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Week 16 Game Recap: Seattle Seahawks 21, Dallas Cowboys 12


What you need to know

Seattle Seahawks

Depending on your point of view, the Seahawks either played a terrible game on offense or a very conservative one. They actually had more penalty yards against (142) than offensive yards (136). Russell Wilson made more than his share of miscues against the Rams last week, and it seemed like a safer approach at work here. He didn’t make any risky downfield throws, instead opting for checkdown passes to running backs and tight ends, or running the ball himself. The running game overall was bad, but had a few hopeful moments. Mike Davis led the charge but had a forgettable day, while Thomas Rawls made a re-appearance after several games, and actually looked quite good on limited carries. Wilson’s yardage total was awful, but he still threw for two touchdowns, to favourite targets Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham.

Dallas Cowboys

In a must-win game, Dallas came up small in a home loss against Seattle. Dak Prescott played one of his worst games of the season, along with Dez Bryant as Dallas’ passing game struggled to balance Ezekiel Elliott’s chain-moving return to the Cowboys run game. Elliott was a sustaining element for Dallas, but did not impact through big plays or in the red zone, especially during a questionable second half goal line sequence where Elliott did not see a carry as Dallas squandered a critical opportunity. The Cowboys enter Week 17 with nothing on the line as Dak Prescott struggled through his second season, the offensive line was average at best and Dez Bryant and Jason Witten enter the offseason as high-priced and under-performing pass catchers from 2017.

Seattle Seahawks

QB Russell Wilson, 57 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 21 - 93 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 9 - 29 - 0
Wilson ran the ball often, and while that’s not unusual in itself, he seemed to start much earlier in this game. Last week was a game filled with mistakes and this week seemed to be a reactionary safer approach to the offense. Wilson did not take chances downfield. Instead, he used RB Mike Davis and TE Luke Willson frequently as checkdown options, or ran the ball himself. Wilson was effective in the red zone, finding Jimmy Graham (like clockwork) and Doug Baldwin for scores. Some might say Wilson played a bad game, based on the numbers, but it can be characterized as conservative. He usually takes more risks, and is successful more often than not; but in this game, with the Seahawks leading in the second half, and the running game showing some promise, the play calling was firmly focused on the safe and short variety.

RB Mike Davis, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 25 - 0, Rec: 4 - 18 - 0 (5 targets)
Davis is still the lead back, as evidenced by his getting the lion’s share of the carries. Early on, he looked great busting through the middle and was used often as a receiver on short, check down type routes. Overall, however, Davis had a very poor day – the O-line alternated between opening holes and giving up negative yardage; not a good recipe for any ground game.

RB Thomas Rawls, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 20 - 0
Rawls played sparingly, and added some life to the ground game when he did so. He did a great job hitting the hole up the middle and off tackle for good gains. He also had a couple of chances to score, first with a short gain in the red zone, and then on a goal line carry in which he got absolutely stuffed, through no fault of his own. The defender was on him as he was taking the handoff. He did enough to likely earn more carries next week.

WR Doug Baldwin, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 35 - 1 (6 targets)
Baldwin’s overall numbers were low, but proportionately, he still had the majority of good chances compared to the other receivers. What was lacking was deep opportunities, as the Seahawks took zero downfield risks against the Cowboys. He almost had a TD on a diving fingertips catch, but the ground caught a piece of it before he could maintain possession. A couple of plays later, he schooled a rookie cornerback for an easy wide open catch for the score.

WR Tyler Lockett, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (2 targets)
Like most of the Seahawks receivers, Lockett was a non-factor against the Cowboys. He had scored twice in recent weeks, but it looks like the honeymoon is over and he’s back to boom-or-bust status.

WR Paul Richardson, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (4 targets)
Richardson made a couple of clutch catches look routine, and as with the rest of the WR corps, saw his overall numbers suffer because of a very weak passing game, in which the long ball – Richardson’s forte – was not even attempted. In the 4th quarter, Richardson made a key first down, showing great awareness with a catch just past the marker.

TE Jimmy Graham, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 3 - 1 (1 targets)
Graham was a non-factor for the most part, but he did pull in a short yardage catch for a touchdown. He’s still about 50/50 on any given day for a score, so regardless of matchup or game plan, he’s always a fantasy threat at a weak position.


Dallas Cowboys

QB Dak Prescott, 76 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 34 - 182 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 4 - 21 - 0
Prescott continued his second half struggles in a home loss against Seattle, ending Dallas’ playoff chances. Prescott threw multiple interceptions for the fourth time in the last six games as pocket pressure and inaccuracy were commonplace throughout the game. Prescott had highlight moments, but they were fleeting. Prescott spun away from the rush, and then juked a defender in space on a high-level scramble. Later, he eluded two rushers and delivered a accurate downfield pass to a diving Dez Bryant for a long gain while rolling left. However, Prescott was consistently pressured on third downs and added an ugly interception overthrowing Ezekiel Elliott on a basic outlet route, which was returned for a touchdown. The Eagles defense offers little solace next week as the Cowboys close out a disappointing season.

RB Ezekiel Elliott, 68 offensive snaps, Rush: 24 - 97 - 0, Rec: 4 - 21 - 0 (7 targets)
Elliott was back from his suspension as the feature back for Dallas, rarely leaving the field. Elliott’s 28 touches were in line with his typical workload before the suspension. While a sustaining element to Dallas’ offense, especially early in the game, Elliott struggled to rip off any substantial gains. In the mid-second quarter, Elliott had his best string of carries, totaling 17 yards on three straight attempts. The success was short-lived, however, as Dallas’ offensive line had an average day in run blocking. Elliott’s offensive involvement was pass-centric later in the game as Dallas fell behind. Elliott dropped two passes, including one where he absorbed a huge hit on the play. Elliott’s best chance for a touchdown came with Dallas positioned with first-and-goal from point blank range. Instead of feeding Elliott, Dallas passed the ball twice and drew a penalty without featuring their running back at the goal line.

RB Rod Smith, 7 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 10 - 0, Rec: 3 - 23 - 0 (3 targets)
Smith was the clear No.2 back for Dallas with Ezekiel Elliott back from suspension against Seattle. Smith played minimally but did see snaps in the second quarter of note in relief of Elliott. Smith’s most notable impact came in the fourth quarter, catching a third down target and breaking a tackle to convert for a first down. With Dallas’ season over, Smith may see additional playing time in Week 17 to save wear and tear on Ezekiel Elliott.

WR Terrance Williams, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 43 - 0 (4 targets)
Williams, despite catching all four of his targets, had a non-descript performance against Seattle. Only one catch came on third down and Williams did not find any after-the-catch opportunities. As Dallas’ season comes to an end, the entire passing game is up the air with Dak Prescott underperforming, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten owed high salaries in 2018 after lackluster seasons, and Williams reluctantly brought back in 2017 as a de factor No.2 receiver.

WR Dez Bryant, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 44 - 0 (6 targets)
Bryant logged another disappointing game against Seattle this week. On six targets, Bryant managed more negative plays than positive ones with a drop, interception, and fumble bookending his day. Bryant dropped an easy slant route early on and lost a fumble on a hitch route. While in field goal range, Bryant tipped a pass up in the air, which was intercepted. Bryant’s lone positive impact play came on Dak Prescott’s best throw of the game. While rolling left, Prescott delivered a strike downfield to a diving Bryant for more than 30 yards.

WR Cole Beasley, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (3 targets)
Beasley’s lackluster season continued with 12 yards against Seattle, where Beasley has been held to less than 25 yards in 12-of-15 games this year. Beasley did draw a long defensive pass interference penalty uncharacteristically beyond the box score. Beasley did not see a target until the final minute of the first half. His other notable play came late in the game, converting fourth-and-short with a reception as Dallas stayed alive in their comeback efforts.

TE Jason Witten, 76 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 39 - 0 (9 targets)
Witten led the team with nine targets against Seattle, but his performance could have been much better. Witten’s first targets came in the closing seconds of the first half, including a drop and being out-of-bounds before securing the catch. Witten’s only notable reception was converting a third down late in the game. Witten also contributed a holding penalty as a blocker.