Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 17-9 wild-card playoff victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field:
While Seattle’s running game never got going, the passing game was immaculate. Quarterback Russell Wilson played at an MVP level, making big-time plays with both his arm and his feet. Rookie receiver DK Metcalf was every bit the star many predict he will become, making the catches that were the difference in the game. And Seattle was tremendous on third down, going 8-for-15 and converting several third-and-longs. All-in-all it’s somewhat puzzling the Seahawks came away with just 17 points.
Seattle’s defense was given the luxury of facing a team devoid of most of its offensive playmakers, and then the Eagles lost starting quarterback Carson Wentz in the first quarter to a head injury. While it may have seemed alarming that the Seahawks allowed an offense guided by 40-year-old Josh McCown to gain yards, Seattle kept the Eagles out of the end zone — including a pair of fourth-down stops in the fourth quarter when Philadelphia was threatening. The Seahawks’ much-maligned pass rush came up with seven sacks, though several of those were of the coverage variety.
It began poorly for Seattle’s special teams when Jason Myers’ first-quarter 35-yard field-goal attempt was blocked. But things stabilized from there. Myers responded by line-driving a 49-yard field goal on Seattle’s ensuing possession. Punter Michael Dickson and his magical ability to make the ball bounce straight up pinned Philadelphia inside its own 10, though his overall punting wasn’t as booming as it has been in the past. There was little accomplished in the return game by either team.
The Seahawks used their dime package on defense more frequently, deploying six defensive backs on third downs, and that helped create solid coverage throughout the game. Pete Carroll made one challenge that was successful, turning a pass that was ruled incomplete into a reception for Tyler Lockett. There were times when it seemed like the Seahawks could bring more heat on McCown and force him to show he could make play, but the play call to throw the deep ball on third down in the final two minutes, which ended up icing the game, was pure guts.
Given the crazy number of injuries the Eagles had on offense, especially with Wentz departing early, it sure seems like this one should have been a lay-up for Seattle. But the Seahawks just don’t play games that don’t come down to the end. However, a road playoff win is a road playoff win, even when it’s not always the prettiest. Seattle is going to have to come up with another one next week when the Seahawks travel to Green Bay for the divisional round.