said all of that, the offense turned the ball over on downs on the final three drives, ending the night 0 for 3 on fourth down.

Even with that, they did enough to win if the defense was even mediocre – which it wasn’t. Dallas scored 41 points, the most given up all season. If you take away the two end-of-half possessions by the Cowboys, they scored on eight of 10 drives. The Hawks were crushed in time of possession, 36:27 to 23:33.

Throw in a ridiculous night of penalties (10 for 130 yards, some legit, some complete trash), and it was too much to overcome.

The Hawks have five games to get it figured out as they’re now 6-6 and desperately clinging to their playoff hopes.

Mike Lefko – Wyman and Bob

There is a lot to feel good about in regard to the offense moving forward, but a loss overshadows all of that, especially because this felt like the most winnable game of a brutal four-game stretch.

In a game where both offenses were operating at a high level, every play was magnified, and while he has made a number of big catches in his career, Tyler Lockett’s drop on a wide-open ball over the middle (and the subsequent failure to pick up fourth-and-1 on the drive) looms as the difference in this one.

The defense gave up 41 points, and the Cowboys didn’t punt all night, so you do have to put blame in that direction, but this one feels more like the Cowboys’ offense being the best in the NFL for a reason, and not necessarily major changes needed for the Seahawks’ defense. They were on the field for over 35 minutes and kept it a close game with some key stops when they had to have them – the Cowboys were just 4 for 8 in red zone opportunities.

It feels hollow, but the Seahawks’ offense put together the complete game we’ve been looking for all season, and resembled the offense we thought we would see with all the weapons at their disposal. Despite facing one of the best pass rushes in the NFL, Geno Smith wasn’t sacked all night. He got the ball out quickly, there were designed routes to get to manageable third downs, and the Seahawks converted seven of their first eight third downs (and finished 9 for 14). We saw four touchdown drives of 75 yards, and one touchdown drive of 70 yards en route to the Seahawks’ second-highest point total of the season.

In the end, the Cowboys simply had more talent, especially on defense, and in the second half they wore down the Seahawks’ offensive line after an admirable effort all night long from that group.

The bigger question feels like it will be answered in the next two weeks: Will this version of the Seahawks’ offense show up again? That could ease a lot of concerns over these final five games.

Justin Barnes – Brock and Salk

You shouldn’t lose a football game when your offense scores 35 points, but a leaky, predictable Seahawks defense let it happen tonight in Dallas.

Ironic considering the amount of time spent discussing the identity-less offense leading into this game. Depending on who you talked to (or which Seattle Sports show you listened to), you may have heard jobs could be on the line tonight – namely offensive coordinator Shane Waldron’s – for the offensive shortcomings with a roster that looked playoff-bound just a month ago. After getting embarrassed on Thanksgiving, could Geno and Waldron scheme new ways to convert on third down? Yes. And could they revive a nearly lifeless running game? Not exactly.

This game may not have reestablished faith in the offense, especially when you consider Geno had the ball in his hands with 1:43 on the clock and couldn’t get it done.

As for the defense, well, that was atrocious. Yes, there were flags. Yes, some of them were questionable. But on a day when your offense scored thirty-five points, you shouldn’t lose a football game.

We’ll all be looking for answers with The Pete Carroll Show at 9:30 a.m. Friday with Brock and Salk.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks’ Week 15 game vs Eagles flexed to Monday night
Bumpus: Where Seahawks RB Charbonnet must adjust his game
How is Seahawks’ Geno Smith playing? K.J. Wright shares what he sees
Salk: Is narrative of Seahawks and Russell Wilson being recrafted?
Bumpus: A reality about Seattle Seahawks to come to terms with

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