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Seahawks feel strange watching playoffs
For the first time since 2011, the Seattle Seahawks must watch the playoffs after being eliminated on the final Sunday of the regular season.
The reasons for Seattle's slide are numerous. The Seahawks' running game was woefully ineffective all season. They managed just one rushing touchdown from a running back all season and quarterback Russell Wilson finished as the team's leading rusher. The 240 rushing yards by Mike Davis was the second-least by a leading running back in franchise history, behind only Sherman Smith's 202 yards in 1982.
Wilson led the league with 34 touchdown passes this season. However, it was a necessity as Seattle couldn't run the ball near an opponent's end zone. Running backs gained just 17 yards on 34 carries inside an opponent's 20-yard line with no touchdowns and just one first down converted.
Seattle's defense was diminished due to the losses of cornerback Richard Sherman, safety Kam Chancellor and defensive end Cliff Avril to season-ending injuries.
While the group could manage to keep playing at a high level at times, further injuries to linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright and defensive end Michael Bennett took their toll even as those players continued to play.
Blair Walsh missing critical kicks and Seattle leading the league in penalties also proved problematic.
An offseason of uncertainty awaits for the Seahawks as several key pieces of their two Super Bowl teams may not return in 2018. Some changes could come to the coaching staff as well as the Seahawks look to correct their course.
WHAT WENT RIGHT: When healthy, Seattle's defense played at a level consistent with their dominance of recent seasons. Russell Wilson in the second half of games was lethal at times and carried Seattle's offensive scoring burden.
WHAT WENT WRONG: Injuries to key defenders, accuracy issues from kicker Blair Walsh and the complete lack of an effective rushing attack limited the team's season and took away any margin for error for Russell Wilson.
MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER: Defensive tackle Malik McDowell was badly injured in an ATV accident before the start of training camp and didn't play a snap all season.
MOST SURPRISING PLAYER: Chris Carson played in just four games this season, but the seventh-round pick was Seattle's most productive rusher all season after supplanting Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy and C.J. Prosise for the team's starting job.
ASSISTANT COACH ON THE RISE: Defensive coordinator Kris Richard managed to keep Seattle's defense playing at a reasonably high level despite the loss of three starters to season-ending injuries and an offense that rarely gave them large leads to work with. Despite that, he was fired and now faces some uncertainty.