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Week 13 Game Recap: Seattle Seahawks 9, Dallas Cowboys 34

What you need to know

Seattle Seahawks

While QB Matt Hasselbeck was able to pick apart the Dallas defense through much of the first half, as the game progressed he saw more and more pressure, and thus ended the day with decent yardage totals, but no scores.

RB Julius Jones was largely ineffective against the Dallas defense, and sat out significant time with a head injury. Fellow RB Maurice Morris wasn't much better in relief.

TE John Carlson was Seattle's best receiving threat as he was consistently able to get open and exploit open areas up the middle of the field for large gains.

Dallas Cowboys

QB Tony Romo was almost perfect on the day as he was able to hit receivers all over the field for big gains and three TDs. While he did throw an ill-advised INT, it hardly diminishes an impressive day.

While RB Marion Barber ran well early, he didn't see many carries due to Dallas' success in the passing game and a foot injury that sidelined him for much of the second half. Rookie RB Tashard Choice ran very well in relief.

Romo's two biggest weapons in the passing attack were TE Jason Witten and WR Terrell Owens. While Witten was the more regularly targeted receiver and finished with more yards, both had very good days that included a TD each.

What you ought to know

QB Matt Hasselbeck, Pass: 22 - 38 - 287 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 10 - 0

Hasselbeck was in fine form early in the game as he spread the ball around the field and seemed to have little trouble connecting with all of his receiving targets on his way to 170 yards in the first half. Unfortunately, the combination of Seahawk fumbles, penalties, an ineffective rushing attack and some ill timed sacks prevented him from turning that early success into scores. By the second half, however, the Dallas defense had figured out how to shut down Hasselbeck's passing lanes and get consistent pressure. As a result, Hasselbeck spent much of the third and fourth quarters just scrambling around trying to survive. Given this set of circumstances, it was perhaps inevitable that Hasselbeck would get caught trying to do too much, and it happened midway through the final quarter. While scrambling for his life in the pocket, he reared back and tried to get the ball deep downfield for WR Deion Branch. Instead, the pass ended up as Hasselbeck's sole interception on the day.

RB Julius Jones, Rush: 11 - 37 - 0 (1 targets)

Returning to Dallas for the first time since leaving the Cowboys, Jones got off to a rough start. On his second rush of the game, he brought what was a good looking Seattle drive to screeching halt when he lost control of the ball and Dallas recovered it. Things didn't get much better after that as he struggled to gain yards against the Dallas front seven, and then sat out the third quarter due to a reported head injury. When he returned in the fourth quarter he promptly fumbled the ball a second time, though the Seahawks retained possession when it rolled out of bounds. That would be the end of Jones' day after gaining only 37 yards on 11 rushes.

RB Maurice Morris, Rush: 6 - 10 - 0, Rec: 3 - 23 - 0 (6 targets)

After watching the Dallas defense smother fellow RB Julius Jones during the first half, Morris took over the primary rushing role to start the second half when Jones was held out due to a head injury. While Morris had some nice runs and seemed to meet with more success in his first drive, he couldn't keep it up and Jones eventually returned to handle some of the rushing duties in the fourth quarter. In the end, Morris' numbers ended up thoroughly mediocre.

WR Deion Branch, Rec: 5 - 56 - 0 (11 targets)

Though QB Matt Hasselbeck was able to orchestrate a successful passing attack in the first half, and though Branch ended the day first on the team with 11 targets and second with five receptions, he still didn't have much of an impact as most of his catches were on short to intermediate routes that did not give him the chance to make big plays.

WR Bobby Engram, Rec: 4 - 45 - 0 (6 targets)

Engram seemed to be used in the role that he excels at -- the short to medium range possession receiver and safety valve. While this enabled him to rack up four catches, it didn't allow him to make a significant impact on the stats sheet and he finished with only 45 yards.

WR Koren Robinson, Rec: 3 - 49 - 0 (5 targets)

While Robinson didn't see many balls thrown his way, when they were he showed that he is still the team's best deep threat at WR. His best catch came when he pulled down a high arcing 23 yard pass as Seattle tried to put a TD on the board before the half.

TE John Carlson, Rec: 6 - 105 - 0 (7 targets)

Carlson got off to a fast start as he took his first target, a short dump off pass, and turned it into a 33 yard gain straight up the middle of the field. Late in the first half Carlson added another big catch as he pulled down a 27 yard reception over the middle that put Seattle inside the ten yard line within the last two minutes. While these two catches would account for almost 60% of Carlson's yards, he added four more to go over the century mark. Throughout the game it was Carlson who was making plays in the passing game and despite being a TE, he led the team in receptions and average yards-per-catch.

PK Olindo Mare 3 - 3 FG, 0 - 0 XP, 9 points

Mare accounted for all of the Seahawks points on the day with his three field goals of 44, 38, and 25 yards. He did not miss any attempts.

SEA Rush Defense

While at first the Seahawks looked like they might be able to contain the Dallas rushing attack, any such appearance was soon shown to be illusory. By the end of the first quarter Dallas RB Marion Barber was gashing them for significant gains and a rushing TD. The only thing that slowed the Dallas ground attack was an injury to Barber's foot in the third quarter that clearly slowed him down. Once he was replaced by rookie Tashard Choice, however, the Dallas rushing attack again excelled and Seattle seemed incapable of stopping it.

SEA Pass Defense

When a team is unable to generate a meaningful pass rush and is also unable to cover their opponent's slew of pass receiving weapons, there isn't much promise for defensive success. So it was today for the Seahawks. Dallas QB Tony Romo had time to throw all day, and his WRs and TEs had space to make the catches. While Seattle did manage one interception, it was more a result of an unforced error on Romo's part than anything else.

QB Tony Romo, Pass: 22 - 34 - 331 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 14 - 0

It didn't take long for Romo to get going in this contest. On the first offensive drive of the day, he led the Cowboys down the field with medium-length passes to WR Roy Williams and TE Jason Witten and then capped it off as he rolled out to the right and fired a 16 yard pass to a wide-open TE Martellus Bennett. On the third drive he added a second score as he found TE Jason Witten wide open for an eight yard score. Romo would enjoy this kind of passing success through most of the first half. The second half, however, got off to a rockier start. On the Cowboys' first drive of the third quarter, Romo tried to hit WR Terrell Owens deep in the end zone, but instead put the ball in the hands of one of the two covering DBs, Marcus Trufant. He made up for it on the next drive, though, when he hit Owens on two consecutive plays for a combined 52 yards and a TD. After that final score, with the Cowboys up as many as 25 points, Dallas looked to the rushing game to run out the clock, and thus Romo's fourth quarter numbers were virtually non-existent. Overall it was still an impressive performance.

RB Tashard Choice, Rush: 11 - 57 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (2 targets)

When starting RB Marion Barber left the game late in the third quarter due to a toe injury, Choice took over the rushing duties as the Cowboys looked to run out the clock with a big lead. He made the most of his opportunity. Choice showed that he has both the toughness to go up the middle and fight for every yard as well as the speed to go outside, round the corner, and get downfield. By the end of the game, Choice had averaged over five yards per carry and amassed 57 yards in just over a quarter of action.

RB Marion Barber, Rush: 10 - 32 - 1, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (1 targets)

With the Dallas passing game getting off to a fast start, Barber didn't see a lot of action early, but when he did he was effective. Perhaps the best example was a 17 yard scamper to the one-yard line near the end of the Cowboys' second offensive series. He punched it into the end zone two plays later. In the second half, just when it looked like Barber might get the chance to rack up some yards as Dallas tried to run out the clock, he left the game to have his pinkie toe x-rayed. In the end, that first half TD was all that stood between Barber and a far below average (45 total yard) fantasy day.

WR Terrell Owens, Rec: 5 - 98 - 1 (10 targets)

Owens caught his first pass -- a nine yarder on the second play of the game. He didn't catch his second until the final minute of the first quarter (a nice 26 yard gain). That would be the story of his day -- long stretches of nothing interrupted on occasion by impressive and significant receptions. Perhaps Owens' best catch was a leaping, spinning, one handed grab along the right sideline for 33 yards late in the third quarter that he then immediately followed up with a 19 yard score. Though he fell short of the 100 yard mark by two, today's was exactly the type of performance one would hope to get from Owens.

WR Roy Williams, Rush: 1 - 13 - 0, Rec: 2 - 51 - 0 (5 targets)

In the first quarter, Williams was used in a number of different ways. In addition to going downfield in the passing game, he also ran an end around that gained 13 yards on the ground. His contributions by the end of the day would be limited, however, as QB Tony Romo was able to have his way with the Seahawk pass defense and spread the ball amongst all of his targets and not just the starting WRs. Williams' biggest play was a mid-second quarter 38 yard catch that saw Romo hit him streaking down the right side-line.

WR Patrick Crayton, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (4 targets)

Despite the fact that the Dallas passing game was hitting on all cylinders, Crayton played a very small role in it. There was little doubt that, at best, Crayton was the fourth receiving option, and with the continued emergence of TE Martellus Bennett, he may be slipping to fifth.

TE Jason Witten, Rec: 9 - 115 - 1 (10 targets)

After not being a big factor in recent weeks, Witten got involved in the Cowboy offense early today. During the first Dallas offensive drive he lined up as a wide receiver and corralled a Tony Romo pass for 36 yards on the fourth offensive play to get his team inside the 20 yard line. He received even more attention in the second drive as he hauled in two balls, including his 400th career reception. Could it get better? Yes, as Witten then capped off the third Cowboy drive with an eight yard TD catch. Over the rest of the day, Witten was much less involved in the action -- particularly in the final quarter as Dallas went almost exclusively to the run -- but by then he had already done enough to ensure that he would finish with a monster day.

TE Martellus Bennett, Rec: 2 - 35 - 1 (2 targets)

While he was clearly the second choice at TE for QB Tony Romo, Bennett still demonstrated that he can be a valuable part of this offense. On no play was this better demonstrated than his first quarter TD where he was able to get open as Romo ran a right bootleg and haul in the 19 yard pass.

PK Nick Folk 2 - 2 FG, 4 - 4 XP, 10 points

Folk was called upon to make two field goals -- from 41 and 42 yards, respectively -- and he had little trouble making either.

DAL Rush Defense

The Dallas rush defense was in fine form today as they consistently denied the Seahawks any chance of moving the ball in any way other than through the air. While giving up 3.5 yards per rush may not be spectacular, many of the Seahawk's best running plays came late in the game during garbage time, skewing the final numbers.

DAL Pass Defense

The Dallas pass defense was two-faced during much of the game. At times in the first half, Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck was able to drop back and pick them apart, but at other times, the Dallas pass rush was able to break free and drop Hasselbeck for significant losses. By the second half, however, Dallas seemed to have solved their coverage problems and were constantly forcing Hasselbeck out of the pocket. By the end of the day, while they had given up almost 300 yards through the air, they had not given up any passing TDs, had sacked Hasselbeck seven times, and had forced a late game interception.

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