The Seahawks didn’t exactly make the Dallas Cowboys’ best defensive player, outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, disappear.
But they kept the talented pass rusher from living in Seattle’s backfield.
Ware still got his numbers. He finished with eight combined tackles, including a tackle for a loss and a quarterback hit.
But for a second straight season, the Seahawks held Ware without a sack.
Seattle’s offensive line, which allowed three sacks and another seven quarterback hits last week against Arizona, did a much better job of protecting rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
Seattle gave up two sacks, but most of the Cowboys’ pressure came with the game already decided.
Even more impressive, the Seahawks handled Ware without the team’s best offensive lineman.
Left tackle Russell Okung was a game-time decision heading into Sunday because of a bone bruise on his left knee. But after going through a pregame evaluation with trainers, Okung was ruled out for the game, which meant Frank Omiyale got his first start for the Seahawks.
Seattle signed Omiyale, a free agent who played for Chicago last season, to serve as a competent left tackle should Okung’s injury issues crop up again.
Omiyale started 14 games at left tackle for Chicago in 2010. The grizzled, eight-year veteran came into the game with 32 career NFL starts.
Omiyale said the Sea-hawks didn’t do anything special to contain Ware.
“I don’t know if it was a big strategy,” Omiyale said. “As far as I know, they called regular plays. We slid to him. We slid away. So I felt like we stayed with our offense pretty well.”
But other teammates noticed Omiyale’s effort.
“Frank came in without any idea of (Okung) not starting and he did a great job,” Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch said. “That goes to show the depth of those guys and the work they put into it.”
For a third straight year, injuries are limiting Okung’s season.
After 12 starts in 2011, Okung suffered a torn pectoral muscle when Philadelphia defensive end Trent Cole gave him a cheap-shot flip late in a game, and he was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list.
In his rookie season, Okung suffered high ankle sprains to both legs that caused him to miss a total of six games.
VIEWS DIFFER ON HIT
A lot of talk after the game centered on Seattle receiver Golden Tate’s peel-back block on Dallas linebacker Sean Lee during a 14-yard scramble by Wilson in the fourth quarter.
Adding insult to injury, Dallas linebacker Bruce Carter received a personal foul penalty for hitting Wilson when he was out of bounds.
Seattle scored later on the drive on Lynch’s 3-yard run, putting the game away at 27-7 with just over eight minutes remaining.
Seattle fullback Mike Robinson thinks the block was legal.
“I thought it was awesome,” Robinson said. “He did a great job – got his shoulder in there to make sure it was legal. I think Golden kind of put a stamp on the game with that. I think he kind of said, ‘OK, big-time Dallas. Now you’re up here with Seattle, and we got some muscle to us.’ ”
However, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he thinks Tate’s hit on Lee falls under the new defenseless player rule, and plans on taking the matter up with the league.
“I think that everybody thought that initially, but then they called it on us on their sideline,” Garrett said. “I was looking for an explanation on why that wasn’t called as a defenseless player, as that is something the league is trying to guard against and is a pretty good example of what that was.”
Tate said he was just trying to get Lee on the ground.
“I didn’t realize how hard I hit him,” Tate said.
So how did it feel?
“Now I see why Kam (Chancellor) likes defense,” joked Tate. “Man, it felt great. That felt better than a touchdown to me.”
Carroll said after the game that second-year offensive lineman James Carpenter is getting closer to returning to the field. Carpenter is returning from ACL knee surgery in December, and has been working at left guard in practice. “James Carpenter is starting to knock on that door,” Carroll said. “He’s getting close. We’ll see where he fits in by next week.” … Cornerback Byron Maxwell left the game with a hamstring injury and did not return. Receiver Sidney Rice was helped off the field after taking a hard hit on pass from Wilson over the middle of the field early in the third quarter, but he returned. … The Sea-hawks cut down on the penalties this week, finishing with five for 35 yards a week after totaling 13 penalties against Arizona. … For Seattle, receiver Charly Martin, running back Kregg Lumpkin, Carpenter, defensive tackle Jaye Howard, offensive tackle Russell Okung and rookie defensive backs Winston Guy and Jeremy Lane were inactive. ... For Dallas, nose tackle Jay Ratliff did not play because of a high ankle sprain. Josh Brent started for Ratliff. Starting center Phil Costa was out with a back injury. Ryan Cook started for Costa. Fourth-round draft selection Matt Johnson, a safety from Tumwater High and Eastern Washington, was inactive with a hamstring injury, and did not make the trip to Seattle.firstname.lastname@example.org 253-597-8437 blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @eric_d_williams