Top 5 games in Seahawks-Cowboys history

The Seahawks' history against the Dallas Cowboys could hardly have started more ominously.

On the first play of the first game between the two in 1976, a Jim Zorn pass was intercepted.

Then things could hardly have gone better — in what was just their fourth-ever game, the Seahawks rebounded to take a 13-0 lead against a Dallas team then in the beginning of its “America’s Team’’ phase in front of a hopeful Kingdome crowd of 62,027, the largest Seattle would have during its first two seasons.

Reality eventually intruded, with Roger Staubach leading the Cowboys to a 28-13 win.

Thus started a series that hasn't always necessarily been filled with drama — 10 of 19 games have been decided by 10 or more points with three others decided by a touchdown or more — but has still featured its share of memorable moments.

Here’s a look at the top five games in a series that renews with a wild-card playoff game Saturday in Dallas.

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2006 Wild Card Playoff Game

Seahawks 21, Cowboys 20

If some of the regular season games between the two teams have at times lacked for excitement that was not the case in their only playoff game.

In the year after the Seahawks advanced to their first Super Bowl they hosted the Cowboys and a young QB named Tony Romo, then in his third NFL season but having just taken over at mid-season for the first time as the starter, replacing Drew Bledsoe, in a wild-card playoff game.

In a taut affair that featured four lead changes, the Seahawks regained the advantage at 21-20 on a Matt Hasselbeck 37-yard pass to Jerramy Stevens with 4:24 left.

But three Romo completions and then a 35-yard run by Julius Jones got Dallas into field goal range.

On a third-and-seven play from the Seattle 8, Romo hit Jason Witten, who was brought down near the 1 by Lofa Tatupu and Julian Peterson. Replay upheld that Witten was just short of a first down, sending on Martin Gramatica for a seemingly chip shot 19-yard field goal with 1:19 left.

And then the bobble heard round the NFL happened. Romo couldn’t get the snap down, then took off running, trying to save both face and the game with a touchdown. Only, Jordan Babineaux --- solidifying his “Big Play Babs’’ moniker (more on which below)--- dove and tripped up Romo just shy of the goal line.

"I didn't catch the ball and I didn't get it down," a visibly distraught Romo said afterward. "It happened pretty quick and it obviously cost us the game. … When I started to move (toward the goal line) I felt like there was a chance. But I didn't make it."

Romo would go on to win only two playoff games in his career.


Photo by Rod Mar / The Seattle Times

Oct. 23, 2005

Seahawks 13, Cowboys 10

Seattle’s march to its first Super Bowl can seem fairly pre-ordained when viewed in retrospect. But it was hardly a given at midseason when the Seahawks were 4-2 and hosted a Dallas team that was also 4-2.

On a rainy fall da, the Cowboys then proceeded to shove the Seahawks around for most of the next 60 minutes — Shaun Alexander gained just 61 yards, his second-lowest total in the season in which he would win the NFL MVP award — and took a 10-3 lead with 2:08 left.

That proved to be exactly two minutes, eight seconds too many.

First, Hasselbeck led a quick drive that resulted in a 1-yard pass to Ryan Hannam with 46 seconds left to tie it.

Then, with 15 seconds left and Dallas facing third and 7 at its own 44, Bledsoe tried to force the ball in to Terry Glenn. Babineaux instead picked it off, returning it from the Seattle 43 to the Dallas 32.

With four seconds left, Josh Brown hit a 50-yard field goal and that was that. The win was the third in a streak of 11 in a row that propelled the Seahawks to Detroit.


Photo by Rod Mar / The Seattle Times

1986 Thanksgiving Day win

Seahawks 31, Cowboys 13

Seattle lost its first three games against Dallas in the first 10 years of its franchise, all by decisive margins, including a 51-7 embarrassment on Thanksgiving Day in 1980.

Seattle got another shot at Thanksgiving Day in Dallas in 1986.

Not that there seemed any reason to think Seattle would win. A meandering Seahawks team entered the game 6-6, having lost five of its previous seven games during a stretch in which Dave Krieg was benched, and was listed as 7.5-point underdogs.

No matter. In a game that truly kicked off one of the more inexplicable in-season turnarounds in Seahawks history, Seattle dominated from the start, holding the backfield tandem of Tony Dorsett and Herschel Walker to 96 yards while limiting quarterback Steve Pelluer — a former UW standout playing in place of injured veteran Danny White — to an inconsequential 210 yards. Seattle took a 24-7 halftime lead and cruised to what was the second in a season-ending streak of five straight wins that gave Seattle a 10-6 record. Alas, Seattle didn’t get a playoff berth in a season regarded as one of the team’s biggest missed opportunities — the Seahawks were the only team that year to beat both Super Bowl participants, Denver and the Giants.

Photo by Craig Fujii / The Seattle Times

Dec. 6, 2004

Cowboys 43, Seahawks 39

Seahawks fans at least got to see history, if not a win, in one of the crazier games ever played by Seattle, or by anyone on Monday night, for that matter.

In what was also the last hurrah for Jerry Rice — he had eight catches for 145, barely less than half of the 362 he would have in 11 games in his only season as a Seahawk — it was Dallas that got the last laugh.

The Cowboys led 29-14 early in the third quarter before the Seahawks scored 25 in a row to take a 39-29 lead with 2:46 remaining.

But Vinny Testaverde then threw a 34-yard TD pass to Keyshawn Johnson — yep, there were a lot of big names in this game — and Witten then recovered an onside kick. That led to another quick Dallas scoring drive capped by a 17-yard TD by Julius Jones with 32 seconds remaining.

It was the first time in the history of Monday Night Football a team trailing by 10 or more points at the two-minute warning won the game.


Photo by Jon Lok / The Seattle Times

Dec. 24, 2017

Seahawks 21, Cowboys 12

Maybe we could have picked the 2002 game when Emmitt Smith became the NFL’s all-time rushing leader. The game was actually sort of exciting, Seattle winning on a Rian Lindell field goal with 25 seconds left. But the two teams would combine to go 12-20 that season. Last season, when the two met in Dallas, each still had playoff hopes. It wasn’t artful — the Seahawks gained just 136 yards on the day. But Seattle got a Justin Coleman pick-six and dive into the Salvation Army kettle and two Russell Wilson passes to get a win that was then pretty much overshadowed by Earl Thomas’ “come get me’’ request to Jason Garrett.

The Seahawks didn’t go to the playoffs in 2017 despite the win. But thanks to the Seahawks, neither did the Cowboys.


Photo by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times