Russell Wilson wins NFC shootout, outshines gritty Dak Prescott performance

It wasn’t initially the shootout everyone was expecting to see, but it most certainly became one as the game rolled along between the Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys en route to a 38-31 win by Seattle. For the most part, the Cowboys were doing well with containing the deep ball by the Seahawks, having made only two big mistakes in the first half and cleaning up one of them with an effort play by rookie second-round pick Trevon Diggs — who punched a would-be touchdown loose from D.K. Metcalf and forced a touchback. The other mistake was damaging though, allowing Tyler Lockett to score one of his three touchdowns on the day.

Lockett’s second was a punctuation mark on a second-quarter drive fueled by three defensive penalties against the Cowboys, marking yet another week in which Dallas had to attempt to overcome its own mistakes. His third ended the half to give the Seahawks distance and digging away from just a one-point lead.

Things ratcheted up in a major way in the second half, with Dak Prescott throwing for more than 400 yards in his second consecutive game, lifting Cowboys receiver Cedrick Wilson to a career day and getting big numbers from Michael Gallup. Not to be outdone, Russell Wilson continued his campaign for MVP, throwing for five touchdowns with a 130.7 passer rating. In the end, it was the shootout we were all promised, with the Seahawks narrowly escaping to keep their undefeated record intact.

Why the Seahawks won

Russell Wilson — that’s why.

For a second consecutive game, Wilson racked up five touchdowns and this time he threw not a single interception. As a matter of fact, despite being sacked a total of four times, he didn’t turn the ball over. The rallying cry for his MVP bid is as justified as it’s ever been, and it helped to see him run up against a Dallas secondary that’s without two starting cornerbacks — both on injured reserve — which made it that much more difficult to stop both Metcalf and Lockett. So by the time Lockett reeled in his third touchdown catch of the game, it was a foregone conclusion Prescott would have to be the one to again save the day for the Cowboys, and he’d have to do it with a patchwork offensive line that had so much trouble it forced Mike McCarthy to move All-Pro right guard Zack Martin to right tackle.

That didn’t stop the interior left side of from collapsing time and again though, and former Dallas pass rusher Benson Mayowa joined Jarran Reed in helping to put the squeeze on Prescott when it mattered most. Credit the Seattle defense for doing their job just enough, but the reason the Seahawks won is the guy wearing the No. 3 jersey.

Why the Cowboys lost

Russell Wilson — that’s why.

Is there an echo in here? No, and while he’s not the only reason they lost, the reality is the Cowboys did little to halt the onslaught that rained down upon them in Seattle. A fantastic three-sack outing by Aldon Smith and a fourth sack contributed by Antwaun Woods should’ve been enough to rattle the bones of Wilson, but it wasn’t. Diggs was outstanding in coverage for the third straight week and his touchback poke against Metcalf immediately negated the one instance wherein he got exploited by one of the best receivers in football. And yet, without two starting corners in Anthony Brown and Chidobe Awuzie, and with multiple mistakes at the safety position at different points of the game — the aforementioned sacks did nothing to make Wilson take off his cool.