Seattle Seahawks

He Said/She Said: Seahawks set to battle Rams

He Said/She Said: Seahawks set to battle Rams

by Jessica Ridpath & Julian Rogers 

Oregon Sports News football writers Julian Rogers and Jessica Ridpath preview the week two matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Rams.

When: 1:05 p.m. PT Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016 
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, Calif.

Rogers: Russell Wilson’s ankle health is the kind of news that makes a come-from-behind, nail-biter win seem inconsequential. Wilson’s so-far mysterious injury may / may not prevent him from playing. Details are and will remain sketchy until game time, but right now, it appears Wilson’s injury, initially shrugged off, but then described as “significant,” later described as “nothing very serious,” will not prevent him from playing Sunday. That’s good. A bum ankle could a have a ripple effect on not only Sunday’s game, but the Seahawks’ season and roster.

As of Wednesday, the only roster move the Seahawks made was to bring their other preseason quarterback, Jake Heaps, back into the fold on the practice squad. They’re rolling the dice with Wilson. As for a possible return of Tarvaris Jackson, it does not appear imminent and certainly won’t happen in time for this Sunday’s game.

So we are looking at a compromised Wilson in LA. We saw how that worked out in the latter stages of week one (post Suh stomp). The other factors: how easily could Wilson be reinjured? How long will his injury hamper his play?

Is it panic time? I think not. The Seahawks have a recent history of starting slow. They stumbled out of the 2015 gate with a 2–4 record and still were a team that advanced in the playoffs. It’s all about how you play in November/December. And right now, there’s no reason to think Wilson won’t have a healthy ankle in those crucial months.

Jess, last week you wrote that your biggest concern was Wilson’s health. You weren’t alone. We are now in a world where the Achilles heel of the Seahawks (backup quarterback) has already become an in-season factor. How should the Seahawks adjust to keep their playoff plans alive?

Ridpath: You (and others) had me convinced Seattle would try to sign a veteran quarterback this week. But Wilson is insisting he will play on Sunday.

Honestly, if I were Pete Carroll, I would give Wilson a week of rest — even if my only plan B were to give Trevone Boykin a shot against the Rams. Here are two reasons why:

  • If the Rams’ dismal first outing is any indication of the strength of their offense (186 yards, with only 10 first downs), Seattle’s defense will have a field day on Sunday. Outside of Earl Thomas (who I may have called “Sir Wiffs A Lot” during the game), the defense looked fairly strong in game 1.
  • Why risk an entire season on an early game against a mediocre (at best) opponent? As you pointed out, November/December is where the action is. Keeping Wilson healthy for the remaining 14 games seems infinitely more important than winning in week 2.

Even if Wilson weren’t hurt, I think Seattle would have to be focused on major adjustments on offense. I feel like a broken record at this point, but the offensive line has got to find a way to buy their quarterback (whomever that may be) more time. What we saw on Sunday (long before Wilson’s ankle became an issue) was a “short, chippy approach to the passing came.” That won’t work against defenses that are tougher than the Miami Dolphins’ … regardless of who the signal caller is.

Julian, what do you make of the Rams’ rebuilt offense, whose hopes appear to rest squarely on the shoulders of running back Todd Gurley?

Rogers: Based on the Rams’ ugly loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night, Gurley is the entirety of their offense. They had nothing working: zero points, 185 total net yards and a third-down efficiency of 3/15. Case Keenum at quarterback is less imposing than a one-legged Russell Wilson.

You’re not wrong about Earl Thomas having an off game. It’s not a trend, yet. But a sudden unexpected liability in the LOB would put extra stress on the already sputtering Seahawks offense.

There is good news. The Seahawks’ defensive front proved stout, accounting for all five of the Seahawks’ sacks. Curtis Marsh may have become a cult hero based on his special teams ferocity. And the rest of the secondary had excellent games. Like, the best game.DeShawn Shead graded out as Pro Football Focus’s highest rated corner from week one. Sherman was on lockdown duty, allowing only two yards on one catch.

Also as expected, the Seahawks’ offensive line had its problems. They were not able to generate much push in the run game (3.42 YPC for three running backs; a meager 96 rushing yards among them) and gave up three sacks, including the play on which Wilson got hurt.

I bring this up because the strength of the Los Angeles Rams is Aaron Donald and the defensive line. At least it used to be. The 49ers made them look bad, which will give the Seahawks many new insights. Yes, the Seahawks are favored, but the Rams have won three of the last four meetings with the Seahawks. And that was when Wilson had two working legs. They, more than any other NFC West opponent, have the Seahawks’ number. Jess, can the new-look Seahawks (run a lot, keep Wilson in the pocket) work in Los Angeles?

Ridpath: It depends on which version of the Rams defense shows up. On one hand, Los Angeles gave up 150 yards on the ground last week. On the other hand, they came to life in the second half, stopping the 49ers on four consecutive third downs. Playing at home against division rivals after a bitter defeat, I expect LA’s defense will deliver the better version of themselves this Sunday.

At least that’s the assumption Darrell Bevell should make as he attempts to bring Seattle’s running game back to its former glory (or at least within spitting distance.)Christine Michael and Thomas Rawls each posted a couple of clutch runs last Sunday … but neither put together a consistent performance, failing to deliver on the usual Seattle standard: just 3.5 yards per rush — worse than all but two games in 2015.

With Wilson questionable and the Seahawks’ rushing attack still developing, I’m giving the edge to the Rams defense. And I might even be skeptical about Seattle’s chances for victory if not for one thing. No matter what shape their offense takes come Sunday, they’ll be facing off against an offense that has yet to show any signs of life this season. The timing couldn’t be better.

Julian, am I overlooking something? Or is facing the Rams when Wilson is injured an early-season gift for the Seahawks?

Rogers: No time is a good time to have your starting quarterback injured. But you may have a point. The Rams could not look more beatable right now. And the Seahawks have 14 remaining games to make up any potential ground lost in the standings should they return from Tinsel Town as losers.

But you were talking about the Rams’ lifeless offense. It wasn’t exactly scintillating last year (ranked 32nd) and appears, after one game, to have taken a major step back. I didn’t think that was possible. This does bode well for the visiting blue birds.

The missing dynamic for the Rams’ offense was the inability to threaten with any viable downfield passing. Much of the blame has been placed on Keenum, but he’s not solely at fault. The Rams’ offensive line was repeatedly overmatched by the 49ers’ defensive front, making early season stars out of a couple of ex-Oregon Ducks linemen,Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner. The Rams receivers had difficulty getting open and the offensive scheme had no answers.

The 49ers may be better (at least on defense) than we knew, but can the Rams expect to get well against the Seahawks? If they do, it will be a strong indicator that the Seahawks’ defense isn’t up to usual standards. If the Seahawks throttle the Rams, well, that’s what everyone is expecting.

Jess, who’s going to win the Seahawks’ first trip back to Los Angeles since 1994?

Ridpath: I’m expecting a low-scoring game, but I’m confident Seattle will come home victorious. The question is, will Wilson come home healthy? Seahawks fans better hope so, or the blue birds’ season will look a whole lot different. Prediction: Seattle 17, Los Angeles 7.

Rogers: I echo your opinion that it will be a low-scoring game. But I give the Rams more historical credit than I bet you do. They have a knack for playing the Seahawks tough and if the Dolphins can do it, so can the 2016 Rams. Prediction: Seattle 16, Los Angeles 13.

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

What he got right: The game winner. I’m 1–0 on the season. Despite the ugly win, the Seahawks are well on their way to fulfilling my other prediction of a faster start to the 2016 season, compared to last year. I praised the chemistry between Doug Baldwin and Wilson, which was the most promising offensive factor for the Seahawks against the Dolphins.

What he got wrong: I had the tenor of the game way off. I thought it would feature a bit more scoring. My prediction of this being the year of Tyler Lockett is thus far a fizzle.

What she got right: The game winner. But then again, so did everyone with half a football brain. I was all too right about Ndamukong Suh’s ability to bring the pain. I sure wish I’d gotten that one wrong. I also predicted that the Rams receivers wouldn’t put on a great show. Between dropped passes and broken routes, they were decidedly mediocre.

What she got wrong: I said Seattle would “win handily.” Instead, they delivered another come-from-behind victory that left 12s reaching for their blood pressure medication. I expected former Seahawk Byron Maxwell would play with “fire in his belly.” Wrong. Maxwell posted just four tackles, with no sacks, assists, or interceptions.

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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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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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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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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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.