SEATTLE — If the Seattle Seahawks hope to reach the postseason for a sixth straight season, Sunday night was a game they had to have.
And they delivered.
With the NFC-leading Eagles in town and a national television audience tuned in, the Seahawks vaulted themselves back into playoff contention with a convincing 24-10 win over Philadelphia in front of 69,075 fans at CenturyLink Field.
“We knew it was going to be a big game, but we didn’t want to treat it any differently than the games that we’ve had previously,” wide receiver Tyler Lockett said. “Obviously we knew they were a great team, had a great offense and a great defense. We just had to go out there and execute. And that’s what we did.”
The Seahawks (8-4) now hold the NFC’s first wild-card spot, but still control their destiny in the NFC West race, where they trail the Los Angeles Rams by one game. Seattle beat the Rams in L.A. earlier this season and face the Rams (9-3) at home in two weeks.
Seattle allowed second-year Philadelphia quarterback and MVP candidate Carson Wentz to pass for 348 yards for Philadelphia (10-2). The trick was keeping Wentz out of the end zone as he finished with one touchdown pass and an end-zone interception courtesy of Byron Maxwell on Philadelphia’s penultimate possession.
“The defense did a tremendous job being able to stop their explosive offense and we were just able to go out there and get the win,” Lockett said. “It’s hard to win in the NFL and we did it against a great team.”
The Seahawks never trailed as quarterback Russell Wilson finished 20-of-31 passing for 227 yards and three touchdowns.
“Russ is always amazing,” said Seahawks running back Mike Davis, who rushed for 64 yards and finished with 101 yards of total offense. “He’ll make you a believer if you (weren’t). I trust him and he’s a tough guy. Russ takes a lot of hits and he always gets back up. He’s our leader.”
Wilson’s defining moment Sunday came after a 27-yard Wentz touchdown pass cut Seattle’s lead to 17-10 at 12:08 in the fourth quarter.
On Seattle’s ensuing drive, the Seahawks faced third-and-8 near midfield. Wilson took off for 6 yards before lateraling the ball to Davis who picked up 17 more to move the chains.
“You always have to be aware,” Davis said. “You never know what Russell will do. You just gotta be alive at all times.”
Wilson capped the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open J.D. McKissic at 7:29 to stretch the lead to 24-10.
“When you’re going against a great team like that everything has to be clicking, and that’s definitely what happened,” Lockett said. “Obviously there are some games where the offense might have been going a little bit slow and defense was getting their groove on. But today everybody played, and that just shows how great a team we can be when we click together.”
Philadelphia trailed 10-3 at the half and the Eagles opened the second half by marching all the way down to the Seattle 4-yard line. But Wentz fumbled at the goal line on a read-option keeper that went through the end zone for a touchback. Earl Thomas wrapped Wentz up and Sheldon Richardson forced the fumble.
“No matter where you’re at on the field, we don’t care – we’re going to defend it,” safety Bradley McDougald said. “You’ve got a quarterback with the potential to dive into the end zone and that play right there turned the game to me. In my opinion that play was a huge, huge change. After that we got down and score and go up 14. That says a lot about our defense.”
After taking over at the Philadelphia 20, Wilson found Doug Baldwin for a long pass that was initially ruled a touchdown. But after review the officials determined Baldwin stepped out at the 1-yard line and the play officially went for 47 yards. Three plays later Wilson found Lockett in the left flat of the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown pass at 5:42 as Seattle’s lead grew to 17-3.
Wentz hooked up with Nelson Agholor on a 51-yard completion that set up his 27-yard scoring strike to Agholor to bring the Eagles within a touchdown at 17-10.
Then Wilson and the Seahawks produced their final scoring drive in response.
Agholor caugh seven passes for 141 yards and a touchdown to lead Philadelphia. Baldwin had five receptions for 84 yards to lead Seattle in both categories.
The Seahawks scored on the game’s first possession when Blair Walsh’s 46-yard field goal gave Seattle a 3-0 lead at 9:47 in the first quarter.
Jimmy Graham’s 11-yard touchdown reception with 10 seconds to play in the first quarter pushed Seattle’s lead to 10-0 before the Eagles used a 26-yard Jake Elliott field goal to cut the deficit to 10-3 at 7:51 in the second quarter.
That’s how it remained at the half.
Seattle plays at Jacksonville next Sunday at 1:05 p.m.