In what was the most extended look Seattle’s starters will get in the preseason, the Seahawks coaches undoubtedly liked what they saw (most of it, anyway) Thursday night against the Cowboys.
Finally, this looked like the Seahawks.
On offense, Russell Wilson running circles around the Dallas front seven when he wasn’t throwing dimes at its secondary to Doug Baldwin, Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett.
And on defense Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor leveling running backs and receivers and Cliff Avril bedeviling blockers.
In what was the most extended look Seattle’s starters will get in the preseason, the Seahawks coaches undoubtedly liked what they saw (most of it, anyway) Thursday night against the Cowboys in an eventual 27-17 victory at CenturyLink Field.
When the starters left midway through the third quarter, Seattle led 20-10. Wilson completed 16 of 21 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns with a 135.4 passer rating.
The defense, meanwhile, had four sacks (after managing just one in the first two games), with Avril getting 1½, and held the Cowboys to just three points in a span of six possessions from the second quarter to the early fourth.
“It was fun to see us having the joy of playing the game the way we like to and get out ahead and make it fun for the fans,’’ said Seattle coach Pete Carroll.
The touchdowns were the first two of the preseason for the No. 1 offense, which had gone scoreless on six possessions in the first two games.
And after the Seahawks were sacked six times last week, Wilson four times, there was just one against Dallas, that coming after Wilson departed.
“Really, really happy with the time they are giving us,’’ Wilson said of the offensive line.
Wilson and the offense looked a little ragged early — Wilson was off-target on a couple of early throws while a holding penalty and an unnecessary-roughness penalty killed two of the team’s first three drives.
In fact, if there was a real negative on the night, it was the penalties as Seattle had eight, a week after committing 12 against the Vikings.
“That is really fixable,’’ Carroll said. “And we just need to get better at it and have a better conscious about ourselves so we can do that.’’
But once the flags slowed down, the Seattle offense heated up as the Seahawks scored on four consecutive possessions from the end of the second quarter through the third.
Wilson led four scoring drives, throwing touchdown passes of 9 yards to Richardson in the second quarter and 9 yards to Lockett in the third.
On the throw to Lockett, Wilson bought time by circling back to his right and then, as he neared the sideline, finding Lockett in the end zone — a textbook, if not trademark, Wilson play, after which he departed for the night.
“He was on rhythm until he didn’t have a chance to be,’’ Carroll said.
And after rushing for just 22 yards on seven carries in the first half, the Seahawks got the ground game going in the second to finish with 148 on 27 attempts — 58 yards on seven carries by Christine Michael, whose career revival just continues.
“It just seems like we’re making progress on offense,’’ Carroll said. “We ran the ball well again. We didn’t get the runs we wanted in the first half the way the half went — we got ourselves in trouble a couple of times on drives (with penalties). But once we got going and took our shots at it we really found a nice consistency, and I hope we can carry this over to the regular season. The pass protection was pretty solid tonight.’’
After Wilson left, Trevone Boykin came on. And while his passing numbers weren’t much (4 for 10, 31 yards), he showed the athletic flair the team loves with a 16-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Boykin said he was trying to find a receiver but that “as I kept going I got closer and closer to the touchdown and I scored.’’
The defense, meanwhile, seemed caught off guard for a series by Dallas rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, who took over when Tony Romo suffered a back injury on the third play of the game. Romo said after the game he was fine but that there was simply no reason to go back in.
Prescott led an 81-yard touchdown drive on Dallas’ second possession — aided by a personal-foul penalty on Chancellor on a hit on Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott — to give the Cowboys a 7-0 lead.
The hit, at least, was a vintage Chancellor blow in what was his first action of the preseason.
“Oh, it felt good,’’ said Chancellor, who had been sidelined the first two games with a groin issue. “I was just out there having fun.’’
But from there, the defense returned to form as Dallas had just 210 yards through three quarters.
Seattle now is 2-1 in the preseason, for once playing a game that didn’t go down to the final play, as had each of the first two.
The Seahawks conclude the preseason next Thursday at Oakland. But the front office will be busy before then. As all NFL teams, Seattle will have to cut its roster from 90 to 75 by Tuesday at 1 p.m. local time.