The Seahawks are only one game away from becoming, by one measure, the least-effective running team in the era of the 16-game schedule, which dates to 1978.
The Seahawks twice had opportunities to put rushing touchdowns on the board Sunday in Dallas, once near the end of the second quarter and again early in the fourth. Both plays failed. Neither had a material effect on the outcome, a 21-12 Seattle victory, but it pushed the franchise closer to an NFL-record feat of run-game dubiousness.
With a first down at the Dallas one-yard line with 1:58 remaining before intermission, QB Russell Wilson attempted to hand the ball to RB Mike Davis. But the exchange went poorly, the ball squirted out and Wilson managed to recover the fumble in the ensuing scrum. After a timeout by Dallas, Wilson tossed a three-yard TD to TE Jimmy Graham, giving Seattle a 7-6 lead.
With 12:40 remaining in the game, Seattle faced first-and-goal at the Dallas one. Making a rare, late-season appearance, RB Thomas Rawls was tossed for a five-yard loss. Abandoning the run, on the next play Wilson threw a six-yard TD to WR Doug Baldwin.
Underscoring their biggest offensive problem, the Seahawks have a mere four rushing touchdowns, three by Wilson. The only rushing TD produced by a running back came Oct. 1 against Indianapolis when rookie J.D. McKissic tallied on a 30-yard run in a 46-18 win. Given its stunning singularity, that may turn out to be the offensive highlight of the 2017 season.
Since the NFL adopted the 16-game schedule in 1978, 28 teams have finished a season with four or fewer rushing touchdowns, so this Seattle team is hardly unique in that respect. In fact, two teams, the 1995 Jets (3-13 under Rich Kotite) and the 2005 Cardinals (5-11 under Dennis Green) scored two rushing touchdowns. Seven other clubs have tallied three. So Seattle’s four doesn’t look quite so bad. Except . . .
If you subtract Wilson’s three TDs, Seahawks backs are left with only one rushing TD. If they fail to improve that number next Sunday against Arizona, Seattle will be the only team in the past 40 years to get just one seasonal TD out of a running back.
Eliminating quarterback contributions, these are the teams that had the fewest rushing TDs in a 16-game schedule:
(W/O QB= number after subtracting quarterback’s total):
|2017||Seahawks||4||3||1||Seahawks have used 6 RBs|
|1995||Jets||2||0||2||Boomer Esiason quarterbacked Jets|
|2003||Cardinals||5||3||2||Jeff Blake scored 2, Josh McCown 1|
|2005||Cardinals||2||0||2||RB J.J. Arrington tallied both|
|2012||Raiders||4||2||2||Carson Palmer, Terrelle Pryor 1 each|
Before this season, Seahawks had five or fewer rushing TDs in a season three times: 1992 (4), 1989 (5) and 1999 (5). The 1989 team had all five from running backs, Curt Warner (3), John L. Williams (1) and Derrick Fenner (1). The 1999 team had all from RB Ricky Watters. The 1992 team, which finished a franchise-worst 2-14, had three from Chris Warren and one from Williams.
Odd way to win
Seattle won at Dallas Sunday despite accumulating more penalty yards (142) than total yards (136), the first time such a bizarre development has occurred in the NFL since Nov. 6, 1966 when the Eagles defeated Dallas 24-23 with 80 total yards and 89 penalty yards. The Eagles prevailed largely on the basis of two kickoff return TDs by Timmy Brown covering 93 and 90 yards.
Almost as unusual as winning with more penalty yards than total yards is winning with 136 total yards. The Seahawks have won only three other games after compiling fewer total yards – all on the road — and only seven in franchise history while compiling fewer than 190. Those games:
|2000||Nov. 5||Chargers||128||Seattle 17-15 on 48 FG by Rian Lindell|
|1996||Dec. 22||Raiders||129||Seattle 28-21; Lamar Smith 2 TDs|
|2013||Oct. 28||Rams||135||Seattle 14-9; R. Wilson 80 TD to G. Tate|
|2017||Dec. 24||Cowboys||136||Seattle 21-12; 3 takeaways sparked win|
|1983||Oct. 16||Raiders||153||Seattle 38-36; Paul Johns 75 PR TD|
|2004||Sept. 19||Buccaneers||182||Seattle 10-6; Tampa had 271 yards|
|1983||Dec. 11||Giants||183||Seattle 17-12; Dave Krieg 2 TD passes|
When CB Justin Coleman victimized QB Dak Prescott for a pick six Sunday, a play that gave Seattle a 14-9 lead in the third quarter, he became only the second player in franchise history to score an eventual game-winning TD on an INT return with Seattle trailing in the second half. LB Lofa Tutupu also did it against Carolina Dec. 5, 2010 (Seahawks trailed 14-10 in third, went ahead 17-14 on Tatupu’s pick, and won 31-14).
Coleman is only the 10th player in franchise history with two pick sixes in a season (also 28 yards vs. Indianapolis Oct. 1) and the first to accomplish the feat since LB Bruce Irvin in 2014.
Graham’s second-quarter touchdown made him the first NFL tight end with at least 10 scoring catches in a season for two franchises. Graham did it three times with New Orleans and has 69 career TDs.