Kicking off Week 13, the Seattle Seahawks were daunted by the task of ending the then-home winning streak of 13 games for the Dallas Cowboys. Many believed this was a reeling Seattle team (hence, the 8.5-point line), I think the expectation was for the Cowboys to run away with this game as they have done over inferior teams throughout the season, especially at home.
But, the Seattle Seahawks actually aren't all that inferior to the Dallas Cowboys. Not to mention they have a coach way more motivating than that who stands on the sideline for America's team. It was pretty obvious from the get-go that Seattle came ready to play. The offense was finally clicking on all cylinders and even though the defense was struggling, they were flying around the field trying to make plays. There was no quit at all in this team.
In fact, it felt as if the Seahawks should have won this game. Taking control before halftime, Seattle didn't relinquish the lead until midway through the fourth quarter. I believe the opportunity that led Dallas to take the lead is what changed this game. I am not referring to the first failed fourth-down conversion. Rather, it was a drop by one of Seattle's clutch-est players.
Game-changing play for Seattle Seahawks in Week 13 defeat: Dropped pass
Over the last month, the Seattle Seahawks offense was in the midst of an identity crisis. In certain games, it felt as if they were getting away from running the football, even when struggling to move the chain through the air. Granted, injuries have caused this offensive line to continually be shuffled. But, there are really no excuses given the amount of playmakers on the perimeter for this team.
I thought Shane Waldron did a great job of game-planning for a hyper-aggressive Cowboys defense. Geno Smith's average release time was 2.54 seconds in this game, allowing him to be decisive in his reads. When Geno drops back and hesitates, that's when the sacks ensue. In Week 13, Geno was dripping in confidence. The offense was rallying behind him and he was on pace to piece together another scoring drive in the fourth quarter.
The veteran of this receiving core, Tyler Lockett, is Mr. Reliable. Throughout his tenure with Seattle, he has been the guy who Russell Wilson and now, Geno Smith, go to in the must-have moments. It's pretty rare for him to not show up in those said moments. But, on Thursday Night, he dropped what would have been a potential game-deciding play.
With just over 8 minutes left in the fourth quarter, holding a 35-30 lead, the Seattle Seahawks were on the march. At their own 45-yard line, Shane Waldron dialed up a shot play on 1st-and-10. Lined up in 12 personnel (1 HB, 2 TE, 2 WR), Geno can immediately tell the Cowboys are in man-to-man at the line of scrimmage. Defensively, Dallas is running a delayed blitz. There corners on the edge are judging the movement of Seattle's tight ends.
Once it's clear and obvious that Noah Fant isn't running a route, the Dallas defenders come for Geno. The single high safety gives help and follows DK Metcalf who is lined up in the slot running a crossing route. That frees up Tyler Lockett to break free on his crossing route, which Geno reads correctly and throws a beautiful pass.
In trying to track the ball, it looked awkward for Lockett. I don't know if he was tripping while trying to locate it, and that's what caused the drop. Nonetheless, it was a huge drop as that completion would have set up Seattle in prime position to score more points. If he hadn't tripped, he would have walked into the endzone. Three plays later, Seattle got stopped on 4th-and-1, giving Dallas the ball, which was the drive that gave them the lead.