Earl Thomas and company, take a bow. Oh, Earl already did?
Well, he deserved to. Along with Bradley McDougald, Chris Carson, Tyler Lockett and the rest of the Hawks, who finally got on the board and avoided the dreaded 0-3 start.
The Seahawks played great defense, overcame a reshuffled offensive line, ran the ball and took advantage of Dallas’ defensive blunders in a 24-13 win Sunday.
Thomas, who created a lot of drama by deciding to practice intermittently to save his body, picked off two passes and McDougald forced a fumble as the safety duo increased its turnover take to six through three games. You can fully expect Thomas to continue to call his practice schedule — and the Hawks not to argue — as long as he remains on the team.
“He gave everything he had today,” Carroll said, refusing to elaborate on the drama from Friday. “He played his tail off and he had blast playing and had a blast in the locker room.”
The way Dallas’ secondary played, you can bet the Cowboys’ brass had a chat with John Schneider before, during and after the game about a possible deal.
Thomas actually thought this could be his last game. “I don’t know if it was, but I had a damn good time and I’ll go out like that if I have to.”
He also confirmed he will continue to sit out practice whenever he wants as long as he remains in Seattle without a new deal.
“I need to make sure my body is 100 (percent) and I’m invested in myself,” he told reporters. “If they was invested in me, I’d be out there practicing, but if I feel like anything — I don’t give a damn if it’s small, I got a headache — I’m not practicing.”
McDougald also continued to play great football — defending the pass well and forcing a fumble. “He’s playing great ball,” Carroll said.
Meanwhile, Carson was the Running Man, as he should have been since Week 1. His totals (32-102) were better than the first two weeks combined (13-75) as he became Seattle’s first 100-yard rusher since Thomas Rawls in December 2016. His 32 runs also tied Marshawn Lynch (2011) for the most under Pete Carroll; Rawls (2015) is the only other back to rush 30 times under Carroll. Carson also scored just the second TD by a Seattle tailback in the past two seasons.
“We ran the ball 39 times today — that’s what I’m talking about,” Carroll said. “Chris was a real workhorse today — over 30 carries. The whole feel of it, the whole mentality fit together precisely how we hope to see it. Now it’s our job to recreate it and do something with it this week.”
Sure, Carson’s average was not very good — he fought for a lot of those yards — but what would you expect from a line that had shuffled its interior three to make up for the loss of two starters from the Monday night game? Justin Britt was active and dressed, which means he seems likely to return sooner than some thought.
Carroll was impressed by the offensive line, especially with D.J. Fluker returning.
“The guys up front played a really good game today,” Carroll said. “I was really fired up to get Fluke back in there. He’s such a spirit. He’s got an energy about him we’re really excited about. … We certainly missed not having him the last couple of weeks.”
Carroll said J.R. Sweezy played well at left guard and said both guards brought “attitude” and Joey Hunt “showed all of the great work he has done in his preparation to be able to jump in there and play.”
He referenced Justin Britt being concerned about getting “Wally Pipped.” “He’ll battle back this week.”
“This is where we want to be,” Carroll said of the running game. “It doesn’t mean anything if we don’t come back and do it again next week.”
The line also kept Russell Wilson clean. He was sacked just twice, after being taken down 12 times in the first two games. He’s still running about 50 percent blame for the sacks — he held the ball too long on one of this game’s sacks after causing about seven sacks in the first two games.
Wilson was much more decisive vs. Dallas and willing to unleash the ball. His day would have been much better if Brandon Marshall hadn’t failed to catch four third-down passes (at least two were pure drops).
Wilson was under 60 percent passing coming in, but he hit 61.5 percent and didn’t turn the ball over vs. Dallas. He also took advantage of some loose/busted coverage by Dallas for TD throws to Jaron Brown (16 yards) and Tyler Lockett (52). Lockett has scored in every game.
Wilson also managed tempo and cadence better vs. Dallas and made the Cowboys take timeouts because they weren’t ready, Carroll said.
“He handled every aspect of his game really well today,” Carroll said. “He was really smart today, really on it.”
All in all, the Seahawks looked to take a big step in getting their first win, but they still need to prove it, as Carroll said. First they need to take it to a winless Arizona team and then they need to see whether they can compete with the red-hot Rams.