The Seattle Seahawks came up shy in Thursday night's 41-35 shootout loss in Dallas, but the offense broke out of its slumber, scoring touchdowns on five of the first seven drives before a late-game swoon sealed their fate.
Thursday marked the first loss of the Pete Carroll era (2010) when scoring 35-plus points, falling to 34-1.
Geno Smith played a phenomenal game, passing for 334 yards with three TDs and an INT, getting the ball out quickly, and beating a Cowboys defense that had discombobulated quarterbacks with pressure this season.
However, the biggest presence for the Seattle offense belonged to receiver DK Metcalf, who blasted through the Cowboys secondary for 134 yards and three TDs on six catches.
"Yeah, DK had a huge game," Carroll said after the loss, via the official transcript. "I thought he did great. Dominant. I love the way he played tonight."
Metcalf kicked off the Seahawks' scoring barrage with a 73-yard catch and run in the first quarter, outracing the defense. The wideout reached 22.2 MPH on the score, making him the fastest ball carrier this season, per Next Gen Stats.
"I thought DK was just playing the way he always is capable of," Smith said of the wideout. "He's running so fast out there. I think he hit 22 miles per hour. Shoot, man, he made a bunch of plays. He's such a mismatch out there. I just appreciate playing with him. I thought he had a phenomenal game. Everything about what he did today was awesome."
On the first score, Metcalf said he had flashbacks to a 2020 game against Dallas, getting caught from behind by Trevon Diggs for a fumble.
"I just saw the ball in the air and nobody was in front of me," Metcalf said. "Last time I was in the open field, there was a defender behind me and knocked it out of my hand. I was trying not to relive that moment. (The throw was) as accurate as it could be. In between two defenders, he put to where only I could catch it."
Metcalf tortured reigning Player of the Month DaRon Bland, earning 111 yards on four catches and all three TDs against the corner, per Next Gen Stats. Smith had a perfect 158.3 passer rating when targeting Metcalf versus Bland.
Thursday marked Metcalf's second game of 2023 over the 100-yard mark, his highest yardage output since 149 yards in Week 4, 2022, against Detroit, and his first 3-TD performance since a Week 16, 2021 win over the Lions.
Seattle generated 406 yards and 25 first downs, going 9 of 14 on third downs while averaging 6.3 yards per play.
"Yeah, we finally started executing," Metcalf said. We were moving the ball down the field and we scored in the red zone. I think that's one positive takeaway we can take from this game."
Alas, the Seahawks came up short with three straight turnover on downs to close the close contest. With a defense that has been ripped apart this season, Seattle needs more offensive performances like Thursday's if it's to cling to the playoff spot that is slowly slipping away.
"There's no concession to losing, but we will definitely build on this," Carroll said of the offense. "Because the execution, the come-through and toughness, and the physicality of it, because of the respect we have for them, all of those things are of course things we can build on. There's all kinds of stuff that's going to happen. The story's not told, what's going to happen. We've got great chances again in the next couple of weeks against teams that are worthy of being on top of this thing at the end, and we're going to show the world we're worthy of being right there with them."
The 6-6 Seahawks currently hold the No. 7 slot in the NFC, with games against San Francisco and Philadelphia on tap the next two weeks.