DANNY ONEIL

O’Neil: Seahawks’ win over Cowboys as improbable as it was important

Dec 24, 2017, 4:50 PM | Updated: 7:00 pm
Justin Coleman's pick-six helped the Seahawks beat Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. (AP)...
Justin Coleman's pick-six helped the Seahawks beat Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. (AP)
(AP)

ARLINGTON, Texas – Defense is what gave the Seahawks a chance.

The Cowboys’ offense gave Seattle some help with three different turnovers.

Throw in a pair of pass-interference penalties that set up Seattle touchdown passes, and the Seahawks left Dallas with a 21-12 victory that was as improbable as it was important.

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The Seahawks won in spite of finishing with 136 yards of net offense, their fewest in any game since 2013. And Seattle (9-6) will make the playoffs if it beats Arizona at home next week and the Falcons (9-6) lose at home to Carolina (10-5). It’s a pretty straightforward situation compared to where Seattle started the day. Heck, it’s pretty straightforward when you consider how Seattle started the game.

Seattle was outgained 283 yards to 136 by Dallas. The Seahawks’ offense didn’t cross midfield on its own until the final minute of the third quarter. And a Seahawks defense that watched Todd Gurley run wild a week ago gave up 73 first-half rushing yards to Ezekiel Elliott, who was freshly back from suspension.

But there’s a couple of things Seattle didn’t give up.

The Seahawks didn’t give up a touchdown, holding Dallas to four field goals. The Seahawks didn’t give up the ball at any point in Sunday’s game compared to the Cowboys, who had three turnovers that led to 21 Seattle points. Not only that, but one of those turnovers came when Dallas had the ball at the Seattle 25, meaning it likely cost the Cowboys points.

Dallas’ Dak Prescott had a scoring pass all right. He threw it to Seattle’s Justin Coleman, who was the beneficiary of a pass that could only be described as feloniously stupid as Prescott threw flat-footed, floating it over the head of Elliott and straight to Coleman who ran 30 yards – untouched – for his second touchdown of the season.

The Seahawks’ only score of the first half came courtesy of a turnover, too, as Dez Bryant fumbled with 4 minutes left in the first half. The ensuing touchdown drive was aided when Dallas was penalized for defensive pass interference in the end zone and the Seahawks scored two plays later, Jimmy Graham catching a 5-yard pass for his 10th touchdown of the year.

Seattle’s next touchdown came off a turnover, as well. This one cost the Cowboys points as Dallas had the ball at the Seattle 25 when Prescott’s pass deflected off the hands of Dez Bryant and was picked off by K.J. Wright.

Elliott rushed 15 times for 73 yards in the first half. He carried nine times for 24 yards in the second half.

Prescott was 21-for-34 passing for 182 yards and was picked off twice. His passer rating of 51.3 was his second lowest in any game this season.

Yep, the Cowboys will be kicking themselves over this one, and they very well could miss given the way kicker Dan Bailey banked one in off the upright in the first half and then pushed a 34-yard field-goal attempt wide right with 5:39 left in the game.

He missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt with 1 minute left, too, as Seattle cinched the victory and the Cowboys’ own playoff hopes were dashed.

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