Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate pivoted, leaned, and sent Dallas linebacker Sean Lee into the air, then onto his back with a clean, explosive block.
The collision sprung quarterback Russell Wilson for a scrambling first down. More important, it encapsulated the Seahawks' bullying ways Sunday in a 27-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys (1-1) in Seattle's home opener in CenturyLink Field.
Marshawn Lynch finished that same fourth-quarter drive with a three-yard touchdown run to put the Seahawks (1-1) in control, 27-7, with 7:35 remaining. Lynch, known as "Beast Mode" around Seattle, carried 26 times for 122 yards.
Tate's hit was a hot topic after the game.
"For the first half of it, I was just trying to get open," said Tate, who expressed his hope that Lee suffered no ill effects. "Once I saw Russ duck his head and just start taking off, I was looking for someone and he happened to be right there pursuing the ball. I figured it was either me hit him hard or he hit our quarterback hard, so I hit him."
Lee was down on the field briefly, then helped off and checked out on the sideline. He returned to the game.
"It's part of the deal," Lee said when asked if he thought it was a cheap shot. "I know that can happen any time you're out there playing hard. It's not my decision to judge that."
Wilson's home debut was crisp. He finished 15 of 20 for 151 yards and a touchdown.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo's return to Seattle was not. He was pressured, harassed, and occasionally drilled by the fervent Seahawks defense and finished 23 of 40 for 251 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Dallas tight end Jason Witten took a big hit in the ribs from Seattle strong safety Kam Chancellor in the first quarter and left for the locker room just before halftime. Witten started the second half and was clobbered by cornerback Brandon Browner on the first possession. Witten had two second-half drops that appeared direct results of prior smashings.
"Whoever touched that ball, stamp 'em, make 'em pay," Chancellor said. "That's what we did and they remembered that in the second half. They run the same play, and looking for us instead of the ball meant they felt it."
Though Wilson threw high at times, he was on point with a tender touch for a touchdown in the third quarter. Wilson hit tight end Anthony McCoy with a 22-yard pass with 5:05 left in the third quarter to vault the Seahawks in front 20-7.
The day was a disaster from the start for the Cowboys in a first quarter full of counterintuitive numbers. Their first three possessions ended this way: fumble, blocked punt, interception.
Dallas had the ball for 10:08 to Seattle's 4:52 in the first quarter. The Cowboys outgained the Seahawks 112-28. So, naturally, Seattle led 10-3 at the end of the quarter.
That's because of the Dallas turnovers. Cowboys kickoff returner Felix Jones was stripped on the opening kick by Michael Robinson and Seattle safety Earl Thomas recovered at the Dallas 29-yard line. The Seahawks had first-and-goal from the 8 but only produced a field goal.
Dallas' next possession was a bigger disaster. The Cowboys had a punt blocked by Malcolm Smith that was picked up at the 3 by Jeron Johnson and taken into the end zone. Seattle led 10-0 with 10:23 left in the first quarter.
It could have been worse for the Cowboys. Romo was intercepted in Seahawks territory by Browner, who returned the pick 35 yards to the Dallas 46. But Wilson missed an open Tate on a post route and the Seahawks punted three plays later to mitigate the turnover.
The Cowboys righted themselves with an extended drive at the end of the first quarter and into the second. The 15-play, 95-yard march ended when Romo lofted a touchdown pass to Miles Austin, who dived to extend the ball into the front corner of the end zone. Despite all that went wrong early, Dallas trailed just 10-7 with 12:09 left in the second quarter.
"I think we were ready to play, we just didn't play well enough today," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. " I think the mistakes early really hurt us.
"Obviously, you want to be more physical. You want to physically dominate them. In this game, we certainly didn't do that."
The Seahawks tacked on a 25-yard field goal from Steven Hauschka with 1:57 left in the half to take a 13-7 lead into the locker room after they were outgained 211-118.
Notes: Dallas nose tackle Jay Ratliff was inactive Sunday and replaced by Josh Brent in the starting lineup. Ryan Cook started at center for Dallas in place of inactive Phil Costa. … Sunday was the 14th regular-season meeting between the two teams. Dallas leads the series 9-5. … Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell left the game with an injured hamstring. … Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice left the game with an undisclosed injury. Carroll indicated Rice would be fine.