Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray was held to 63 yards on 20 carries in the first three quarters, but Dallas kept pounding away and Murray rushed for 52 yards on nine carries in the fourth quarter, including a 15-yard touchdown run that put the Cowboys ahead for good with 3:16 to go.
So the Seattle defense, which entered the game No. 1 against the run this season giving up an average of 62 yards per game, finished with a 30-23 loss in which they allowed Murray to tie a record set by NFL legend Jim Brown.
Murray’s 115 yards on 29 carries was his sixth consecutive 100-yard rushing game to start the season, which equals Brown’s record set in 1958 with the Cleveland Browns.
The winning drive was indicative of how the Cowboys didn’t get frustrated when the Seahawks stopped Murray. He had three plays on that drive for no gain -- a run off right tackle, a run off left end and a short pass to the left.
But the last three touches by Murray, on the final three plays of the drive, got it done. He ran 25 yards off tackle before being stopped by cornerback Marcus Burley. Then came a 6-yard run before being tackled by free safety Earl Thomas.
That left Dallas with a second-and-4 at the Seattle 15, trailing 23-20. Murray took a handoff and raced up the middle for the TD. So that was 46 yards rushing on the final three plays of the drive.
Murray did not talk to reporters after the game, but the Seahawks had plenty to say about their poor performance. Seattle had allowed only 62.3 yards per game on the ground and only 2.6 yards per carry.
Dallas rushed for 162 yards and a 4.4-yard average per carry. That includes 52 yards for running back Joseph Randle, who had a 38-yard run up the middle in the first half. But it was Murray who did the most damage in the end.
“He’s a great back,” Thomas said. “He kept fighting all the way through. He outlasted us. I take full ownership of not stopping it, but we’ll fix it.”
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said the Cowboys did some surprising things in the running game.
“They ran some stuff unique stuff, some style plays that really worked for them,” he said. “But we were high on some tackles and he knocked us off a few times.”
Part of the problem was an injury to Seattle middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. He missed part of the game after jamming his big toe and finished with a season-low seven tackles.
“It played a little bit of a role," Wagner said. “I was in some pain, but I tried to fight through it.”
Whatever the reasons, the Seahawks' run defense failed them.
“Our defense is like a string of puppets," said linebacker Bruce Irvin, who had one sack but only two tackles. “We’re all on the string. When one person is out of a gap, it messes up the entire defense.”
The string broke Sunday. And Murray and the Cowboys ran right by them.