ARLINGTON, Texas — Coming off the best passing day of his career, Tarvaris Jackson was looking to be even better against the Dallas Cowboys.
His evaluation: “I feel very sick about how I played today.”
Jackson threw interceptions on consecutive passes with the game on the line in the second half and another on his final throw, a fitting end to a 23-13 loss Sunday.
Seattle (2-6) was out of kilter throughout, from needing to take a timeout because it had only 10 men on the field for the game’s third play to the same player getting flagged twice for going out of bounds and failing to return quickly enough while defending a punt return. The Seahawks had a field goal blocked when a linebacker jumped over the center, and wasted Marshawn Lynch’s first 100-yard performance in a regular-season game since joining the Seahawks.
“It’s disheartening,” said Jackson, who was 17 of 30 for 221 yards against a Dallas defense that was picked apart by Philadelphia last week and that was missing linebacker Sean Lee, its leader in tackles and interceptions, and starting cornerback Mike Jenkins. “There were some poor decisions on my part.”
Seattle lost its third straight and fourth in five games. The Seahawks were hoping to get a boost from having Jackson and Lynch start together for the first time since beating the Giants in New York. But they played down to their ranking as the second-worst offense in the NFL. Their only touchdown came with 6:12 left.
“I’m really disappointed at where we are,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We thought we could be better. I don’t know any other way to think. But it doesn’t matter. Now it’s about going back to it and see if we can put together games that give us a chance to get some momentum going.”
This is only the midpoint of the season, and Jackson wants to believe the best is yet to come.
“It’s possible for us to go 6-2 or 8-0, whatever,” he said. “Hopefully we can turn it around and get it going.”
The Seahawks hung in early, limiting the Cowboys to six points on back-to-back-to-back drives that all got within 2 yards of the end zone. They tied it at 6 at halftime and were within 13-6 and driving when Jackson threw interceptions on consecutive plays. The Cowboys turned them into 10 points and the game was never close again.
“We’re definitely frustrated,” Seattle safety Earl Thomas said. “We play hard week in and week out, and we don’t get the results we want.”
Dallas (4-4) bounced back from a flop in Philadelphia and ended a skid of three losses in four games. Now the Cowboys are hoping this victory can start a midseason surge. Three of their next four foes have losing records, and they’ll come out of that potentially momentum-building run with two games still to play against the division-leading Giants.
“You can’t just hover around .500,” tight end Jason Witten said. “You need to make a run and make a push to stay in the hunt.”
Lynch ran for 135 yards on 23 carries. It was his first 100-yard performance in the regular season since December 2008 with Buffalo.
On the Cowboys’ second drive, Romo led them from their 2 to a third-and-goal from the Seattle 5. He didn’t see anyone open so he ran toward the end zone. When he realized he was going to be tackled plenty shy of the goal line, he slid at the 2, playing it safe with a chip-shot field goal. Fans who’ve wanted him to take fewer risks booed anyway.
“I obviously would’ve dived for the end zone if there was any chance,” said Romo, who played without a painkilling shot for the first time since breaking a rib in Week 2.
Dallas’ next series went 86 yards to the half-yard-line. Two incompletions and a failed run led to another field goal and more jeers.
The Cowboys looked like they were going to finally crack the end zone at the end of a reception by Dez Bryant. But as he was fighting for the final few inches, a defender he never saw hit him hard enough to pry loose the ball. The Seahawks recovered and the game wound up being tied at 6 at halftime.
Romo hit a wide-open Witten for a 33-yard touchdown early in the third quarter. After Jackson’s first interception, Romo found Laurent Robinson for a touchdown on a third-and-goal from the 6. Romo scrambled on that play and seemed ready to start running again when he pulled up and hit Robinson running alone across the back of the end zone.
“That last touchdown was vintage Tony,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.
Romo was 19 of 31 for 279 yards. Rookie DeMarco Murray turned 22 carries into 139 yards. He also caught four passes for 47 yards.
Dallas rookie Dan Bailey made three field goals, giving him 19 straight, the third-best streak in club history.
Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer shined on special teams, hurdling the center to block a field goal while Dallas was up 13-6.