First, when you have a physical specimen such as Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham (or Jared Cook), you’re crazy not to put him to full use. Graham was targeted only three times, and he picked up all of 22 yards on Saturday. The Seahawks, after acquiring him from New Orleans, shamefully underused Graham throughout 2015, but looked like they had seen the error of their ways, as Graham caught 65 passes for 923 yards and six touchdowns in the 2016 regular season. But on Saturday Seattle reverted, with QB Russell Wilson all but ignoring him.
Second, that next-man-up is a good attitude to have when multiple injuries occur at the same position, but at some point you can run out of NFL-quality subs. Though the Seattle defensive backfield was not having a great year even before a series of injuries, they were pretty much left defenseless after cornerback DeShawn Shead went down on the second play of the second half.
The same thing happened to the Green Bay Packers at the cornerback position this year. The good news is the Packers have all their defensive backfield starters back. There is every reason to believe that LaDarius Gunter and Damarious Randall at cornerback, Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at safety, and Micah Hyde freely roaming around will do a commendable job against Dallas. I’m convinced Randall was more injured than we all thought for much of the regular season.
Third, never count your opponent out. The Seahawks seemed out of it, then scored a touchdown with one kickoff return and one offensive play. Atlanta, like so many others, went prevent on defense, and of course the opposite happened. Atlanta even helped by running out of bounds instead of keeping the clock going. For a while there, it was starting to look like 2014, when quarterback Russell Wilson led the Seahawks back against the Packers. Fortunately, Atlanta didn’t have a Brandon Bostick to screw up the onside kick recovery.
Fourth, I’ll never understand why the Seahawks were so quick to release running back Christine Michael during the season. The guy they were counting on, Thomas Rawls, never got it going against Atlanta, and they had little in the way of a backup. I’ll bet that Michael does better than Rawls (11 carries for 34 yards) against the Cowboys.