Seattle Seahawks

He Said/She Said: Seahawks Bye Week Breakdown

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He Said/She Said: Seahawks Bye Week Breakdown

Oregon Sports News football writers Julian Rogers and Jessica Ridpath review the first quarter of the Seattle Seahawks’ 2016 season and look at what’s to come.

The good, the bad, and the New York Jets defense

Rogers: The Seahawks are on a bye, which is to say they’ll face the same level of resistance this week as they faced in last week’s victory in East Rutherford, New Jersey. How many times do you think Tanner McEvoy has heard already that catching touchdown passes is not usually THAT easy? When zone defenders decide to ignore you as you enter their turf and then do you the additional courtesy of falling down, it makes it pretty easy to cradle gently wafted passes for touchdowns.

The hero doing the pass-wafting was the rumored-to-be-compromised Russell Wilson, who proved me wrong, among a gaggle of nay-sayers, who thought he should sit this one out. Instead of being pummeled, Wilson had his best game of the season, despite not having his usual level of escapability: 23/32 passes for 309 yards, 3 touchdowns, zero interceptions.

It’s quite an indictment of a defense’s front seven if you can’t get at a hobbled quarterback playing behind one of the NFL’s most suspect offensive lines. DangerRuss, I tip my cap* to you.

Jess, how about those Seahawks receivers? Did they not steal the show or what?

Ridpath: Three words: “Pedestrian” no more.

From Jimmy Graham nabbing a one-hander to Doug Baldwin hanging on for a clutch catch despite a brutal hit, the Seahawks receivers were in top form against the Jets. In fact, they’ve been so good all season that Seattle is currently ranked 10th in receiving yards for the 2016 regular season.

That’s right. The squad with the league’s once dominant run game is officially (for now) a top-ten receiving team. That stat intrigued me so much I did a little poking around the NFL stats page to find out the last time that happened. Take a guess.

2007. I’m not kidding. It was Bobby Engram’s second-to-last season as a Hawk, and they were ranked 7th in receiving yards. Since then, the only time they’ve come close to performing that well was 2009, when they ended the year ranked 15th.

Key in this season’s receiving renaissance is, of course, the long-awaited emergence of Graham. Among all receivers, he’s ranked 25th in yards per game (Baldwin is 10th). Among tight ends, he’s second (behind only Carolina’s Greg Olson). He’s been especially effective at long gains, logging an average of 16.6 yards per catch — which puts him fifth among all players with at least 15 catches. (All stats from nfl.com.)

As the season continues, I wouldn’t be surprise if the blue birds continue down the road of this dramatic identity transformation — led by Wilson’s newfound comfort in the pocket and his receivers’ able hands, athleticism, and versatility. It’s a surprising sea change for a team that has long hung their hats on an oppressive ground game.

Speaking of surprises, Julian, let’s talk about the status of the NFC West four weeks in. I don’t think anyone expected to see the Arizona Cardinals at the bottom of the division — nor the Los Angeles Rams at the top. What gives?

Rogers: Are you ready for your division-leading Los Angeles Rams, 12s? There have been many surprises this young season, but the current reality of the Rams being in first place (!) and owning the tiebreaker over the Seahawks is right up there with the Carson Wentzexpress, the Minnesota Vikings’ imperviousness and the Carolina Panthers’ implosion.

Add one more shocker: The Cardinals’ likewise cratering to the depths of the NFC West. Both NFC Championship teams from 2015 are off to ugly and wholly unexpected starts for such talented rosters.

The first thing you look for when top teams fall are injuries. Yes, both Cam Newton andCarson Palmer were knocked out of their last games with concussions. That’s bad. However, both teams had already forged losing records before losing their quarterbacks tothe scourge that may one day be the NFL’s undoing. Both teams are shadows of their 15–1 and 13–3 2015 seasons.

For the sake of both veteran quarterbacks, I hope they can resume their careers without doing more harm. For the sake of the Seahawks, the early jump the Seahawks have on both still likely NFC playoff contenders is not insignificant. For the Panthers, they lost to two undefeated teams and the 3–1 Atlanta Falcons. The Cardinals also lost to the 3–1 New England Patriots and the still-suspect Rams — both at home. They next face the San Francisco 49ers tonight, without Palmer. If they lose on the road in Santa Clara, things could get really ugly.

The Seahawks may be in a position to effectively end the red birds’ postseason chances when they meet on Oct. 23 in Glendale, Ariz. Because the Seahawks’ own quarterback, apparently, is impervious to injury.

Jess, now that I’ve been chastened, I can never doubt Russell Wilson again. He’ll presumably be even healthier, post-bye. Are there any ways in which the Seahawks, with a hot start behind them, are not primed for a deep playoff run?

Ridpath: Count me among the many nay-sayers who felt Wilson should have taken a week off. He proved all of us wrong — and he did it with stubborn authority. I spent much of last week criticizing his over-the-top determination, but he demonstrated (again) that he is a tough-as-nails champion … and the blue birds’ heart and soul.

Russ and his super hero cape aside, the Seahawks have many enviable assets, including a blistering defense, a receiving corps on the rise, and a run game that, while declining a bit, is still a threat (currently 11th in the league).

The obvious X factor is the offensive line. Their best game in this young season came last week in New Jersey, with rookie right guard Germain Ifedi playing in his first regular season game. The first-round pick from Texas A&M delivered a solid performance —playing all 60 snaps and receiving kudos from Pete Carroll for his pass protection.

But one good game does not a solid o-line make. And it’s hard to forget how ugly things looked in weeks 1 and 2. That said, this year’s line is performing miles above their start in 2015. After four games last season, Wilson had been sacked 18 times. Heading into this year’s week-5 bye, the sack count is half that. If Ifedi, center Justin Britt (who was praised by Pro Football Focus for his performance last week), and their fellow lineman can keep going on this trajectory, Seattle will surely be among 2016’s top playoff contenders.

Julian, it’s time to lay out some end-of-season predictions. Your challenge, should you choose to except it, is to pick the league’s eight division winners. Go.

Rogers: Here is what my crystal ball says, 25 percent of the way through the season.

NFC

West     Seattle Seahawks
North    Green Bay Packers
South    Atlanta Falcons
East       Dallas Cowboys

AFC

West     Denver Broncos
North    Pittsburgh Steelers
South    Houston Texans
East       New England Patriots

Yes, I’m taking the chalk in the AFC, but I’m predicting late-season surges for three of the four NFC teams. Poke away at it. You didn’t ask, but I’ll give you my Wild Card picks too: Eagles & Vikings in the NFC; Raiders & Ravens in the AFC.

Here’s a challenge for you, since we don’t have a Seahawks game to predict. Pick this weekend’s winners for all of the 2016 surprise teams. That includes the already mentioned Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, Vikings, Panthers and Cardinals. It also includes honorable mention surprise teams like the Patriots (no Brady, no problem … now with Brady), Atlanta Falcons (NFL’s No. 1 offense), Cowboys (rookie RB leads league, rookie QB has no turnovers) and let’s also include the Broncos. Even though they are defending Super Bowl champions, they are weathering quarterback turnover during an undefeated start. Which of them will you predict to keep the magic or nightmare going?

Ridpath: I can’t poke any holes in your AFC predictions. And I think you’ve named the NFC’s post-season teams correctly — but you’ve got them sorted wrong. The Vikings will win the North, and the Eagles will be the surprise victors in the East. Green Bay and Dallas will get the Wild Cards.

On to my challenge: I’ve ranked these matchups in order from “clear advantage” to “who the hell knows”?

Patriots at Browns: He’s ba-aaack.

Jets at SteelersRyan Fitzpatrick has a bad case of interception-itis, while Pittsburgh bounced back big time after their surprising loss to the Eagles.

Buccaneers at Panthers: Ain’t no way Cam Newton is going to allow a loss at home against Tampa Bay. If he plays, of course. That’s looking pretty iffy right now.

Eagles at Lions: Wentz’s magic will continue and Philly’s third-ranked defense will smother Detroit.

Bills at Rams: Buffalo’s gotta be feelin’ it after shutting out the Pats. Their stout defense will dominate once again.

Texans at Vikings: Houston is off to a good start, but the loss of J.J. Watt is a big deal. Minnesota (#2 in this week’s power rankings) will have their number.

Bengals at Cowboys: A.J. Green killed it last week, and Andy Dalton had his best game of the season. Dez Bryant might be back. If he’s not, advantage Cincinnati.

Cardinals at 49ers: This should be an easy game to predict, but Arizona’s loss to the Rams last week makes it a head scratcher. This will be a desperation win for the Cards.

Falcons at Broncos: My gut says the league’s #1 offense will best the #4 defense, even though they’re playing in Denver.

Rogers: I agree with you on Patriots over Browns (c’mon!), Steelers over Jets, Panthers over Buccaneers (Even if Derek Anderson has to start) and Eagles over Lions. Even though I do think the Rams are playing over their heads, I believe they will take down the Bills at home, who have only scored 23 points combined in their two road games.

I’ll side with you on the Vikings keeping it going against the Texans at home. But we diverge on the rest: I will take the Cowboys at home over the Bengals who are only averaging 19.5 points per game this season. My gut tells me the 49ers will rise up tonight to take down the wounded Cardinals. I also think the Denver defense can hold down the Falcons’ surprising offense enough to win in Denver.

Owning up
Here’s what we were right and wrong about last week.

What he got right: I did make good on my season-opening prediction of the Seahawks starting at least 3–1 (although I lost faith in that prediction when Wilson got banged up). I stated Graham was hitting his stride now. Imagine how good the blue birds will be if he keeps this up.

What he got wrong: The game winner. I’m 2–2 on the season. I thought Wilson should give way to Boykin. Wasn’t necessary.

What she got right: The game winner, lifting me to 3–1 … one game up on my worthy opponent. I praised both Graham and Baldwin, and they continued to prove they deserve every word. I also expected Seattle’s defense would be too much for the off-kilter Jets. Four sacks and three interceptions later, they proved me right.

What she got wrong: I was ready to go all in for Boykin because I assumed Russell Wilson was human and would need time to heal. Wrong. Evidently, I need to buy stock in Nanobubbles.

* I don’t wear a cap. It’s sunny and moderate where I live. Plus, It’s not 1943. 

Seahawks sign Paxton Lynch as potential backup behind Russell Wilson

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Seahawks sign Paxton Lynch as potential backup behind Russell Wilson

The Seattle Seahawks now have a new option at backup quarterback. 

According to the official NFL transactions wire, the Seahawks have signed Paxton Lynch to a reserve/future deal, as previously reported by Ian Furness of Sports Radio KJR

Lynch was selected by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft via a pick acquired from the Seahawks. That pick, coincidentally, came in full circle on Thursday, as the Seahawks traded the pick used on Lynch to lock up offensive lineman Germain Ifedi and tight end Nick Vannett in 2016. 

While in Denver, Lynch started four times and went 79-of-128 for 792 yards for four touchdowns and four interceptions, before being waived by the Broncos in September. He remained unsigned last season, making him eligible to sign a futures contract with the Seahawks before the start of free agency in March. 

The 24-year-old will compete for Seattle's backup quarterback role behind veteran signal caller Russell Wilson. 

Brett Hundley, who previously held the backup role behind the six-time Pro Bowler in 2018, did not take an offensive snap all season long. He is expected to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Seattle's other backup option, Alex McGough, signed with Jacksonville on Wednesday after spending a year on Seattle’s practice squad. McGough’s contract expired earlier this week making him a free agent. 

Russell Wilson replaces Aaron Rodgers on NFC Pro Bowl team

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NBC Sports Northwest

Russell Wilson replaces Aaron Rodgers on NFC Pro Bowl team

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson will make his sixth Pro Bowl appearance as a replacement for Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who will not play due to injury.

Rodgers and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff were named to the team with Wilson being left out despite having arguably his best statistical season. 

Wilson, while leading Seattle to a 10-6 record, had career-highs in touchdown passes (35), touchdown percentage (8.2) and passer rating (110.9). He also set a career-low in interceptions (seven). His completion percentage of 65.6 was the second highest of his career. 

The Pro Bowl will be held Jan. 27 at noon at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.

Wilson will join punter Michael Dickson and linebacker Bobby Wagner on the NFC team.

The Seahawks have six other players listed as alternates: Running back Chris Carson, return specialist Tyler Lockett, defensive end Frank Clark, guard J.R. Sweezy and safety Bradley McDougald.

Happy Anniversary to BeastMode and his Skittles

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Happy Anniversary to BeastMode and his Skittles

8 years ago today, Marshawn Lynch AKA Beast Mode, went full Beast Mode and ate all the Skittles on his one-man wrecking ball wild run into the end zone. 

In one of the most remembered runs in all of the NFL, Lynch etched his name into history. It was the NFC Wild Card game vs. the New Orleans Saints in Seattle where the Seahawks found a 34-30 lead with just over three minutes remaining when Lynch began his lesson of “Get Off Me: 101” to the entire Saints defense. Missed tackle after missed tackle complimented by a nasty stiff arm that sent Tracy Porter back to the fifth grade. 

Beast Mode was hungry and Beast Mode ate.

The Seahawks went on to a 41-26 NFC Wild Card victory. Lynch recorded 19 carries for 131 yards. 

Has K.J. Wright played his final game with the Seattle Seahawks?

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USA Today

Has K.J. Wright played his final game with the Seattle Seahawks?

Seattle's loss at Dallas on Saturday night in the NFL Playoffs might have been linebacker K.J. Wright's swan song with the Seahawks. 

Wright made a huge play in the game when he intercepted a pass in the end zone during the fourth quarter with Seattle trailing 17-14. He committed a costly penalty when he got flagged for pass interference on third down during Dallas' final scoring drive that gave the Cowboys a 24-14 lead late in the game. Seattle lost 24-22. 

“It was a tough game," Wright said in the visitor's locker room later. "We knew it was going to be a battle... It is a learning lesson for us. We just have to bounce back."

The question is if the "we," he speaks of includes Wright moving forward. 

Wright, 29, just completed a four-year, $27 million contract and will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The 2016 Pro Bowler is coming off of an injury-riddled season in which he appeared in just five regular season games because of a recurring knee injury after having missed just five games during his first seven seasons. Drafted by Seattle in 2011, Wright performed well when able to play this season. His abilities are not an issue. The question is whether Seattle wants to reinvest in him moving forward?

Wright's expressed desires leave no room for ambiguity. 

"I head into free agency and we'll see how that goes," Wright said. "Like I've said, I want to be here. I love playing with this team...And I believe that it would be in the team's best interest if I stay here."

The franchise, Wright said, has given him no indication as to if he potentially has a future with the Seahawks. 

"I want to be here but there's decisions to make and they have to do what's best for their team," Wright said. 

Seattle coach Pete Carroll was asked on Monday about Wright's future. 

“We’d love to have K.J. back with us," he said. "That’s one of the many issues.”

Juxtapose that response to the one Carroll gave when asked about the future of wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who also had an injury-filled season. 

“Yeah, I’m planning on (Baldwin) being right with us,” Carroll told reporters.

Granted, the two situations are not exactly equal. Baldwin has one year remaining on his contract worth $10.25 million of non-guaranteed money while Wright is a free agent who could choose to sign elsewhere. Still, Seattle could release Baldwin and save the $10.25 million on the 2019 cap just like the team did last year when it let go of cornerback Richard Sherman. 

While this is clearly an attempt to read into one man's words, the bottom line is that it doesn't appear that Wright is at the top of the team's lists of offseason concerns. 

Carroll did say that having Wright return to action late in the season helped the defense. 

"He’s such a great player and a great leader and mentality," Carroll said. "He gives other people strength just being around him and he’s unbelievably valuable."

But will that make him worth a new contract?

Seattle has limited options on the roster to replace Wright. Rookies Jacob Martin and Shaquem Griffin had moments but neither appears ready to start next season. Seattle would likely have to draft a linebacker or sign one in free agency. There is always the chance the Mychal Kendricks could return if he avoids going to prison after pleading guilty to inside trading. He faces up to three years. 

Losing Wright would certainly impact the locker room. 

“KJ has been unbelievable for us. I remember coming here in 2012 and seeing this tall, long, athletic linebacker that could make all the plays," quarterback Russell Wilson said. "I was like dang they make linebackers like this? I thought he was a defensive end. He’s been tremendous for us just how many plays he’s made and how many great things he’s done. He’s battled all season through injury. To be able to show up tonight once again and play great football. Him and Bobby [Wagner] are as good as it gets. They are the best tandem in football at the linebacker position. Those guys are special. Hopefully, we can find a way to keep KJ.”

Baldwin called Wright a "rock." 

"He’s been one of those pillars you look towards in the locker room," Baldwin said. "I knew exactly what he stands for. I knew exactly what he was going to bring to the table both on and off the field. It’s a testament to the man he is, first and foremost. He’s been that for all of us. For myself, Bobby has leaned on him so many times. Now the young guys get to experience that. They get the joy of a leader like that in their corner this year. It’s going to be an amazing thing. Hopefully he gets to stay with us.”

Probably nobody on the team would miss Wright more than middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. The two are the lone remaining defensive starters from the 2013 and 2014 Super Bowl teams. Wagner said the way Wright fought throw his injuries to work his way back and play the way he did on Saturday was special to behold. 

"It was a amazing," Wagner said. "Probably had a lot of guys counting him out, didn't think he was going to be good, or whatever the case may be. But you come and see when healthy how amazing of a player he is... It's amazing to have him on the field. It's amazing to see how great of player he is and see how even better of a person that he is. It's a person you definitely want to have in the building."

Wagner said he plans to keep a close eye on Wright's situation this offseason. 

"I'm pretty sure he is going to tell me everything that is going on," Wagner said. "I'll pay attention to it. He's my brother. I hope everything works out but I understand that it's a business, so I don't know what's going to happen."

Carroll likely has an idea what is going to happen. Certainly there are legitimate reasons to move on from Wright. He will be 30. He just made $7.2 million. Would he accept a pay cut to stay? Could he get a stronger offer on the open market than what Seattle would pay him? Would Seattle be better of using that money elsewhere? Also, he's coming off of a knee injury that cost him 11 games. 

But there are also many reasons to keep him around if the price is right. He can still play. He is a leader. And, will Seattle really find someone better for 2019? 

"He’s been a fantastic player for us for years in every way," Carroll said. "In every way he’s been a leader, he’s been tough, he’s been here, he’s been consistent. His messaging, everything he stands for is what we love about him and we’d love for him to be here throughout.”

We shall see just how deeply that love for Wright actually runs. 

Report Card: Grading the Seattle Seahawks' playoff loss at the Dallas Cowboys

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NBCS NW

Report Card: Grading the Seattle Seahawks' playoff loss at the Dallas Cowboys

Seattle's season ended with a thud Saturday night when the Seahawks lost 24-22 at Dallas in the NFC Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs. 

The game featured numerous key moments that contributed to the team's loss but there were several uncharacteristic performances that hurt Seattle's chance of winning. Here is a report card of the Seahawks' performance:

Offensive line: D

They say strong running games travel well in the NFL playoffs. If that's the case, Seattle simply didn't bother to pack theirs and the offensive line failed to get the job done on Saturday.  

That's a shame given how far this group had come this season and how it helped the Seahawks lead the NFL in rushing.
Seattle rushed for 73 yards on 24 carries with the running backs gaining 59 on 21.

That overall production was well below the team's 160 average and short of the 113 the Seahawks gained on Dallas in Week 3.

Saturday's poor rushing performance greatly contributed to the team converting on just 2-of-13 third-down attempts. 

Left tackle Duane Brown said Seattle knew that Dallas would do a lot of stunts in order to throw Seattle's linemen off of their blocking targets, and it worked.

"They were very good at it and we just weren't efficient in adjusting to it," Brown said. "Nothing that surprised us. They'd been doing it all year."

Brown added that Seattle didn't live up to its billing as a power running team. 

"I take my hat off to their defense," Brown said. "They played a very good game. But us up front, we created an identity of being a physical team and running the football and we weren't able to do that today."

 

Front seven: C-

Let's lump both the defensive line and the linebackers into this one.

Seattle had to control Dallas' "triplets" of QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott and WR Amari Cooper. The Seahawks failed. 

Elliott rushed for 137 yards and one touchdown, Prescott passed for 226 yards, threw for one touchdown, rushed for 29 yards and a rushing touchdown, and Cooper had 106 yards on seven receptions. 

The 29 rushing yards for Prescott might not seem like a lot but 14 of those yards ultimately decided the game.

With Dallas leading 17-14 and just over two minutes remaining in the game, the Cowboys faced a third down and 14 at the Seattle 17-yard line. As if the Cowboys had planned to kick a field goal, they ran a quarterback draw. But Prescott managed to gain 16 yards on the play to set up his one-yard scoring run that gave Dallas a 24-14 lead that Seattle did not have time to overcome. 

That play alone warranted a poor grade for Seattle's front seven, which registered just two tackles for loss and one sack on the night. Still, the group did not play awful football given that it kept the team in the game despite the poor play by Seattle's offense. 

Nevertheless, allowing Elliott to have a big game helped Dallas win the field position battle. 

“It’s bad. It’s so simple too," said Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright, who had a key interception in the fourth quarter. "I hate that we can’t watch the film and come back next week. It is just something that is easy. And you just have to pick up those easy plays in order to win these football games.”

 

Wide receivers: B

Where would Seattle have been without wide receiver Tyler Lockett, who caught four passes for 120 yards, 40.1 percent of the team's total output of 299?

The problem was that Seattle probably didn't turn to the passing game often enough, which limited Lockett's potential impact and certainly contributed to Doug Baldwin having just 33 yards.

When Seattle struggled rushing the football in a game this season at Carolina, a team with a top-10 rushing defense like Dallas', the Seahawks put the game in quarterback Russell Wilson's hands and he threw for a season-high 339 yards in a 30-27 win. Wilson passed for 233 at Dallas. 

Granted, Seattle began with minus 15 yards passing in the first half thanks to a screen pass that lost eight and a sack. But, after that, Seattle got the passing game rolling but still remained committed to the run game. 

One caveat to all of this is that the team mostly threw on third downs and converted on just 2-of-13 attempts. 

But one wonders what might have happened had Seattle allowed Wilson and his receivers to go gangbusters in this game. 

 

Bobby Wagner hopeful contract extension forthcoming from Seattle Seahawks

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USA Today

Bobby Wagner hopeful contract extension forthcoming from Seattle Seahawks

One of the top storylines regarding the Seattle Seahawks this offseason will be the contract status of middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. 

The four-time All-Pro has one year remaining at $10.5 million on his current deal but is hopeful that the Seahawks, whose season ended Saturday night following a 24-22 loss at Dallas in the NFL Playoffs, will rectify that situation before next season.  

"I let the business side play out," Wagner told reporters today at the team's practice facility in Renton, Wash. "I’m heavily involved in the business side. Would I like to be taken care of before the season? That’d be great. If I don’t, then that wouldn’t be the end of the world. I understand this is a business and I’m prepared for anything that happens. If they sign me before then, cool. If they don’t, cool too."

That attitude would be a dramatic 180 from that of safety Earl Thomas, who held out last offseason in search of a new contract with one year remaining on his deal. Thomas became a distraction before he went down for the season in Week 4 at Arizona with a broken leg that validated his search for financial security. Seattle could decided to make Wagner play out his contract, as well. Or, the Seahawks might decided that Wagner is simply too valuable both on and off the field to play contract games with and decide to get a deal done in order to prevent him from becoming a free agent in 2020. 

"I want to be here," Wagner, 28, said. "This is where I want to be for my career. This is an amazing city, amazing fans, an amazing organization and so I would love to be here. We’ll make sure business takes care of itself.”

Wagner, named to the NFC Pro Bowl team for the fifth time, had 138 tackles this season with a career-high 11 passes defended, third among all linebackers. 

Seattle Seahawks leave Dallas 'sad,' 'confused,' and 'frustrated' but also optimistic

Seattle Seahawks leave Dallas 'sad,' 'confused,' and 'frustrated' but also optimistic

ARLINGTON, Texas - Sad. Confused. Frustrated. 

That's how Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin described his emotions Saturday night following the Seahawks' 24-22 loss to Dallas in a wild card playoff game played in front of 92,851 at AT&T Stadium. 

The Seahawks (10-7) were the slight underdog. They were on the road. They weren't supposed to be in the playoffs this season to begin with. Yet, the belief inside a somber Seattle locker room following the game was that the better team didn't show up and allowed the lesser team to prematurely end the Seahawks' season.  

"Anytime you go to the playoffs, your mindset...is four more games," Baldwin said. "Four more games. And you never think it's going to end. You don't have that mindset. You believe with every ounce of your being that you are going to become victorious no matter what the obstacle is placed in front of you. And when you don't, you don't expect that. So, it being fresh, I'm still mourning it. Still disbelief in some ways."

Plenty occurred in this game to disbelieve from Seattle's perspective.

  • Seattle led the NFL in rushing with 260 yards per game. Tonight, the Seahawks managed just 74. 
  • Seattle converted on 38.9 percent of third downs during the season, it converted on just 2 of 13 (15.4 percent) tonight. 
  • The Seahawks limited their penalties for much of the season and committed just one through three quarters tonight. But four huge penalties in the fourth quarter (holding, personal four and two pass interference calls) dramatically hindered their chances of winning. 
  • Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson seemingly had the clear edge over his the younger and more inexperienced counterpart, Dak Prescott. Yet it was Prescott who made more big plays in this one and made the arguably the biggest play of the night to ice the game late. 

Yet, despite all of its misfortunes, Seattle had a chance to win up until the very end. So what do we make of it all?

Was Seattle simply not that good to begin with and lucky to even be in the playoffs. Or, is this a young team on the rise that will use this defeat as fuel for a deeper run next season? The bulk of the evidence suggests the latter and that's what this team will take with it into the offseason. 

"Look out! This team, we've got everything that we need," Baldwin said about the Seahawks' future. "We've got all the pieces. We've got the right mindsets. The personalities. Everything. It's just, we're a young team. And with the time comes progression, comes growth, comes learning."

Seattle tight end Ed Dickson, who won a Super Bowl title with Baltimore, said he sees championship traits in this group but also said he recognizes the areas where the team needs to mature and improve. 

Quarterback Russell Wilson this season has repeatedly compared this year's team to the 2012 Seahawks that went 11-5 his rookie year and then the following season won the Super Bowl. He reiterated that belief tonight. 

"If precedence has any truth to it hopefully we will find a way to do something good like that," Wilson said. 

The makeup of these Seahawks is one that thrives under adversity so much that it's almost as if they seek it out. How else does one explain how they routinely transform seemingly unwinnable situations into winnable possibilities then cash in? Tonight they faced about as much adversity as they have all season but were unable to seize big moments when they presented themselves. 

Left tackle Duane Brown credited Dallas for how its front seven played while stuffing Seattle's running game. However, he also pointed to the hostile crowd and environment as being nothing that this team had ever experienced before on the road. That, he said, might have led to a horrific start in which Seattle finished the first quarter with five total yards and minus 15 yards passing. The latter didn't seem possible with Wilson at quarterback but the lack of a strong running game put the passing game in unenviable situations against a fierce Dallas defense. 

"We weren't able to run it the way we wanted to tonight," Wilson said. "It was unfortunate."

It was everything. Seattle's entire existence is built on running the football. No run usually equals no win. But when the running is struggling, the best way to get it going is to keep running it and that requires having the ball and that requires converting on third down. 

"The crux of the matter was third down," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "you don't get the third down conversion you get your next shot to call all your stuff. The game plan gets left in the bag a little bit. So, that's just how it always had gone."

Give Seattle's defense some credit. Despite the offense's struggles, Seattle's defense kept the Seahawks' in the game and they led 6-3 late in the second quarter and 14-10 in the third quarter after a four-yard Wilson touchdown run. 

Seattle trailed 17-14 in the fourth quarter and that's when the penalties kicked in. The most costly were two pass interference penalties on third down as Dallas worked to eat the clock. Even with those penalties, Seattle had Dallas sitting on a third down with 14 yards to go from the Seattle 17.

All Seattle had to do was stop the Cowboys on third down, hold them to a field goal then, while trailing 20-14, watch Wilson lead the team down the field to win the game 21-20. It's not like similar scenarios haven't played out many times before. 

Instead, Prescott ran an unexpected quarterback draw play that middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said caught the Seattle defense off guard and darted and juked his way to a first down at the Seattle one. On the next play he scored from one yard out with 2:14 remaining in the game. 

Even then this team didn't quit. Wilson threw a touchdown pass, then Seattle added a two-point conversion and just like that the game was 24-22 with 1:22 remaining. 

That resiliency is what Seattle coach Pete Carroll said makes this team special.

"They never think they're out," he said. "They don't believe that they're out of anything. They're going to keep coming back and fighting and clawing and scratching and figure out a way. And when you believe like that, you're belief is that strong that you're going to create something, things happen."

On this night, Seattle failed to make that one thing happen in order to win the game. An onside kick attempt failed miserably, Seattle had no more timeouts remaining and Dallas ran out the clock to end the game and the Seahawks' season. 

Soon, reflection began. 

Baldwin spoke to the team in the locker room and urged this young team to cherish this as a learning moment and commit to get better.

"When you're in these moments it's kind of hard to cherish them because you're focused on the task at hand....You don't want to miss those moments because you can get better in those moments," Baldwin said. 

Wilson said he expects this team to do just that.

"I think if we can eliminate some of the little mistakes here and there," Wilson said, "I think there's nowhere we can't go." 

Rapid Reaction: Three quick takeaways from Seattle’s loss to Dallas

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Rapid Reaction: Three quick takeaways from Seattle’s loss to Dallas

The No. 5 NFC seeded Seattle Seahawks (10-6) traveled to the No. 4 seeded Dallas Cowboys (10-6) in an NFC Wildcard showdown under the Texas Saturday Night lights. After getting off to a slow start, Russell Wilson brought the Seahawks out of a slump through the air to his steady-handed receivers of Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett, and on the ground with a 4-yard rushing touchdown. But the momentum stopped there. In fact, it stopped on the end of a nasty stiff-arm from Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott out-ran the entire Seahawks rush attack finishing with 137 yards on 26 touches (compared to Seattle that finished with 73 yards as a team on the ground.)

In the end, it was all Dak Prescott and the Boys as Seattle falls 24-22 on the road in round one in this NFC Wildcard matchup and have been eliminated from the playoffs.

Here are some quick thoughts from our reporters on the scene...

FINAL BOX SCORE: Seahawks 22 - Cowboys 24

Aaron Fentress, Seahawks’ Insider: A horrible first quarter (five total yards), being bad on third down (2 of 13) and two pass interference penalties on third down late in the game were major factors in Seattle losing.

Aaron Fentress, Seahawks’ Insider: The only way Seattle was going to overcome a poor performance running the football was if quarterback Russell Wilson had a big game. He did not. In fact, he was outplayed by Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott. 

Ashley Young, NBCSNW Football Coordinator: What was supposed to be Seattle’s bread and butter, the Seahawks’ ground game was left on the dinner table last night. Seattle rushed for just 73 yards as a team, whereas Dallas running back Elliott rushed for 137 himself. 

Bobby Wagner, Michael Dickson land on AP NFL All-Pro first team

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Bobby Wagner, Michael Dickson land on AP NFL All-Pro first team

Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and rookie punter Michael Dickson have done it again. 

Just one month after the two Seattle Seahawks were named to the 2019 Pro Bowl team, the Associated Press announced today that Wagner and Dickson had been selected to the NFL All-Pro Team's First-Team. 

Wagner and Dickson were named to the first team while veteran left tackle, Duane Brown, was named to the second team, as voted on by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. 

Wagner, who was named on 49 of 50 ballots, has made the All Pro team for the third-consecutive year. Overall, he has made the Pro team on four occasions, and now ties Walter Jones for the most first team All-Pro picks in Seahawks history.

The middle linebacker was the lone Seahawk in 2017 to receive the prestigious honor. 

Dickson, a fifth-round selction out of Texas, received his first All-Pro nod. The Australian punter had 18 votes and makes the team after recording an overall 48.2 yards per punt and a net average of 42.5.

Brown also earned second-team All-Pro honors. Brown, who was acquired via a trade with the Houston Texans last season, received All-Pro honors in 2011 and 2012 as well. 

The Seahawks (10-6) will look to ride the success of Wagner and Dickson into Arlington, Texas to face the Dallas Cowboys (10-6) in the wild card round of the NFL Playoffs at 5:15 p.m., Saturday at AT&T Stadium.