Did the Seattle Seahawks stick with the run too long?
There was a firestorm on social media following the Seattle Seahawks’ 24-22 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night in the wild-card round of the playoffs, and it centered on Seattle’s offensive play calling during the game. First, here’s what happened:
- Seattle, which led the NFL in rushing yards during the regular season, came out with an offensive game plan designed around running the ball.
- This game plan was unsuccessful against Dallas, a team with a good run defense, as the Seahawks’ running backs combined for 59 yards on 21 carries.
- Despite having little success on running back handoffs in the first half, Seattle persisted with the strategy in the second half, with little improvement.
- Despite the struggles on offense, the Seahawks led 14-10 entering the fourth quarter.
- After falling behind 17-14 Seattle went to the pass, but had a drive stalled by penalties.
- Dallas scored another touchdown to go ahead 24-14 late in the game.
- Seattle went to the air again and quickly scored a touchdown and a 2-point conversion to make it 24-22.
- But Seattle, out of timeouts, needed to recover an onside kick to have any chance, and with kicker Sebastian Janikowski injured, punter Michael Dickson’s drop-kick attempt was easily fair caught by Dallas.
Afterward there were a lot of strong feelings voiced on Twitter regarding Seattle’s offensive approach. On one side were those who said the play calling lost Seattle the game. Those people said Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer lacked creativity in their play calling, didn’t make any halftime adjustments, and never gave quarterback Russell Wilson — the team’s best offensive weapon — the chance to win the game. Here’s an example (read the whole thread):
Seahawks fans, we're going to have a long talk about Brian Schottenheimer.
Seattle doesn't have Blake Bortles or Case Keenum at QB.
This is Russell Wilson.
16 Wilson passes @ 8.3 YPA vs
21 non-Wilson runs @ 2.8 YPC
One of the worst called games w a good QB I can remember.
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) January 6, 2019
However, there were also those who staunchly defended Seattle’s approach. After all, the Seahawks were a pass-first team the first two weeks of the season and lost, and it was only when Seattle recommitted itself to the run in Week 3 — which happened to be a victory against Dallas — that the Seahawks began their drive to a surprise playoff berth. Going run-first, setting up play-action passing, was what worked during the regular season, and a team has to stick with what worked. Here’s an example of that:
Most will criticize Brian Schottenheimer tonight but I appreciate him sticking to the run all season. When I was with the @Seahawks we talked about being a dominant ball-control/play-action team and never stuck to the plan. Thank you for restoring this team’s identity, Schotty!
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) January 6, 2019
On Twitter we tend to see the loudest voices, but just because the voices are loud doesn’t necessarily mean they represent the majority. So I’m curious what the masses think. Was the play calling, in which Seattle remained run-first most of the game, the primary reason why the Seahawks lost? Have your say here: