As he’s done at times already this season on elite NFL receivers, Seattle’s Richard Sherman shadowed Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant throughout Sunday’s game at AT&T Stadium.
Sherman, who has lined up at left corner most of his career, began shifting to different schemes on the inside and then began roaming the right side while Seattle’s defense tried to find some rhythm this season.
Against Bryant, Sherman proved the technique changes and cover packages are starting to take hold for the Seahawks’ secondary.
Bryant was targeted six times. He had two receptions and 12 yards.
Sherman said he thought Bryant showed a little rust from his seven-week layoff from a broken foot suffered in the season opener against the New York Giants.
“He maybe was off a bit, but once he got into a rhythm, he was the same old Dez,” he said. “Any time you take that kind of time off from the game, there’s going to be some transition time, but for him it’s going to be very short.”
Seattle’s secondary has struggled to maintain its momentum from the past two seasons.
Defensive backs had 28 interceptions in the Seahawks 2013 Super Bowl season and after getting no picks Sunday, have just three through eight games this season.
Still, it looked like the Cowboys game plan might be to go right at Sherman. Dallas quarterback Matt Cassel targeted Bryant in the right flat on the first play of the game.
Sherman knocked it away and Dallas went with a heavy dose of running back Darren McFadden after that.
“I was so proud of him today,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “He just competed exactly they way we want him to compete in situations like this.”
Bryant was targeted just twice in the first half, and his first catch against Sherman went for minus-3 yards midway through the third quarter.
Bryant had a different take on the game.
“Let me get something straight real quick. Hey man, nobody didn’t get locked down over here,” he said. “Let’s get real.”
By contrast, the Cowboys went at Seattle defensive back Cary Williams just twice in the first half which resulted in wide receiver Terrence Williams only catches of the game for 20 yards.
“I don’t know why they didn’t go at me more,” said Williams, who was acquired from Philadelphia in the off-season. “I’ve played Dallas the last two seasons and feel like I’ve done a pretty good job against those guys.
“For whatever reason, they didn’t go at me and I realize they’ve got some injuries and don’t have their quarterback but at the end of the day, we were the better team today.”
Russell Wilson was game for another comeback effort Sunday with a final game-winning drive.
He led the Seahawks on a 17-play, 79-yard drive that chewed up 5:35 and allowed Steven Hauschka to make a 24-yard field goal.
Wilson completed three passes and scrambled three more times to keep the critical drive going.
“You play in the NFL and these games are never easy, especially against the Dallas Cowboys,” Wilson said. “I thought we moved the ball OK; it could have been better especially on third down, but we got it done on the last drive and we just stepped up.”
Cowboys safety Jeff Heath hit Seattle wideout Ricardo Lockette on punt coverage in the waning moments of the first half.
Lockette, who suffered a concussion, appeared to have lost consciousness and fell to the midfield turf motionless.
He was immobilized and carted off the field after being monitored and attended to for more than 10 minutes.
Lockette broke inside on punt coverage and took about five steps before Heath collided into him.
He appeared to catch Heath’s right shoulder pad on the chin and his head snapped back.
The Cowboys and Seahawks got into a minor scrum while Lockette was being looked after.
“It was emotional for us, I can tell you that,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “The locker room was very quiet at halftime and that’s when you lean on guys like Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett to help keep us focused and lead some of these young guys.”
It was unclear when Lockette regained consciousness, but Wilson said when he came to, he began moving his arms and fingers while he was on the turf.
Heath was penalized by referee Carl Cheffers for a blind-side block. Carroll said he had not had a chance to review whether he though the hit was legal or not.
“I would say it probably would draw a fine,” he said.