Ferreri: Takeaways from Seahawks loss to Cowboys in wild-card round
The Seahawks season ended last night in Dallas with a 24-22 loss to the Cowboys at AT&T stadium.
It’s rare under Pete Carroll that the Seahawks go one and done in the postseason, but an inability to run the ball while sticking to a plan to run the ball did them in against the Cowboys.
It looked like Chris Carson was running into a brick wall for most of the first half every time he took a hand off. The Cowboys front seven was determined to take away the run and they did. The Seahawks only ran for 73 yards against the Cowboys. Carson, who has six games with 100 or more yards this season, ran the ball 13 times for a total of 20 yards.
A lot of road games for the Seahawks. I can look at the crowd from the press box and see significant chunks of Seahawks fans that can be heard in visiting stadiums. I didn’t see that yesterday or hear it . There were scattered Seahawks fans in Dallas, but for the most part it was a sea of White Cowboys jerseys all waving the white towels that were given to each fan.
It was really loud, too. Duane Brown told me after the game it was one of the loudest environments for a game he has ever played in and they never let up.
The Old Kicker
Sebastian Janikowski hasn’t been right physically since he slipped during warm-ups in San Francisco and ended up on his backside.
The Cowboys radio announcer joked about Janikowski’s age in the first half. When Janikowski kicked his first field goal, he said the kicker was 57-years-old. When Janikowski missed the 57 yarder and then injured himself, the radio guy said anytime you ask a 64-year-old to kick a 57 yarder he’s gonna hurt something. Well, the 40-year-old kicker limped off the field at halftime and that may be our last impression of a kicker that has had a long, successful career. While Janikowski was inconsistent at times this season, he was more often good than bad and that was better than what the Seahawks had last year in Blair Walsh.
So the Seahawks will likely be looking at their fourth kicker in four seasons next year. Will they draft one? Likely. I already checked on the spectacled kicker Rodrigo Blankenship from Georgia, he announced he will go back for his senior year of college, so I will leave the kicker question to John Schneider. #Respectthespecs
Good Hands Lockett
Tyler Lockett’s ability to make big plays and reel in some incredible catches just gets better and better. Doug Baldwin said in his postgame comments that Lockett, in his opinion, is the best receiver to come through Seattle in his eight years here. A tremendous compliment from a guy I consider one of the grittiest competitors to ever wear a Seahawks uniform.
The Seahawks seemed determined to establish the run, but it just wasn’t happening, anyone could see that.
When they did decide to open it up a bit they had success. When we look back on this game, we will all wonder why they didn’t go to the air sooner or have Russell run it more. Pete Carroll said third down conversions were the problem. He’s right, the Seahawks were 2 of 13 on 3rd down conversions and you can’t win a playoff game at home or on the road with that percentage. For whatever reason, most of the offensive series in the first half that ended going three and out were: run-run-pass-punt.
Russell Wilson was asked if he wished the Seahawks had opened it up sooner. He simply responded: “I wish we would have won.”
JR Sweezy and DJ Fluker had been out with injuries in December, and the playoff game against Dallas was the first time the line of Brown, Sweezy, Britt, Fluker and Ifedi were back together again in a month. This was the group that helped the Seahawks lead the NFL in rushing this season. But Saturday they looked out of sync. I asked Duane Brown about it after the game and he couldn’t explain the problems the Seahawks had offensively.
Twenty eight of the 53 Seahawks players on the roster experienced their first playoff game Saturday. While the playoff run was short, they got a pretty good taste of the postseason. What happened in Dallas should stoke the fires in the bellies of a young Seahawks team that proved a lot of people wrong this season, winning 10 games and making it to the playoffs.
KJ was Alright
After dealing with a bad knee all season, we saw the best version of KJ Wright last night. Wright was everywhere, finishing with nine tackles, only Bradley McDougald had more with 10 tackles.
Now the question is, will Wright be back? His contract is up and he was hurt most of this season, but as he showed last night, when healthy, he is a phenomenal player.
Bobby Wagner campaigned strongly at his locker after the game for the Seahawks to bring Wright back. Wright and Wagner have been a terrific duo for the Seahawks defense and it’s hard to imagine Wright not being in the equation for the Seahawks moving forward just because he has been such a significant part of this successful run of Seahawks football.
Wright is a class act, always has been, and I personally would like to see him back.
Here is what may happen: Teams will know he was injured and his knee could be an issue. He could test the free agent market, but return to the Seahawks with an incentive loaded deal that could have a decent signing bonus, then reward him financially for games played. That’s only a guess, and again, I will leave that to John Schneider who often has to make tough choices.
Travel and TSA Pre-check
This concludes the season of Seahawks travel for myself and KOMO Photographer Paul Koehnke, a great dude to travel with and a GPS master, he got us around London like a professional cab driver.
Paul will be the first to tell you that If you ever debated about spending the 85 bucks or whatever it is for TSA Precheck, stop the debate. That little green check mark on a boarding pass is worth it’s weight in gold, especially when you are racing to make a 5:40 a.m. flight.
Here are some observations and thoughts on our trips and Seahawks road cities this year:
Denver -- stay hydrated. That altitude thing is for real and knocked me on my butt in week one. On a lighter note, if you can visit Coors Field for a Rockies game do it. It’s a great ballpark and reminds me a lot of Safeco, plus the stadium district is a cool place to hang out.
Broncos fans are hardcore and some of the best and classiest in the NFL.
Chicago. Always fun to visit the Windy City, but a September trip is much nicer than a cold one in December.
Always get pizza in Chicago -- you have to. Paul and I always hit Lou Malnati’s, good stuff.
Also, even if there isn’t a Cubs game, go check out Wrigleyville and take a picture with the Harry Caray statue, and of course hit one of the shops nearby and drop a few bucks on bobble heads or Wrigley Field stuff.
Arizona -- I really only like going to Arizona for spring training. The Cardinals stadium, whatever it is called this week, is a big house of pain for Seattle. Super Bowl 49. Sherman and Chancellor played their last games there. This year, Will Dissly ended his brilliant rookie year with a knee injury and Earl Thomas as well was lost for the season with an injury, then flipped the Seahawks bench the bird. (Cue Streisand singing “Memories”). Just some painful moments in the desert. Other than some of the nicest stadium personnel in the NFL and not having to wait in line for Chick Fil A, I am not in a rush to go back to Arizona for a football related trip anytime soon.
London vs The Raiders
What a trip and one of the coolest things I have been able to do in my time at KOMO TV. The fans are great and everything is just different in a really good way for the London NFL games.
So much history and plenty of things to do In London -- I can’t wait to go back. One of the coolest things we did was a double decker bus tour with Seahawks fans loaded on two buses. The whole thing was put together by Seahawks super fan Captain Seahawk aka Wallace Watts, who has become a friend. We were rolling through London, stopping at all the attractions and it wasn’t long before the buses and screaming Seahawks fans became an attraction. Loads of fun and a great way to see an incredible city. Also, their rail system (the tube) is fantastic, and if I can figure it out, anyone can.
If and when the Seahawks get sent back across the pond, and they will because they are wildly popular over there, make the trip if you can afford it . You won’t regret it.
Detroit-- I had not been back to Detroit since Super Bowl 40 and wasn’t looking forward to it. Mainly because when we were there in 2006, a huge KOMO crew of about 20 made the trip, it was just a city not in good shape. Empty, broken down buildings and not much to the downtown. It still doesn’t have much in late night dining options, but the city has drastically improved and...there is a Shake Shack and many new restaurants downtown, plus Ford Field is a really cool stadium. If you could combine a September Lions Seahawks game with a Tigers baseball game that would be the best way to do it, and of course shoot over to Windsor, Ontario for a Molson if you have the time.
LA vs The Rams
During the grind of the football season, a day at home on a weekend is a big deal. So Paul and I decided to get a Saturday with our families and do LA in a day. You can do it. We left on a 7:00 a.m. flight to LAX, and if you have ever flown into LAX, you know it’s an eternity to get the rental car bus. Once we got our Car it was about 11:00 a.m.. We headed right to the Stadium, covered the game, did our live shots and then hit Chipotle before heading back to LAX for an 11:50 p.m. flight on Alaska . It’s a long day but beats waking up early the next morning to sit in LA traffic to catch the flight home. LA in a day is the best way to do a road game and avoid hotel expense.
Carolina -- We didn’t make that trip this year because we covered the Apple Cup. I like North Carolina and used to live there. Plus, any trip to the south means late night post game dinners at Waffle House or Steak-n-Shake. Next year, because for whatever reason, the Seahawks always play in Carolina every season.
Number one thing about this trip: do not fly into San Francisco, fly into San Jose, the best airport in America. Whoever runs San Jose’s airport should run America, that’s what Jimmy Kimmel says anyways and I agree.
From a stadium standpoint, it’s one of the best to work in for media. Everything is clearly laid out and there is lots of room. One problem though, don’t stay too late. Paul and I were there late doing work for our 11 p.m. news after the PAC 12 title game (different trip) and we got locked in. It happened in Jacksonville last year, too. After the PAC 12 title game, I had to call the Santa Clara police and they helped get a hold of a stadium guy that just pushed a button and put the gate up so we could leave. No Waffle House in Santa Clara, so it was Peanut Butter Crackers and water that night for a postgame snack.
Cowboys stadium is something to see in person and everyone on the stadium staff is incredibly nice. It’s also a place that Paul and I think could and should host the Super Bowl on a very regular basis -- it’s huge.
We had one of our best breakfast of the year in Downtown Dallas. We eat breakfast food at all hours because syrup makes everything better, but this was a legit breakfast on game day morning . It was at a place called Cindi’s New York Deli and Restaurant. Don’t miss it, and I suggest the French toast.
Hope everyone enjoyed the season, even though it was a short playoff run. The Seahawks and Pete Carroll certainly keep fall in the Northwest interesting.
Now that football is done, we will all have more time on the weekends. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to hang with my bride and kids, and finally get some stuff done that’s been lingering since August, and of course get some sleep.
Cheers to all of you and Go Hawks.