SEA-DAL Grades: Seahawks clamp down in defensive battle
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Seahawks’ 13-12 win over the Cowboys.
– CB Richard Sherman (+5.3) got plenty of time against Dallas’ returning star, Dez Bryant, and saw significant snaps on both sides of the field for the third time this season to ensure the matchup the Seahawks wanted. Bryant was targeted five times with Sherman over him. One was caught for a 15-yard gain and a first down, but of the four others, Sherman knocked away three. He added one more pass defense for good measure, and walked away with his top coverage grade to this point in the season.
– LG Justin Britt (+3.8) may be settling into his spot in the interior. After opening the season with six consecutive negative game grades, the second-year former right tackle has found his way to back-to-back positives. This game saw him earn strong grades protecting the QB (+1.2) and blocking for the run (+2.9), something he did only twice last season—in Week 1 and then in the Super Bowl.
– Russell Wilson (+0.7) faltered at points in this game, but his rushing grade picked up some of the slack that his showing as a passer left short. On six runs Wilson picked up 32 yards, and most importantly, a pair of critical first-down conversions on the team’s drive for the go-ahead score. Despite being strong through the air when going after the middle of the field (12-of-13 for 141 yards and one touchdown), Wilson was less so when targeting the right side; and when he went left, he completed just one-of-six throws and put up the ball that Greg Hardy (+6.4) batted and intercepted.
CB Richard Sherman (+5.3)
LB K.J. Wright (+3.7)
LG Justin Britt (+3.8)
HB Marshawn Lynch (+2.2)
RG J. R. Sweezy (+2.2)
– Doing his part to fit in, rookie LG La’el Collins (+4.1) added another big game grade to the Dallas O-line’s collective trophy case. Grading positively both as a run blocker and in pass protection, Collins had a particular moment of glory at 10:44 in the second quarter (bulldozing LB Bobby Wagner and S Earl Thomas on the same play), and another at 8:19 in the fourth quarter when he drove DT Brandon Mebane nearly out of the picture before dumping him as well.
– DE Greg Hardy’s (+6.4) three weeks of work since his return already have him sitting inside the top 10 overall grades for 4-3 DEs. Along with five more total pressures to add to his season tally (two hits, three hurries) Hardy highlighted his day with a batted pass that he turned into an interception late in the third quarter. That takeaway set the Cowboys up deep in Seattle territory, and led to the field goal that gave Dallas their last lead in the contest.
– TE Jason Witten’s (-2.9) love-hate relationship with run blocking once again swung in the direction of the latter, as his troubles in that department made up the bulk of his overall grade for the week. With just two catches and 16 yards to show for his efforts in the passing game, Witten’s run blocking was left to represent him, and taking six negative marks of varying degrees on 28 run-blocking snaps proved too much to overcome.
DE Greg Hardy (+6.4)
LT Tyron Smith (+4.6)
LG La’el Collins (+4.1)
DT David Irving (+2.8)
DE Jeremy Mincey (+2.4)