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Published: Monday, September 17, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Seahawks' defense shuts down Cowboys in 2nd half

  • The Seahawks Jeron Johnson (32) celebrates with teammate Bruce Irvin (51) after Johnson returned a blocked punt 3 yards for a touchdown in the first h...

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    The Seahawks Jeron Johnson (32) celebrates with teammate Bruce Irvin (51) after Johnson returned a blocked punt 3 yards for a touchdown in the first half of Sunday's game against the Cowboys.

SEATTLE -- Still smarting from a disappointing finish to their season opener, the Seattle Seahawks defense channeled their frustration into an outstanding performance in Sunday's 27-7 victory over Dallas at CenturyLink Field.
The Cowboys finished with 296 total yards, with 95 of them coming on one drive in the second quarter and only 85 in the second half.
"We played well. We prepared well," Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner said. "We knew exactly what they were going to be doing out there, and we were ready for it."
For one drive, it looked like the Cowboys might get it going like they did last week when they racked up 433 yards and 24 points against the New York Giants.
In the second quarter, they went 95 yards on 15 plays to score a touchdown that made the score 10-7. They made it look easy.
But that was the only real noise the Cowboys offense made all day.
In particular, the Seahawks bottled up Dallas running back DeMarco Murray. Last season, Murray ran for 139 yards as the Cowboys beat Seattle 23-13 in Dallas.
On Sunday, he had only 44 yards on 12 carries.
"It was very critical. That was the big emphasis going into the week," safety Earl Thomas said of Seattle's focus on Murray. "Especially when we had a bad taste in our mouth from the first week."
The Seahawks lost their opener last week when Arizona drove 80 yards for the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. That memory inspired them this week.
"We felt like we should have won that game," Thomas said. "Guys just said we've had enough, and we pulled together."
Golden hit
Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate had the hit of the day in the fourth quarter when he leveled Dallas linebacker Sean Lee on a scramble run by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
"I remember in college I ended up knocking both of us out," Tate said when asked if he'd ever made a block like that. "But, no, I've never hit anyone that hard. It felt good to make a play without having the ball in my hands."
Tate also made plays with the ball in his hands, catching three passes for 38 yards after missing the season opener because of a sprained knee.
Lee was shaken up on the play but returned to the game after a short rest.
Reduced penalties
The Seahawks were called for only five penalties for 35 yards on Sunday, a dramatic improvement from last week, when they were flagged 13 times for 90 yards in the loss to Arizona. Penalties were a problem all last season, as well, as Seattle averaged 8.6 penalties per game, second most in the NFL behind Oakland.
Injury update
Cornerback Byron Maxwell limped off the field with a hamstring injury after a play on punt coverage, and did not return to the game. Receiver Sidney Rice took a hard shot trying to make a diving catch over the middle, but was able to stay in the game. He later came out and did not return, but Pete Carroll said Rice seemed OK in the locker room and was not on his team's injury report. Tight end Zach Miller, who was limited throughout the week with a foot injury, "Barely made it through the game," Carroll said.

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