Cowboys capitalize on turnovers, penalties and an 82-yard touchdown on a punt return to defeat the Seahawks.
ARLINGTON, Texas — Seattle showed small signs of progress early Sunday at Cowboys Stadium.
However, they were very small. It was also extremely early.
Seattle scored on its first possession for only the second time this season when Olindo Mare kicked a 43-yard field goal with 6:58 left in the first quarter and Seattle had its first lead on the road all season. It lasted for almost four minutes. Almost.
Dallas found the end zone 3:46 later when Seattle showed a general disinterest in tackling Sam Hurd at the end of his 36-yard reception. Four Seahawks converged on Hurd at about the 3-yard line. Not only did they fail to keep him out of the end zone, they couldn’t even knock Hurd off his feet.
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Dallas never trailed again in a 38-17 blowout that dropped Seattle to 2-5.
The Cowboys didn’t have any over-the-top performances. Nobody gained more than 61 yards from scrimmage. No one scored more than one touchdown. Quarterback Tony Romo passed for 256 yards and three touchdowns, but he was also sacked twice, was jittery at times in the pocket and was hardly dominant.
And still, Dallas was able to reel off 24 consecutive points and Seattle wound up on the business end of a schoolyard whupping. It’s a position that has become fairly familiar this season.
“There has to be a reason for us to lose the games we’re losing by the margin we’re losing by,” receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said. “It’s unbelievable.”
Seattle didn’t just lose because Justin Forsett lost a fumble in Seattle territory in the first quarter, setting up Dallas’ second touchdown. The Seahawks didn’t lose solely because cornerback Marcus Trufant was penalized three times for pass interference. They weren’t beaten because they lost two replay challenges in the first half or because Patrick Crayton returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown.
They lost because they let all of that happen.
“All of us have to be accountable,” coach Jim Mora said. “Starting with me, everybody that sits on that [team] plane … has to accept accountability.”
As bad as this game was, it was better than Seattle’s most recent road game, at Indianapolis. The Seahawks trailed by 28 points before they scored their first TD.
On Sunday, the Seahawks were downright frisky early on. They scored on their first possession for the first time since a Week 3 loss to Chicago.
Even after Forsett fumbled away Seattle’s second possession, setting up Dallas at the Seattle 30, the Seahawks came back. Seattle scored on a 23-yard touchdown pass to Deion Branch and trailed by four points heading into the final minutes of the half.
Things degenerated from there. Romo threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Roy Williams with 35 seconds left in the half, and then Seattle failed to cross midfield on four of its first five possessions in the second half and the rout was on.
Four of Seattle’s five losses have been by double figures this season. The Seahawks are 0-3 on the road, and they’ve been outscored 95-44 in those three games.
“I don’t question our competitiveness,” Mora said. “I don’t question our fight. I don’t question any of those things. I think that they’re desperate to win.
“Right now it’s an element of inconsistency.”
Is this a team that simply can’t play from behind?
“I know what playing from behind does,” Hasselbeck said. “It puts you in obvious passing situations.”
And that means that opponents can starting heaving incredibly large objects at Hasselbeck, who was sacked three times Sunday.
Linebacker DeMarcus Ware had one of those sacks at the end of the third quarter, but left tackle Damion McIntosh acquitted himself fairly well in his first start for Seattle considering he’s the fourth left tackle Seattle has used this season and wasn’t on the team until three weeks ago.
There were more pressing problems.
“The turnovers, the fumbles, the field position, you just can’t do that,” Hasselbeck said.
Seattle did all of it Sunday, and the results were evident on the scoreboard.
Danny O’Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org