Strong safety Bradley McDougald picked up on one of Ezekiel Elliott's tendencies while studying film this week, and he used it to his advantage in Seattle's 24-13 win over the Cowboys. Meanwhile, Mychal Kendricks has been a pleasant surprise for Seattle.

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Ezekiel Elliott’s fumble was not a fluke.

It wasn’t an accident, either. There was a reason Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald knew just how the Cowboys’ running back would be holding the football on the back end of a 26-yard run in the fourth quarter on Sunday.

“Even when we’re watching film of our opponents, we stand there and see how the rusher carries the ball,” explained McDougald, who finished with five tackles, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a pass defended in the Seahawks’ home-opening win.


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“The thing about Zeke is he doesn’t switch to his left hand, ever. So it just so happened that he was cutting to the right with the ball in his right hand and I had an opportunity.”

Once McDougald got that opportunity, he knew what to do with it. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound safety punched it out with a clubbing right cross from behind, ending a fourth quarter drive at the Seattle 19-yard line and preserving a 24-6 lead.

“That’s definitely drill work,” McDougald said. “That’s something we started at practice. I’ve had plenty of failed attempts, a lot of almost broken wrists. But to see it pay off today, it meant the world.”

It also meant more of the same for an opportunistic Seahawks defense that has forced eight turnovers in its first three games.

The Legion of Boom may be gone, but this new-look secondary’s confidence keeps growing.

“I think we’ve just got a confident group,” McDougald said. “Our confidence is only going to grow. I think we’ve got a lot of great guys in our secondary — me, (Earl Thomas), (Shaquill Griffin), Tre (Flowers).

“It’s just something we have to keep doing. It can’t be a flash in the pan. We want this to be an all-season thing. We’re hot right now, but we want to find a way to keep getting the ball.”

LB Mychal Kendricks making most of second chance

The Seahawks took a chance on Mychal Kendricks.

The 5-11, 240-pound linebacker — who pleaded guilty to a felony insider trading charge last month and was promptly released by the Cleveland Browns — isn’t taking that fact for granted.

“(I’m) so appreciative, man. I thank God every day,” Kendricks said following the Seahawks’ 24-13 win over the Cowboys on Sunday. “All the little things — practicing, being here with the guys, in and out of practice, around the facility, just the game itself — I’m just so grateful and so blessed and very fortunate to still be playing.”

And he isn’t just playing. The former Eagles linebacker is playing well. With veteran K.J. Wright still out in the wake of arthroscopic knee surgery, Kendricks has picked up a sack in each of his two games with the Seahawks. He produced six tackles, two quarterback hurries and a sack while rotating with second-year linebacker Austin Calitro on Sunday.

Kendricks’ immediate future is unknown, as the Seahawks wait for word from the league office on a potential suspension for the seventh-year linebacker.

But if he can play, Kendricks will play.

And for now, the Seahawks need him.

“I’m still learning, man, to be honest with you,” Kendricks said. “I think rushing (the passer) is something that I’ve always been pretty good at. But we’ve got so many tools across the board that it’s not just me. It’s the whole defense that’s effective.

“The sack I got today, that wasn’t meant for me. I just fell into that. But that’s how football works.”

Added head coach Pete Carroll: “I think he’s a really good player. I love the way he plays the game, and I love the energy and the intensity that he brings and the focus that he brings. His movement is excellent. He’s tough. I think he brings more than I knew of in the process of figuring out bringing him on the team.

“He’d always been a good player, but he has more intangibles that he brings as well that really add to the whole energy of the group. So, (while) we can have him, we’re going to really love that.”