Hawks ‘D’: What a difference a year makes

Defense: Seahawks hold Cowboys to 89 yards after halftime

mwochnick@theolympian.comSeptember 17, 2012 

Did anyone expect that defensive performance from the Seattle Seahawks?

From being more physically dominant up front, to holding the Dallas Cowboys to 89 yards of total offense in the second half, the Sea-hawks stopped what hurt them a year ago in a loss at Cowboys Stadium during Sunday’s 27-7 victory over Dallas.

Nearly a full season after Seattle’s defense allowed 442 yards of total offense in a 23-13 loss to Dallas in Week 6, the Cowboys got a completely different showing from the Seahawks on Sunday.

The difference? A second-half defensive adjustment — holding Dallas to eight yards rushing, limiting running back DeMarco Murray to 44 yards on 12 carries, and causing all sorts of problems for a Cowboys team that seemed to have trouble finding an offensive rhythm.

“They did a great job of neutralizing us and we needed to do some things to make some plays and we just didn’t do it,” Dallas quarterback Tony Romo said.

Despite his team trailing 13-7 at halftime following early turnovers and mistakes on special teams, Romo had completed 14 of 26 passes for 170 yards in the first half.

The game appeared to be within Dallas’ reach.

But in the first 29 minutes and 25 seconds of the second half, Romo was limited to 30 yards. (Romo threw for 51 yards in the final 35 seconds on three consecutive completions). Four of Romo’s completions went to Jason Witten, who finished with 54 yards. However, the bigger issue was the dropped passes in the open field by Witten (three) and Dez Bryant (two). Five dropped passes, and the miscommunication was evident among other receivers.

The Cowboys were 1-for-4 on third-down conversions and the one conversion Dallas made — a 4-yard run by Murray on third-and-1 — turned into a fourth-and-long six plays later, forcing Dallas to punt from the Seattle 37 trailing 20-7.

And Murray, the running back who burned the Seahawks for 139 yards on 22 carries last season, was held to eight yards after halftime.

It’s the second consecutive week the Seahawks were the more aggressive team in the rush defense, after holding Arizona to 43 yards on the ground in a 20-16 loss last week.

“We had a good game plan,” said Seattle cornerback Brandon Browner who had one interception in the game. “The coaches put us in the right position. We knew what they were going to do and we went out there and made some plays.”

mwochnick@theolympian.com

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