Lynch rumbles, Cowboys stumble in Seattle
SEATTLE (AP) — Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Seahawks took control of the clock and the scoreboard in the second half, shutting down Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys.
Lynch ran for 122 yards and a 3-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, Seattle's special teams came up with two huge first-quarter plays that led to 10 points, and the Seahawks beat the Cowboys 27-7 on Sunday.
Michael Robinson forced Felix Jones to fumble on the opening kickoff that led to a short field goal, and Malcolm Smith blocked Chris Jones' punt which Jeron Johnson returned for a touchdown to give Seattle (1-1) a 10-0 lead in less than 5 minutes.
Rookie Russell Wilson threw for 151 yards in his first NFL victory, directing a 90-yard scoring drive in the third quarter capped by a 22-yard touchdown strike to Anthony McCoy to give Seattle a 20-7 lead.
Romo threw a 22-yard TD to Miles Austin in the second quarter, but that was the only sustained drive the Cowboys (1-1) could mount on the Seahawks' stout defense.
Lynch finished with 26 carries and ran for 104 yards in the second half as Seattle dominated possession. He had a dynamic 36-yard run in the third quarter, carrying tacklers in the open field, and Seattle rebounded from its season opening loss at Arizona where the Seahawks failed to score in the closing seconds.
Wilson was 15 of 20 passing, including 6 of 8 in the second half, and a passer rating of 112.7. Steven Hauschka kicked field goals of 21 and 25 yards for the Seahawks.
Romo finished 23 of 40 for 251 yards, but was able to direct only one scoring drive despite having extra time to prepare for the Seahawks. Dallas was trying to open the season with consecutive wins for the first time since 2008, but now heads home to face Tampa Bay wondering if they're more like the team that knocked off the New York Giants in the season opener or the one that flopped in Seattle.
Romo was trying to put in the past the demons of his last visit to Seattle — the 2006 NFC wild-card game where Romo bobbled the snap of a potential game-winning field goal in the final minutes then was tripped up on his way to the end zone short of the winning score. For all the victories Romo has earned for the Cowboys since, that bobble remains a defining chapter in his career.
Dallas' early special teams meltdown didn't help Romo in erasing those memories, but he was guilty of mistakes himself. Down 10-0, the Cowboys drove to the Seattle 24, only to see Romo make a rushed decision to throw into traffic where his pass was intercepted by Brandon Browner. Romo nearly had two other passes intercepted and never was able to mount a drive of longer than 45 yards in the second or third quarters as Seattle took control.
Dallas had 112 total yards in the first quarter and just 184 over the final three quarters — 51 of those coming in the final minute of the game. Kevin Ogletree, a star with two touchdowns in the Cowboys opener, was held without a reception.
From the opening kickoff, Romo and the Cowboys were playing from behind. Jones' fumble was recovered by Earl Thomas at the Dallas 29. The Seahawks drove to the 3, but Wilson's third down pass for Sidney Rice was nearly intercepted by Bruce Carter and Seattle settled for the first of two short field goals from Hauschka.
Dallas went three-and-out on its first possession with the drive stalling after Witten dropped a third down pass. The Cowboys punt barely left Jones' foot as Smith reached out with his right hand to block the kick, which one-hopped perfectly into the hands Johnson, who strolled in for the Seahawks second blocked punt return for a touchdown in their last six games dating to last season.
Seattle played without left tackle Russell Okung, who suffered a bone bruise in his left knee late in the Week 1 loss at Arizona. Without Okung, the duty of keep DeMarcus Ware off the back of Wilson fell to Frank Omiyale and he did a more than serviceable job. Other than pressuring Wilson on a deep pass for Golden Tate in the first half, Ware's name was rarely mentioned.