The offense didn’t put up many yards, but it put up enough points as the defense kept the Cowboys in check.
ARLINGTON, Texas — It was maybe the ultimate “tell your stats to shut up’’ game.
Seattle beat Dallas 21-12 Sunday despite gaining its fewest yards in more than four years (136) and being tagged for the second-most penalty yards in team history (142, just off the franchise record of 145 against Denver in 1979).
The one stat that mattered most was turnovers. Seattle forced three while not losing any, a plus-three differential that tied the largest margin of the season (Seattle also was plus-three in a 16-10 win at Los Angeles on Oct. 8).
“When you get three turnovers you’re supposed to win,’’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We know that.’’
“Ultimately, those are the things that are the difference between winning and losing ballgames,’’ Dallas coach Jason Garrett said.
So give Seattle an A-plus on the turnover front. Here are some grades for the rest of it:
This was a really strange game offensively as the Seahawks did nothing other than when they had to.
Given the ball at the Dallas 43 on a Byron Maxwell forced fumble with 4:02 left in the first half and trailing 6-0, a Seattle team that had just six net yards to that point moved easily down the field to score a touchdown to take the lead.
And when the defense gave them the ball back late in the third quarter on a K.J Wright interception at the Seattle 21 and clinging to a 14-12 lead, the Seahawks responded with a backbreaking 79-yard, 13-play drive that basically put the game away. The drive was for more than half of the yards that Seattle got all game.
Seattle finished 2 for 2 in the red zone while Dallas was 0 for 2, and other than turnovers that was the biggest stat.
The running game didn’t do a whole lot for most of the game.
But Mike Davis continued to make the most of the space he had (even if his total of 25 yards on 15 carries doesn’t show it) while Thomas Rawls came out of mothballs to turn in a 15-yard run to spark the final touchdown drive.
Boy, did this game further make the case of just how important veteran linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright are to the defense.
With those two back manning the middle, the Seattle defense looked like it always has the last six years. The Seahawks bent at times but never broke — Dallas’ six field-goal attempts are proof of that — and made some game-changing plays.
Wright had a recovery of the fumble forced by Maxwell and an interception, and Justin Coleman had a pick-six in the third quarter that gave Seattle the lead for good.
Wagner led the effort to contain Ezekiel Elliott to just 46 yards in the final three quarters. He had 51 in the first quarter when several times it seemed like the Dallas running game was going to take control of things.
The Seahawks had a game plan that seemed to throw off Dallas QB Dak Prescott, who was far from his best.
Seattle was aggressive throughout, especially on third downs, making Prescott get rid of it quickly. Coleman blitzed on two early third downs and Wright came in on another early in the second quarter that forced an incomplete pass that made Dallas settle for a field goal.
Another corner blitz in the third quarter by Shaq Griffin resulted in another sack that forced yet another field goal.
“I thought we got really good pressure on the edges,’’ Carroll said.
Seattle’s defensive line also played its best game in three weeks with Frank Clark, Michael Bennett and Dion Jordan all getting sacks. Clark’s sack moved Dallas back, setting up the missed 34-yard field goal by Dan Bailey that basically ended the game in the fourth quarter.
“The guys up front did a great job,’’ Carroll said.
Along with the forced fumble, Maxwell, who has had his struggles the past couple of weeks, was better against Dallas, teaming with Griffin to hold Dez Bryant to just 44 yards on three receptions (though Bryant drew a dubious pass interference call on Coleman for 43 yards).
The coverage teams bounced back from maybe their worst game of the Pete Carroll era to have one of their best.
Jeremy Lane made three good plays early, downing one punt inside the 10 and making a key solo tackle on another. He was credited with three special-teams tackles. Recently acquired Paul Dawson had two.
Maybe Seattle was due for a little luck when it came to field goals — opponents were 23 for 25 before Dan Bailey went just 4 of 6 for Dallas.