BY SPNW Staff 06:08PM 12/24/2017

Game recap: Seahawks 21, Cowboys 12

The Seahawks converted three takeaways into touchdowns and kept their playoff hopes alive with a 21-12 win over the Dallas Cowboys Sunday at AT&T Stadium.

TE Jimmy Graham caught his 10th TD Sunday. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest file

Takeaway

QB Russell Wilson salvaged an otherwise dismal offensive performance by the Seahawks with a pair of touchdown passes and the Seattle defense logged three key takeaways in a 21-12 victory over the Cowboys in Dallas Sunday that kept head coach Pete Carroll’s club in postseason contention for one more week (box).

The Atlanta Falcons (9-6), a 23-13 loser at New Orleans Sunday, hold the NFC’s No. 6 seed. To reach the the postseason for a sxith consecutive year, the Seahawks (9-6) need to beat Arizona Sunday while the Falcons must lose at home to Carolina.

If the Seahawks and Falcons win, Atlanta advances because it beat Seattle 34-31 Nov. 20.

The Seahawks prevailed Sunday in one of the more unorthodox ways imaginable. They managed only 136 yards of offense  — 13 fewer than in the 42-7 humiliation at the hands of the L.A. Rams last week — and had 142 penalty yards. It marked the first time since Nov. 6, 1966 that an NFL team won a game with more penalty yards than total yards.

On that day at Franklin Field, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Cowboys 24-23 with 80 yards of offense and 89 penalty yards.

Seattle won with fewer than 150 total yards for only the fourth time in franchise history and for the first time since 2013 at St. Louis (135 yards).

All of the Seattle scoring was a result of  takeaways. Falling behind 6-0, the Seahawks tallied on a 3-yard TD pass from Wilson to TE Jimmy Graham after CB Byron Maxwell stripped Dallas WR Dez Bryant after a catch.

CB Justin Coleman scored Seattle’s second TD on a 30-yard pick six against Dallas QB Dak Prescott (and drew an unsportsmanlike flag for jumping into a large Salvation Army kettle beyond the end zone), and WR Doug Baldwin caught a six-yard TD from Wilson following a K.J. Wright interception.

Dallas had an opportunity to get back into the game in the final minutes after Maxwell drew a 29-yard pass interference penalty. The Cowboys had a first-and-goal at the Seattle 3-yard line and a second-and-goal at the 2, but missed a 34-yard field goal attempt, allowing Seattle to run out the clock.

Offense

Wilson, who had only 35 passing yards at halftime, completed 14 of 21 for 93 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions for a 107.8 rating. He also led Seattle with 29 rushing yards — and lost 33 in three sacks. He is poised to become the first quarterback since Cam Newton in 2012 to lead an NFL team in rushing.

Wilson served up one of the dumbest plays of his career. Trying to complete a third-down pass, Wilson kept rolling backward to avoid the rush and took a 22-yard sack instead of getting rid of the ball. Fortunately for Wilson and the Seahawks, the play did not bite them.

Graham’s second-quarter TD was his 10th, extending his franchise record. That was his only catch of the game and second in the past three contests. It was also the only time Wilson targeted Graham.

Baldwin led Seattle with four catches for 35 yards while RB Mike Davis, who also had 25 rushing yards, caught four passes for 18 yards.

The Seahawks converted four of 11 third downs and were outgained 283 yards to 136, but were two-for-two in the red zone.

Defense

FS Earl Thomas had a team-high 11 tackles while LB Bobby Wagner had eight and Wright six. Wright, who missed last week’s game against the Rams with a concussion, was ill for most of the weekend. He also had a fumble recovery and an interception.

The Seahawks recorded four sacks, by rookie CB Shaquille Griffin, DE Frank Clark, DE Dion Jordan and DE Michael Bennett, and five tackles for loss.

The Seahawks allowedRB Ezekiel Elliott, returning from a six-game suspension, 97 rushing yards on 24 carries, none longer than nine yards. Seattle also harassed Prescott into two interceptions and a 51.3 passer rating.

Coleman’s return for a TD was his second defensive score of the year. He also returned an interception 28 yards against Indianapolis Oct. 1.

Noteworthy

The Rams wrapped up the NFC West Sunday with a 27-23 win over Tennessee in Nashville. It marked their first division title since 2003 and came after going 4-12 a year ago.

The Seahawks averted their first three-game losing streak since the end of the 2011 season . . . Seattle cut the Cowboys’ all-time lead in the series to 10-7. The Seahawks have won their past two at AT&T Stadium (last was in 2015).

The Seahawks went 5-3 on the road . . . Seattle is an NFL-best 36-13 in November/December and 21-7 in December/January since 2013 . . .  Seattle  improved to 24-5 since 2012 following a regular-season loss . . . Pete Carroll tied Mike Tomlin for 33rd place on the all-time coaches win list with 122.

Wilson has 33 career games with multiple TDs and no interceptions . . .Wilson’s 18 fourth-quarter TD passes this season extended his NFL record . . . Wilson has 159 TD passes in his first six years, third all time. Only Dan Marino with 196 and Peyton Manning with 167 had more . . . Wilson is the first quarterback in NFL history to produce winning seasons in his first six seasons.

Seahawks are 24-15-1 on the road since 2013 . . . Seattle has not lost three in a row since Oct. 23-Nov. 6, 2011 with losses to Cleveland, Cincinnati and Dallas en route to a 7-9 record.

Next

The Seahawks close out their regular-season schedule at 1:25 p.m. Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated Arizona 22-16 in Glendale, AZ., Nov. 9.


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