The nickname for the Seahawks secondary is "Legion of Boom." An honorary membership is hereby extended to wide receiver Golden Tate.
Remarkable as was the 27-7 outcome over the Dallas Cowboys Sunday at the Clink, the way it was administered was breathtaking -- an application of Northwest wood in the harshest way. None was more harsh than what was delivered by Tate to Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee, who was jacked so high there was concern that Lee might suffer burns upon re-entry into the earth's atmosphere.
Fortunately, Lee was merely knocked woozy, and returned to the game. Same could not be said of the Cowboys.
Tate's blow came in the fourth quarter as quarterback Russell Wilson made it clear he was changing the play from pass to run like hell. Tate doubled back to help block the scramble. Lee, bearing down on Wilson, didn't see who was bearing down on him. Boom. Join the Legion.
In a day of memorable plays for Seattle, the decleating of Lee is offered as the best impression of the Seahawks' largest virtue -- weapons-grade ferocity. Tate's play will undoubtedly be reviewed by the NFL, and few would be surprised if Tate was punished with a stiff fine for hitting a defenseless player. But the replacement officials called nothing, instead throwing a flag against the Cowboys on the same play for a light tap on Wilson going out of bounds.
In spite of the magnum screw-up by the refs, the shot was symbolic of a power game unleashed upon the Cowboys.
"Now I see why (Seahawks defensive back Kam Chancellor) likes defense," said Tate. "I hope (Lee) is OK. Man, it felt great -- better than a touchdown to me.
These (defensive players) are always trying to take our heads off. Who says an offensive player can't do the same?"
As much as the dent Tate put in Lee spoke for itself, the representative play was obvious all the way to the opposing coach.
"Obviously, you want to be more physical -- you want to physically dominate them," head coach Jason Garrett said. "In this game, we certainly didn't do that."
More than yards and points, it was the power the Seahawks exerted over the Cowboys that was startling. Remember the long-held national reputation of the Seahawks as a soft team? These guys have a suggestion where the critics can install the Charmin.
"For us to finish the second half so aggressively and so tough, I'm really proud of it," said coach Pete Carroll. "I think it was really cool to be to be doing in front of the 12th Man -- they were on it today."
Touchdown drives of 88 and 90 yards did much to stimulate the passions, as did holding the Cowboys in the second half to three first downs and 34 yards of offense. Then there was the special teams, which had a decisive edge as they did in the opener at Arizona.
The kick rush unit was primarily responsible for a 10-0 lead in the game's first five minutes. On the opening kickoff, RB Michael Robinson tore loose the ball from returner Felix Jones, which was recovered by FS Earl Thomas. After the Seahawks made a field goal out of it, the defense forced a three-and-out on the Cowboys' first scrimmage possession.
On Chris Jones' punt, LB Malcolm Smith clobbered the ball and sent it flying backward. SS Jeron Johnson scooped it up at the 3-yard line, and suddenly it was 10-0.
The rest of the half was a trudge for both teams, with Dallas getting its only touchdown early in the second quarter on a 22-yard pass from QB Tony Romo to WR Miles Austin. But in the third quarter, the Seahawks began grinding with the running game, despite not having LT Russell Okung (sore knee) and only part-time work from starting right guard John Moffitt and tight end Zach Miller.
Midway through the period, Marshawn Lynch had a breakthrough, a 36-yard run in his finest Beast Quake form.
"That was huge for us," said Wilson. "Those runs where you're getting two or three yards (early in the game) usually open up to 15 yard gains or more."
Wilson had what was nearly a perfect game from Carroll's perspective: 15 completions in 20 attempts for 151 yards and no turnovers (passer rating 112.7), including a 22-yard pass for a TD to Anthony McCoy. That completed a 90-yard drive in eight plays, only two of which were passes.
The next time they had the ball, the Seahawks went 88 yards in 12 plays over nearly eight minutes, a massive example of scrimmage control.
"I don't think I've ever been part of 88- and 90-yard drives back-to-back," said center Max Unger. "We rotated through seven guys (through the O-line) and kept the communication going, which is something we didn't do last week."
All the while, the defense was disrupting Romo's timing while delivering licks on receivers that left the Cowboys wanting no more. TE Jason Witten, one of Dallas's biggest weapons, was a ghost for most of the second half. The Cowboys had only 49 yards rushing, with a long gain of nine.
What most pleased Carroll was the recovery from the 20-16 loss in Arizona, a game the Seahawks, and most Seahawks fans, believed should have been won.
"Last week made us all go into this shock thing, like, 'How did we not get that game?'" he said. "Other than that, we've been on stride the whole time. We're going to be very excited about coming back and playing next week."
That would be the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football Sept. 24. Tate and his pals already are laying in more harsh.