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What The Seahawks Said Following Their Wild Card Playoff Loss To The Cowboys

Head Coach Pete Carroll

First off, congratulations to the Cowboys. They did a nice job, today. They did a lot of great things, made it hard on us. This game didn’t go the way we had anticipated and most of our games have been different from this one. It was a different game for us to play and not being able to move the ball like we want to really is a product of the third down issues that we had. It just didn’t come out the way we had planned and so we had to adjust, do some things, and I think that the story of this season just continues to be told in our locker room. Our guys are really never out of anything, and just to keep coming back and keep coming back and we’re really building something that’s really special, and I’m really excited about that. The connection and the spirit of what we’re trying to get done, it’s just so unfortunate that we weren’t able to take this next step, today to continue to grow it but it’s really special. It’s really unfortunate that the game comes down to - we had a chance to stop these guys and that we came down to penalties – I don’t know about the penalties, yet. I haven’t seen them enough to know but it’s just unfortunate that that’s the way this game went. There were two huge PIs (pass interference penalties) on third down. Those were unfortunate and just untimely from our end. Our catchers, Tyler and Doug and the guys making the plays on the ball for us, made some fantastic plays today to keep us alive in this game and to keep us going. KJ’s interception, I still haven’t really seen it. Ridiculous play out of nowhere when we needed it most was just kind of how we count on him. When we play a game and we’re plus in the turnovers, then we always win. That’s what’s screwy about this game. It didn’t happen the way it normally does for us. It’s very disappointing to be done right now. Nobody wants to go home. The guys were ready raring to go and it feels like we’re just getting warmed up but that’s the way it is. I couldn’t be more forward-thinking about these guys. I couldn’t be more positive about what’s here in this locker room and what can happen for these guys. We’ll have to give some time up and then we’ll come back around and get cranking again but that’s a very special group. 

What changed on offense on the last drive (touchdown drive) as opposed to most of the rest of the game?

It was a two-minute drive.

How uphill was the rest of the night after not establishing Carson early?

You can start any time. What happened in the first quarter doesn’t mean it’s going to happen all day long. You can get started at any time. The crux of the matter was third down. You don’t get the third down conversions you don’t get your next shot to call all your stuff. The game plan gets left in the bag a little bit, so that’s just how it always has gone. We just had a hard time on third down. We were one-for-seven or something in the first half. You can’t tell how the game plan’s going to go.

What happened to Janikowski?

He really hurt his hamstring on a kick. I would think he just tried to kick it as hard as he could and hurt himself. He’s never had that happen before.

Did that change your thinking?

Absolutely. We had to change. We were in a different mode. We were still ready to kick a field goal if we had to but we were going to do what we could to avoid that and not make that the issue. The guys just responded. Schott did a great job of changing the thinking and play-calling and we adjusted really well and it gave us a chance. 

On Dak Prescott’s run on 3rd-and-14.

It was a big time run. I think it was a quarterback draw. Well-executed by them. He had two really good plays running the football that made a difference in the game.

You mentioned feeling positive going forward. What about this team makes you feel the most optimistic?

They never think they’re out. They don’t believe that they’re out of anything. They’re going to keep coming back and fighting and clawing and scratching and figure out a way. And when you believe like that, you’re belief is that strong that you’re going to create something, things happen, and it was magic. The moments were happening. I wish Mikey could have found a better place to drop that kick so we had a shot at it. It’s unfortunate. We had plenty of time, we had a minute eighteen left. We get the ball right there, we’re going to have a real shot at winning the game.

It seemed you were effective when Russell was throwing downfield. Given the challenges with the running game, is that something you could have done more of?

I don’t know. Yeah, we would have liked to. The protection was good on play-passes. He threw some strikes and…yeah.

Where was Michael Dickson trying to get the last kick?

He was trying to get it over the top so we could go get it. Beasley was up there closer than we thought and he just popped it a bit too hard.

On the big picture, what was the most positive thing to come out of this season?

Without question, it’s this connection that our guys have and their willingness to keep going the extra step, the extra mile, whatever it takes. It really comes down to these guys fighting to be great teammates. They care so much. We said in the locker room that you don’t ever lose if you get better. You always have a chance to get back on course and get going again and there’s always something positive you keep building on. These guys, that’s how they think and that’s how they operate, and it’s a great mentality and it gives us a chance. Nobody thought we were going to be here, so we’re miles ahead of where expectations were. This doesn’t mean anything to me because that’s not my expectations, it was everybody else’s but it still happened and it was important that it did, and we finished really well on the season. Six out of the last seven, it was a big deal. It wasn’t quite enough to get us at home in the playoffs, which we know is so valuable.

Is this spirit, the connections, different than spirit and connections you’re teams have had before?

This is this team. It’s this team’s spirit. It has nothing to do with what’s gone on before. We’ve had all kinds of great things happen. This was this team and the way they are - their mentality, their attitude, their personality. They’re leaders, they care for one another. That’s your job to go ahead and compare and ask those kinds of questions. To me, I just want…these guys, because they’ve done stuff that nobody thought they were going to do.

On the long Ezekiel Elliott run just before halftime.

We made a mistake. We made a mistake on the support and the ball bounced.

On the challenge on the Amari Cooper catch and how that catch may have been interpreted in the past.

Yeah, just hoping for a little magic, there. Somebody saw it that maybe it might have hit the ground after he caught it and then it moved, we hadn’t touched him down, yet, so that we had a shot at it but that’s not the way they saw it.

On having K.J. Wright back.

Yeah, I don’t know what his numbers were and all that but having K.J. back was so valuable to us. He’s such a great player and a great leader and mentality. He gives other people strength just being around him and he’s unbelievably valuable.

Was there anything in particular with your struggles with the run?

Without having another six, eight, ten shots in the first half, I can’t tell you what would have happened, of course, but we were getting threes and fours at best and nothing was popping, so it just wasn’t as good. The third downs weren’t where we wanted them to be and we just couldn’t get going. We just couldn’t get the rhythm of it. We kept battling and trying. We had ten carries in the first half and that’s not enough for us to know what’s going on and so we have to convert to get that done. Give them credit, they did a nice job.

On J.R Sweezy.

I don’t know how he played. I just know that he was not going to miss this game. We thought that was a month-long recovery and he just willed it done, today. Excellent individual effort just to pull that off. It’s just part of the deal. These guys are amazing.

QB Russell Wilson

“We weren’t able to run the way we wanted to tonight. It was unfortunate. We had a chance to win the game. We got the ball back with 6 minutes 48 seconds left after the turnover. That was big by our defense. That was huge. Never say die. Then we had the penalty and then another penalty. That kind of held us up a little bit. They ended up scoring. I was telling the guys 2 minutes it can be done. It will be done if we can stay the course. We got the ball back and scored that touchdown really quickly. But unfortunate we weren’t able to get the onside kick.”

“It was an amazing season for us. Everybody played together. Nobody thought we would be where we are. We did, we did, we believed that. We worked for everything. Unfortunately, only one team was able to win tonight and it wasn’t us. The thing I reflect on is how we came together, how we played for each other all season, how we kept believing in one another, how when everyone thought we were down and out early on we just kept fighting, kept practicing the right way and kept playing the right way. I said this to you guys in training camp – this team reminds me of the 2012 team and how we were able to fight through everything my rookie year. We were able to get pretty far that year and be successful in that sense. The next year we won the Super Bowl. If precedent has any truth to it, hopefully we can find a way to do something good like that. This offseason, we just need to continue to grow. I think we had a great season in the sense of how much growth we’ve had as a team. Offensively, we did a lot of great things. We were the number one rushing team in the NFL. We scored a lot of touchdowns throwing the ball. We did a lot of special things with the receivers. Guys had great seasons. The o-line did a tremendous job all season. Guys made unbelievable catches, even tonight…We just needed one or two big plays and unfortunately we weren’t able to get them tonight.”

On if he wishes they opened things up more after difficulties running:

“The thing that I wish is that we won. That’s my thought. We’ve been able to so many things running the ball really well and throwing well all season. I think Coach Schottenheimer has been great for us all year…Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do it tonight. They played a little bit better than us tonight. They needed to. Give credit to them. They are a good football team. Us and them have been playing really good football the past 7,8,9, 10 weeks. Unfortunately, they played better than us tonight.”

On differences from the first matchup:

“They made a good amount of plays. They didn’t give us any big runs. We normally gash one or two…It’s the playoffs. When you’re in the playoffs, everything is new. The stakes are different. We thought we could find a way to win…I think they played a great game. We didn’t play good enough.”

On losing in the first round:

“Anytime you get to this point, you want to win one game at a time and see how far you can take. You never know where it’s going to go…I’m grateful to be able to go to the playoffs six years out of the seven. All those years do not matter, this year has been special. This has been a special, special year with the growth of our team, the men in the locker room and the way we played together, eliminating the doubters and the things that we could only do. You reflect and look at the film to see what we could have done better. But I do love being in the playoffs and I love fighting for every inch and everything that you can do. We did that all the way until the end tonight. We felt like if we could get the ball back who knows.”

On the first quarter:

“We had a couple of three and outs and that’s about it. They ran the ball and kept the clock going. We didn’t get the ball until 10 minutes after the first drive. We got the ball and went three and out…If you look at the first quarter, you just look at the time really. They had the ball longer than us. In the second half, we made some plays down the field. Guys were making great catches and everything else…We had a chance to win.”

On KJ Wright:

“KJ has been unbelievable for us. I remember coming here in 2012 and seeing this tall, long, athletic linebacker that could make all the plays. I was like dang they make linebackers like this? I thought he was a defensive end. He’s been tremendous for us just how many plays he’s made and how many great things he’s done. He’s battled all season through injury. To be able to show up tonight once again and play great football. Him and Bobby are as good as it gets. They are the best tandem in football at the linebacker position. Those guys are special. Hopefully, we can find a way to keep KJ.”

On Doug Baldwin:

“Doug is a good as it gets in the NFL. You want him on the field as much as possible. You saw what he can do tonight. He made a couple great catches when we really needed it…He knows how to get open and know how to make plays for us. I wouldn’t want to play with anybody else. How much he can make plays for us, especially in crunch time…When he was playing, he was tremendous for us.”

On comparing to 2012:

“We were really young. I remember getting drafted. They gave us an F grade…and the team was 7-9 before that. Nobody was really expecting anything out of the Pacific Northwest I guess. What we were able to do was wake up the world a little bit in terms of the Seattle Seahawks. It was special. It was a collective effort with everybody buying in and working really hard. We were the youngest team in the NFL at the time. It’s very, very similar to this group. How much depth, how many guys have stepped up this year, how much talent we have just looking at our roster and how many good things are in store. That doesn’t mean anything great is going to happen, but we do have belief that something great is going to happen just because on how we played this year. How you create that is by hard work, by having a great offseason just believing in one another coming back better than you were. We’re looking forward to that.”

On building towards next year:

“Coach Carroll did a tremendous job coaching us up. All of our coaches did. Coach Kenny Norton coming back and getting the defense fired up. Coach Schottenheimer and Coach Solari, both of those guys, really taught us the game. We just continued to get better and better and better. We were explosive on offense. We ran the ball extremely well. We were able to throw the ball…We feed off of that of that energy. The offensive line was special. It was a lot of fun playing behind those guys and making good things happen. I think we feed off of that and the knowledge of things we know now and the things we’ve seen, how many great comebacks we’ve had in the 4th quarter, how many great things we’ve been able to do and just how many games we’ve been able to win when it’s crunch time. I think if we can eliminate some of the little mistakes here and there…I think there’s nowhere we can’t go. I’m looking forward to next year and where we’re going to go making the Seattle Seahawks fans are ready for 2019.”

WR Doug Baldwin

On the emotions:

“Sad, confused, frustrated. That’s about it.”

On what your confused about:

“Anytime you’re in the tournament, any time you go to the playoffs, your mind is set. I told the guys last night, ‘Four more games. Four more games.’ It started with this one, and you never think it’s going to end. You don’t have that mindset, you believe with every ounce of your being that you are going to become victorious no matter what obstacles are placed in front of you. When you don’t, you don’t expect that. It being fresh, I’m still mourning it. I’m still disbelief in some ways. This is the answer you would get from anyone after a hard-fought game like this.”

On the frustration coming from lack of execution on offense:

“It’s part of it. There is a lot of it in there.”

On if it’s hard after you’ve already won a championship:

“No. I think the best thing we will do from this point on moving forward is that we will take these lessons and learn from them and grow and be better, not only as football players, but as men. That is vastly more important. Yes, it’s sad the way it ended, but this is not the end of the world. There are some phenomenal individuals in this locker room; phenomenal football players. Just like Russell just said, the future is bright.”

On if he would have liked to throw the ball earlier:

“I don’t know to be honest with you. To be completely honest with you, we get the play call, and we run the play. You do your best with the play call given to you. In those moments, you don’t think about it. You just do what you have to do to make that play successful. I can’t answer your question.”

On if big picture things will be better after this season:

“I was having a conversation with a friend of mine, and he said that this year was indicative of who I’m not because I haven’t been able to demonstrate myself physically on the football field, the way I’m known for, that I’m typically capable of. I told him I would argue that this is a season indicative of who I really am. All the struggles, all the challenges, all the obstacles, facing injury and the emotional, spiritual and mental parts that come with that. I battled my ass off. To be completely honest with you, I’m proud of the way that I have tried to handle it. I definitely agree that these challenges will definitely help me in the future.”

On what he will accomplish as a leader this offseason:

“Getting them (the young players) to cherish the moments. That’s probably the biggest thing. When you’re in these moments, it’s kind of hard to cherish them because you are so focused on the task at hand. Truth be told, I remember, like yesterday when I was rookie coming in here, and now I’m in my eighth year. It goes by fast. You don’t want to miss those moments because you can get better in those moments. You can look at yourself in the mirror and reflect on the things that will make you and separate you good from great. Instilling it in those guys and letting them know this is the fun part. The challenges are hard, it’s difficult, but you should never be afraid of failure. Failure is what helps you grow. If you’re not growing, you’re staying stagnant. If you’re staying stagnant, you’re done. I will continually preach to these guys about growing.”

On Dallas’ defense and what they did differently:

“They played together solidly as a unit. There weren’t a lot of holes in their defensive front seven. We thought we had some opportunities in the secondary, but again, their front seven caused some problems for us. Overall, they played together better as a unit.”

On the play of the receivers this year:

“Were you here four years ago, when I was preaching the efficiency numbers from the receivers? It’s no surprise. That’s what we instill in the guys when they come here. It’s not about how many targets you get. It’s not about how many yards you get. It’s about if you make that play when it’s needed; on fourth down, on third down, on a crucial situation. Do you make that play. That’s truly all we need. We don’t need you to do anything else other than make the plays that are available to you. I’ll go off on a tangent and say I think Tyler Lockett might be the best of the receivers I’ve ever seen come through here. His mindset and the way he looks at the game, his perspective on life, has allowed him to approach the game in such a way that he is arguably one of the most efficient, if not the most efficient receiver in the NFL. I think he and Russell had a perfect QBR rating. That’s a lot to say about a receiver who only gets so many targets in an offense. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, and it’s going to be like that.”

On what the future can bring:

“Look out. This team, we have everything we need. You have all the pieces. You have all the right mindsets, personalities, everything. It’s just we’re a young team. With the time comes progression, comes growth, comes learning. This team will be better.”

On playing with K.J.:

“K.J. is a rock. He’s always been a rock. He’s been one of those pillars you look towards in the locker room. I knew exactly what he stands for. I knew exactly what he was going to bring to the table both on and off the field. It’s a testament to the man he is, first and foremost. He’s been that for all of us. For myself, Bobby has leaned on him so many times. Now the young guys get to experience that. They get the joy of a leader like that in their corner this year. It’s going to be an amazing thing. Hopefully he gets to stay with us.”

On what he said to the team:

“I said a lot of things. The sentiment of the message was cherish these moments. Learn from it. Don’t let the loss be in vain. If you do the honest reflection in the mirror and you ask yourself the tough questions and seek the right answers, no loss is ever a loss. You still win if you learn. You may not be victorious, but you still win. That message was not just for football, it was for human beings, for the life they live off the field as well. We’re called to be great football players, but more importantly, we’re called to be great men.

WR Tyler Lockett

“We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit. There’s a lot of plays that we wish we could have back. But at the end of the day, we had a great game plan. Every single game we had this season, we always had a chance at the end. We just fell a little bit short. You’ve got to give credit to Dallas. They did a great job not only controlling the clock, but also was able to put themselves in good situations on defense.”

On the first quarter:

“I think (Dallas) just had a great game plan. Obviously, they were really aggressive. Their front seven put us in bad situations. We wanted to be in 2nd-and-6, 2nd-and-5, something like that. But they were putting in situations where we were 2nd-and-11 and 2nd-and 12. It’s kind of hard finding a groove when you’re not converting on third downs. So, you have to find that spark and those plays that can get you going. We were able to hit Ed Dickson to kind of start it off. I think we started to understand that play action would help out a lot since they were closing in on the run and it did. But we just ran out of time.”

On opening things up:

“They play man-to-man. They play cover-3. It was the same thing we knew they would play. We just had to win our one-on-one match ups and when we had the opportunity, we had to go make the play. That’s exactly what we did. Doug had a heckuva catch on that sideline on fourth down which allowed us to be able to run the ball in and score. I think the biggest thing is that every time when the ball is up in the air, we try to go get it. Regardless of the outcome, I feel that the receivers, the offense, everybody did a great job the whole entire year. Obviously, we fell short. This isn’t what we play for. This is not the feeling that we want to have. But at the end of the day, life goes on. We still have another opportunity. We still are able to play the game that we love.”

On playing a second time:

“I think it’s a lot easier when you play someone the first time you kind of know what to expect the second time. This was like a divisional game. We got to play everyone twice…It helped both of us understand each other a lot more. We understood that each team likes to run the ball to be able to control the clock. I just think they did a great job controlling the tempo. They found their groove a little bit earlier than we did. Our defense was able to keep us in the game. It wasn’t too late. We still had time. We got up and they went back down and scored. It’s hard whenever we’re not putting ourselves in good situations on offense and when we’re not able to run the ball like we have the whole season. When we’re not able to run the ball, it kind of hurts us with everything else.”

On the season as a whole:

“I think we have an amazing team. Aside from football, everything that we built was amazing – the foundation, the brotherhood, the love that we have for one another. These are going to be relationships that will last a lifetime, not just a season or two and not for just through our careers. This is something that will be there for the rest of our lives. We’ve gotten so much closer as a group, as a unit helping each other throughout the problems of life that people don’t understand that goes on behind closed doors. The brotherhood that we built is so amazing. It’s kind of hard to describe. It’s kind of hard to talk about it. This is one of the closest groups I’ve ever been a part of…The way we talked. The way we communicated. The way we made sure everybody did the right things on the field and off the field, made sure there were no distractions and nobody was getting in trouble. That’s the stuff we truly care about. We want to be there for one another.”

On if they should have passed more after difficulties running:

“That’s not really my problem. I got out there and if they tell me to block, I’m going to block. If they tell me to catch the kickoff and run, I’m going to run. I’m going to control what I can control. It’s pointless for me to focus on anything else that’s out of my control. I don’t do any of that stuff. All I can do is go play. That’s exactly what I did. I tried to stay poised, stay true to my game. However I could be of help, that’s what I was going to do. I understood that there’s plays that are not for me and there’s plays that are for me. The plays that are for me, I’m going to go out there and make the best of it. If it doesn’t work out, I know that I did everything I could do to make that play.”

“One of the dudes that came to talk to us was talking about if you can take your loss as a win, then you can do a lot of things in life. You might not be victorious, but not every loss is a loss. Some losses are wins in the game of life…That’s really something that you have to partake in as we go through life. There’s going to be problems and there’s going to be situations where you lose…but at the end of the day, you’ve got to learn how to keep on going.”

LB K.J. Wright

On the game:

“It was a tough game. We knew it was going to be a battle. This is playoff football. They came out, they were running the ball on us early and all throughout the game. That’s what made it difficult for us to get the win. It is a learning lesson for us. We just have to bounce back and I love the way this team finished. We fought all the way through the end. We didn’t give up."

On Ezekiel Elliott’s runs:

“It’s bad. It’s so simple too. I hate that we can’t watch the film and come back next week. It is just something that is easy. And you just have to pick up those easy plays in order to win these football games.”

On his interception:

“The Cardinals ran the last play last week. Larry Fitzgerald on the fake crunch and go. I knew it was coming. It was just a big play, and the team really needed that at that moment. I wish we could have capitalized on it.”

On his penalty:

"I should have let go a little early. I knew I grabbed him. I should have let go a little early. Those calls down the stretch really hurt us. That long QB draw by Dak hurt us as well. We have to finish better than that last drive.”

On what is next for him:

“I head into free agency. We will see how that goes. I want to be here. I would love to be here. I love playing for this team. ... I believe it would be in the team’s best interest if I stayed here.”

RB Chris Carson

On the big plays down the field, and how it opened up the offense:

“The defense did a good job trying to stop the run, so we knew they were going to play up on us. The plays were down the field.”

On his 1,000-yard season:

“I am glad I got out of the season healthy, so that is good. I will get better in the offseason.”

On where the team is, going forward:

“We did a great job this year. People fought the whole year, so we exceeded expectations. But we are going to get better this offseason.”

On what Pete Carroll said after the game:

“Just keep our head up high. There will be a lot of games like this. We weren’t expecting to run the ball as bad as we did. But, it is one of those games we never quit. Up until the last minute or so, we were still in it.”

LB Bobby Wagner

On the defense’s game: “We knew it was going to be that kind of ballgame. It was going to be a defensive matchup. We knew there was a chance we might be out there on the field a lot, and so we tried to make as many plays as we possibly could. At the end of the day, we didn’t execute as long as we should have. And it cost us.”

On the team and whether the season exceeded their expectations: “Exceeded your guys’ expectations. We had high expectations for ourselves. It might be a little bit more disappointing for us in the room that it is for you guys, because no one expected us to be here. But we expected us to be here. That’s why this one might hurt a little bit more inside than it does outside the room.”

SS Bradley McDougald

On his reflections on the game: “This close to the game, looking back, reflecting on the game, it hasn’t been that long, but there’s a couple that stick in my mind. A couple of those late penalties. I really felt like those were 50-50 plays that could have gone either way. As a defender, you can’t allow yourself to be in that position, but I felt like at that point in the game, as hard as both teams were playing and battling – it was a touchy game all game – a lot of calls weren’t called. I just definitely remember those plays affecting us. Besides that, just late leaky yards in the run game. Guys not being fully in their gap. Square Zeke up and stopping what he was able to get. A lot of leaky yardage.”

On stopping the Cowboys run game: “They did a good job. You have to credit them a little bit. They did a good job of being firm in their gaps and blocking the way that they did. But I would go back and put it on us. It is our job to be in our gaps, be there and square him up. We did a good job in the first half. We really bottled him up. He’s going to get his plays here and there, but our job is to limit those and technically eliminate those. We would take a shot on third and short, we were able to get off the field. That one explosive run he had and a couple of those late leaky yardages after those penalties that add on to that drive kind of killed us.”

CB Shaquill Griffin

On the game: “We know it wasn’t going to be given to us easy. We know it was going to be a fight all the way through, like it was. That is why I am so proud of this team and the way we fought. We came back, got the ball and scored and on the run in 30 seconds. That is a team that is continuing to fight. And if you can’t build on that, I don’t know what you can build off of. That is why I am so proud of this team, this organization, for how we fought. We will continue to build. It is going to be awesome to see what we become. And who we become. Everybody is going to take this loss, we are going to build off of it. But we are going to come back so much stronger. Including myself.”

On the fourth quarter, in which they held a lead: “It’s tough. It’s tough. They weren’t going to give it to us easy. We weren’t expecting that. That is something we have to do better on. We have to do better at finishing. We are going to build off that. They deserve it. They did exactly what they had to do. Hopefully they make a huge run and they do exactly what they have to do and continue this playoff run. It is tough to go through that. I feel just as bad for everybody as I do for myself. We are going to build off this.”

On the differences between the game played in the regular season versus today’s game: “They just capitalized on the things we have to continue to work on. They didn’t play the same way they played when we played them during the regular season. Cool to the coaches. That is something they did good with capitalizing on the things they didn’t do against us or did wrong. They did great. I’m not taking anything from them. It is tough. A tough loss. We are going to build on it and next year we are going to be a great team, and I feel sorry for anyone who is going to play us.”

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