The Seattle Seahawks saw a surprise and thrilling 2018 season come to an end on Saturday, when the NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys took care of business at home with a 24-22 victory.
At the end of the day, the difference maker was Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas rushing game. The third-year running back rushed for 137 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries. In total, Dallas picked up 164 yards - averaging 4.8 per carry.
Seattle was unable to get its ground game going, picking up a mere 73 rushing yards on just 24 carries. Quarterback Russell Wilson completed 18 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown, so the Seahawks shouldn't have kept rushing the ball, when the Cowboys were all over it.
Wilson believes that Seattle should have looked to pass more throughout the contest, rather than try to force the rushing game - which was never going to work against that ferocious front seven on the other side.
"I think that when you reflect back on it, we were throwing it pretty well in the game," he said, according to Gregg Bell of The News Tribune. "I think we could have kept doing that some more. But also, you want to stay true to running the ball, too...Sometimes you shoot and it keeps going in."
Seattle led the NFL in rushing yards (2,560 total), throughout the season, averaging 160 on the ground per game. It's easy to understand why Seattle would stay devoted to their best strength throughout, but after a while, it's up to the coaches to make the necessary adjustments and abandon something that isn't working.
The Seahawks began moving the ball a lot more in the second half, when the game was put into Wilson's hands. Had Seattle looked to pass earlier, perhaps they would have had more than a mere nine points to show at halftime.
What This Means
Teams can always "Coulda, shoulda, woulda," after a loss, but at the end of the day, the Cowboys made the bigger plays on both sides of the ball. Seattle just wasn't able to stop Dallas' offensive machine, and it led to a narrow loss.
But there is nothing for the Seahawks to be ashamed about. Very few fans and pundits thought this team would make the playoffs at the start of the season. Instead, they were just a couple of plays away from reaching the NFC Divisional Round.