SEATTLE –A dominant second-half rushing performance victimized the Cowboys on Sunday, just one week after it led them to victory.
The Dallas defense bottled Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch for 22 yards on 10 carries through two quarters, as the Seahawks managed just 118 total net yards to the Cowboys' 211 entering halftime. The second half told a different tale, as Lynch wore down the defense and finished with 122 yards and a touchdown.
"At first, we were able to stop them on the run," said linebacker DeMarcus Ware. "But when you get out there, sometimes they correct things. They found ways to sort of gash us a little bit. We've got to correct some things this week.
"It comes down to tackling. He's a big back, but at the end of the day, we've got to tackle better. There's going to be some tackle drills this week that sort of refresh our memory how to do it."
Lynch was the focal point of the Cowboys' defensive preparation all week, but he still managed to rush for 100 yards in the second half.
His performance almost mirrored that of running back DeMarco Murray's a week prior. Murray totaled just 20 yards at halftime against the Giants, before finishing with 131 yards on the ground.
With far fewer opportunities, Murray couldn't repeat that success. He outgained Lynch by 14 yards in the first two quarters, but with the Cowboys trailing, Murray rushed the ball just four times in the second half. Meanwhile, Lynch gathered 16 second-half carries to finish with 78 more rushing yards than Murray.
Head coach Jason Garrett said the Seahawks were able to physically impose themselves in the running game late.
"There's no question they wanted to run the football with Marshawn Lynch," Garrett said. "They have a big, strong offensive line. They want to run the ball and they want to let that be the thing you have to stop defensively, and then let the quarterback play off of that."
Ware and Anthony Spencer didn't want to admit the Seahawks were more physical, but both linebackers said Seattle's ability to gain chunks of yards on first down and move the chains to keep drives alive thwarted any comeback attempt the Cowboys could pose.
While Ware pointed to poor tackling as the cause for Seattle's rushing productivity, Spencer gave credit to the tenacity of the Seahawks' offensive line. Starting left tackle Russell Okung was inactive, yet Seattle still rushed for 182 yards.
"They just went to the whistle," Spencer said. "That was the biggest thing. They kept pushing. If a guy was going down, they kept running their feet and got more yards."
Lynch's proficiency allowed rookie quarterback Russell Wilson to gain comfort and confidence behind center. Wilson completed 15 of his 20 passes and tossed his first and only touchdown pass of the game in the second half.
"Around the league I had talked to people and felt that they might be one of the surprise teams of the year," said owner Jerry Jones. "They played like it against us today. Hats off to that quarterback, and of course Marshawn Lynch played like we knew he could play."