Seahawks counting on run game against Cowboys

When the Seattle Seahawks were preparing to play in their home opener against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3, they were on their way to meeting the expectations of most preseason prognosticators.
The Seahawks had dropped their first two games on the road at Denver and Chicago, with quarterback Russell Wilson sacked 12 times in the process.
Those picks of a 4-12 or 5-11 season for the Seahawks seemed increasingly likely.

Ezekiel Elliott
Sep 23, Seattle – Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott rushes with the ball against the Seahawks. (Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports)

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer met and decided change was in order.
“He and I sat down and kind of had a little heart-to-heart,” Schottenheimer said. “There were things that he and I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page about. It wasn’t just the running game, it was he and I continuing to build our relationship and it was an awesome meeting. It probably lasted about an hour and we talked about a ton of different stuff. I know I came out of that meeting feeling really good just about the direction where we wanted to go.”
With a renewed commitment to the running game, the Seahawks defeated the Cowboys 24-13 at CenturyLink Field, sparking them as they became just the 29th team since the current NFL playoff format started in 1990 to make the playoffs after an 0-2 start.
The fifth-seeded Seahawks (10-6) earned the NFC’s top wild-card berth and will travel to Dallas to play the fourth-seeded Cowboys (10-6), the NFC East champion, on Saturday night.
Seattle ended up with league’s top ground game on the season. Chris Carson rushed for 102 yards in Week 3 and went on to become the first Seahawks player with a 1,000-yard rushing season since Marshawn Lynch in 2014.
“They were talking about it the whole (preseason) of running the ball more and being a run team,” Carson said. “They finally started getting it going against the Cowboys and it’s taken off ever since.”
The Cowboys alternated losses and wins until a 27-20 victory at the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in Week 9 sparked a last-season run. The Cowboys won six of their final seven regular-season games after that.
That meant that unlike in 2016, when rookie quarterback Dak Prescott barely played in a three-week span before losing his postseason debut, he kept firing until the end.
Even though the Cowboys already had locked up the division title, Prescott played the entire game last week in a 36-35 victory against the New York Giants. He completed 27 of 44 passes for 387 yards and a career-high four touchdowns to lead a comeback.
“We can definitely build on this,” Prescott said. “That was not meaningless to me. It wasn’t meaningless to any of the guys that played or even to the guys that didn’t play.”
The Seahawks expect to have guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring) and safety Tedric Thompson (ankle) back after they missed the regular-season finale. Guard J.R. Sweezy (foot) and cornerback Shaquill Griffin (ankle) likely will be game-time decisions. Safety Delano Hill, who started for Thompson the past two weeks, was placed on injured reserve with a non-displaced fracture in his hip.
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott sat out the regular-season finale for precautionary measures, but he has been a full participant in practice this week. Pro Bowl linemen Tyron Smith (neck) and Zack Martin (knee) also missed the finale but are expected back, as well as defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford (neck). Defensive end David Irving (ankle) remains out.

–Field Level Media

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