Marshawn Lynch. There were so many candidates from this impressive performance, but the Seahawks’ Beast Mode-running back remains the metronome by which this team beats.
He finished with 122 yards on 26 carries, including a 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that slapped the exclamation point on this one. As always, it wasn’t so much that Lynch got the yards, but how he got them. He averaged 2.2 yards on 10 first-half carries, then exploded for 100 yards on 16 carries in the second half – including a 16-yard run on the first play of the half and a 36-yarder on the eight-play, 90-yard drive in the third quarter that was capped by rookie QB Russell Wilson throwing a 22-yard TD pass to tight end Anthony McCoy.
“It was very much needed, and I’m glad we got it,” Lynch said of the running game producing 182 yards and the offense getting 315 yards.
Offered Pro Bowl fullback Michael Robinson, “You might get pumped up to hit 24 (Lynch) in the first quarter and he might get three yards. But in that fourth quarter, you really don’t want to hit him. He gets stronger. Our offensive line gets stronger.
“When we’re rocking like that, that’s what we want to do. We want to run the ball, we want to play-action (pass) off that and give our defense a rest so they can go out there and dominate.”
UNSUNG PLAYER OF THE GAME
Frank Omiyale. Russell Okung was expected to start at left tackle, despite bruising his left knee in last week’s opener against the Cardinals. But after working out before the game, the coaches decided he couldn’t go. That put Omiyale in harm’s way – or at least in the line of the fire that Cowboys’ pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware in capable of generating.
Ware’s stat line: no sacks, one tackle for a loss, one QB hit.
“Frank is a guy who’s been around the League for an extended period of time,” Wilson said of Omiyale, who started 31 games the past three seasons for the Bears but was making his first start for the Seahawks.
“He has great knowledge of the game. He works extremely hard. The fact that we thought Russell was going to be able to play, but he couldn’t go today, so Frank stepped up and did a tremendous job. I mean an unbelievable job. He’s been doing that for years, so you kind of expect that out of him. Just the way he goes about his business, the way he approaches the game, approaches the week. I wouldn’t expect anything less.”
Asked about the game plan against Ware, coach Pete Carroll said, “Our plan was to hope he didn’t kill us.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Wilson’s TD pass to McCoy, which came from a three-tight set on the right side. McCoy was in the middle, between Zach Miller (inside) and Evan Moore (outside). When they broke from the line, the cornerback had to take either McCoy or Moore.
“We kind of put the corner in a big predicament,” said McCoy, who had a team-high five receptions in addition to his first NFL touchdown catch. “He had to cover both me and Evan on the play. He chose one and left me open.”
Yes, the way the play unfolded caught McCoy by surprise.
“I’m like, ‘Man, we’re in the red zone and I’m this open?’ ” McCoy said. “I was kind of expecting someone to be there on the catch, but no one was there. It was a great play call.”
Defense: With the Seahawks holding a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, the Cowboys had driven from their 20-yard line to the Seahawks’ 24. But on a second-and-10 play, Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Browner intercepted Tony Romo’s pass that was intended for tight end Jason Witten.
“I’m kind of mad that I got caught,” said Browner, who returned the pick 35 yards. “I felt like I had a shot to go all the way, but I was a little gassed out there.”
Special teams: The Seahawks forced (Robinson) and recovered (Earl Thomas) a fumble on the opening kickoff to setup a field goal. But the next time the Cowboys got the ball, the Seahawks’ special teams scored. Second-year linebacker Malcolm Smith blocked a punt and second-year safety Jeron Johnson picked up the ball on a hop and ran three yards for a TD.
“Malcolm was inside of me and I was rushing to the outside,” Johnson said after scoring his first TD since he was a senior at Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif. – and playing middle linebacker. “Nobody blocked Malcolm and the ball bounced right to me.
“It was a big play. Special teams showed up big today.”
Big hit of the day: Golden Tate, come on down. The 202-pound wide receiver drilled Sean Lee, the Cowboys’ 245-pound linebacker, with a vicious block on Wilson’s 14-yard scramble in the fourth quarter.
“Now I see why Kam (Chancellor, the team’s Pro Bowl strong safety) likes defense,” said Tate, who was making his 2012 debut after sitting out the opener with a knee injury. “It felt great.
“It’s a momentum boost. All of sudden we had momentum and drove the ball all the way down the field.”
Eight plays later, Lynch scored his TD, but only after Tate caught an 8-yard pass on third-and-4 to give the Seahawks a first down at the Cowboys’ 3.
Cornerback Byron Maxwell left the game with a hamstring injury and wide receiver Sidney Rice did not finish the game.
But Carroll said he was unaware that anything was wrong with Rice. “He looked OK in the locker room,” Carroll said. “I didn’t see anything. I don’t have any update on that. He was not on the injury list.”
The Seahawks have won four consecutive home openers, and nine of their past 10.
The defense got their hands on seven of Tony Romo’s passes, including two each by Leo end Chris Clemons and linebacker K.J. Wright.
Chancellor had a team-high nine tackles.
Rookie rush-end Bruce Irvin got his first NFL sack. Or at least half of one, as he shared the team’s only sack with Jason Jones. Those are the two players the Seahawks added during the offseason – Irvin in the first-round of the NFL Draft, Jones in free agency – to improve their pass rush.
On the Seahawks’ 90-yard TD drive in the third quarter, they did not face a third-down situation.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I knew it was going to be electric, and it was more than I could ever imagine. The crowd is a huge, huge advantage for our football team. And when the 12th Man is that loud and that energetic, it really helps our offense, our defense, our special teams and just continues to boost us.” – Wilson, after playing his first regular-season game at CenturyLink FIeld.