Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 24-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night at CenturyLink Field:
When looking at the numbers this may not seem like a special performance by Seattle’s offense. But facing a Philadelphia team that ranked No. 1 in the NFL in rush defense the Seahawks were able to control the ball without relying on the run. Quarterback Russell Wilson was once again at his imperious best, throwing three touchdown passes and coming up with yet another highlight-reel moment on his downfield lateral play that converted a key third down. And when Seattle needed to respond to Philadelphia’s TD drive early in the fourth quarter that cut the lead to seven, the Seahawks dialed up a 10-play drive that not only resulted in a touchdown, but took nearly five minutes off the clock.
The Eagles came into the game leading the NFL in scoring and having scored 30-plus points in their past five games. But the Seahawks couldn’t have done much better at containing Philadelphia’s explosive offense. Seattle prevented Philadelphia from getting anything downfield until reaching desperation mode in the second half, and when the Eagles got close defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson came up with the goal-line strip that was the pivotal play of the game. If not for two miraculous throws by MVP candidate Carson Wentz, Philadelphia wouldn’t have found the end zone once.
Special teams weren’t much of a factor in this one. Seattle kicker Blair Walsh made a 46-yard field goal in the first quarter, which must have done his confidence good considering he missed long ones in each of the Seahawks’ past two games. Punter Jon Ryan had an uncharacteristic game in which his punts weren’t booming as usual, though it didn’t end up costing Seattle anything. On the rare moments when the Seahawks were needed in coverage they came up with the goods.
The Seahawks coaches nailed this one. They devised an offensive game plan that was all about ball control without needing big rushing contributions from the running backs. On offense Seattle used a timeout perfectly in the third quarter, calling the deep ball against the blitz that resulted in a 47-yard pass to Doug Baldwin, which led to the touchdown that made it 17-3. And on defense the Seahawks picked the right times to blitz themselves, twice forcing incompletions on fourth down.
Just when people were wavering about whether the Seahawks were still contenders in the NFC, they came up with a comprehensive victory over the team with the best record in the NFL. The victory did wonders for Seattle’s playoff hopes, as the Seahawks hurdled both Atlanta and Carolina to move into the fifth seed in the NFC with four games remaining. And and a result like this forces the rest of the league to take notice, perhaps bringing the intimidation factor back into facing Seattle.
– Nick Patterson, Herald writer