RENTON — For one of the rare times since coming back to the NFL, Pete Carroll saw the exact style he wanted the Seattle Seahawks to play with in their 27-7 rout of Dallas.
The Seahawks were aggressive, physical, controlled possession and wore down the Cowboys Sunday. Seattle had played that way at times during Carroll’s previous two seasons as head coach, but the Seahawks were arguably never more complete than in taking Dallas apart.
“We’ve had some fun wins and great games and stuff, but because we’ve been so specific, laid it out there, we told you for what we’re shooting for and how we want it to go. We’ve seen it in preseason and the first time we really got a chance to see it come to life, that is satisfying,” Carroll said Monday. “We know now what we are really working toward and what we want to achieve with our effort with the style of play.”
Seattle’s first win of the season quickly erased the disappointment and concern that arose following a Week 1 loss at Arizona. The Seahawks’ special teams staked them to a 10-0 lead thanks to Michael Robinson’s forced fumble on the opening kickoff and Malcolm Smith’s blocked punt that Jeron Johnson returned for a touchdown.
The defense gave up just one scoring drive, held Dallas to 19 plays and less than 100 yards offense in the second half, and forced Tony Romo into a trio of three-and-outs.
Offensively, Marshawn Lynch ran for 100 of his 122 yards rushing in the second half. Seattle was so successful with the run game that rookie quarterback Russell Wilson was asked to throw just eight times in the second half.
“We played really physical, a really physical style that is what we really want to capture,” Carroll said. “There is not a guy that sits in this room that doesn’t want to play on a team like that.”
That physical style was shown early with Dallas tight end Jason Witten taking hits over the middle from safety Kam Chancellor and running back DeMarco Murray smothered by Seattle’s defensive line. Murray was held to just 44 yards after he rumbled for 139 yards last year against the Seahawks.
But no play was more emblematic of the physicality the Seahawks tried to impose than Golden Tate’s flattening block on Dallas linebacker Sean Lee. While it didn’t draw a flag, it has drawn plenty of debate about its legality. Carroll said Monday he believes the block was completely legal, but will leave it up to others — namely the league — to determine if it’s worthy of a fine.
“I don’t think he could have done it any cleaner. It was very, very physical, but he didn’t hit the guy in the head and he didn’t hit him with his helmet and he tried to not do that. That’s the idea,” Carroll said. “I loved the guy jumped up and everything was OK.”
Seattle is now 10-8 coming off a loss in Carroll’s tenure, including victories last year over the New York Giants, Baltimore, Philadelphia and now the Cowboys. He saw this style begin to develop in the preseason, but was disappointed it didn’t show more in Seattle’s Week 1 loss to Arizona.
And there’s not a lot of time to relish such a satisfying victory. Seattle will get an extra day of rest this week before hosting NFC power Green Bay on Monday night, followed by consecutive road games at St. Louis and at Carolina.
Carroll is optimistic that left tackle Russell Okung will be back against the Packers after he was unable to go on Sunday. Tight end Zach Miller will be limited early this week with a foot injury, but Sidney Rice should be fine after being held out late in the game.
“They got the message, they showed it and we just didn’t get it done in Week 1,” Carroll said. “We’ll see if we can come back and play a nice football game again.”