SEATTLE – Everybody’s been waiting for the Seattle Seahawks to have a breakout game. Nobody thought it would come against the best team in the NFL.
The Seahawks put together perhaps their most complete game of the season, clawing their way back into playoff position and making a statement in their flashiest matchup of the year with a 24-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at CenturyLink Field on Sunday night.
“Just an amazing night of football,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after the game. “It was fun to watch. I loved it.”
Though nobody said it in the week leading up to the game, it was a critical game for the Seahawks (8-4). The win, combined with a loss by the Atlanta Falcons, puts them back in control of a wild-card spot, and leaves them just a game back of the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West with four games left on the schedule – including one against those Rams.
Russell Wilson was, once again, a magician – and this week, he didn’t wait until the second half to prove it. He again looked like somebody who’s going to be in the MVP conversation at the end of the season, improvising masterfully – heck, unbelievably at times – in completing 20 of 31 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns, and rushing for another 31 yards. Wilson’s 15-yard touchdown pass to J.D. McKissic with 4:19 left in the game gave him 15 fourth-quarter TD passes this season – which, the Seahawks’ John Boyle pointed out, ties him with Eli Manning’s 2011 campaign for the most in the NFL dating back to 1991.
“I thought Russell was phenomenal tonight,” Carroll said. “That was Russell showing you everything he’s about.
“… I really think that’s one of the best games I’ve seen him play.”
There were more atta-boys to give, of course. Mike Davis dropped hints that he might be the tailback the Seahawks have been looking for, carrying the ball 16 times for 64 yards and catching four passes for 37 yards. Doug Baldwin was ridiculous as always, catching five passes for 84 yards. And Nick Vannett again played a bigger role in the game plan, catching three passes for 40 yards.
Sheldon Richardson continued to show why the Seahawks traded Jermaine Kearse and a second-round pick for him. With the Eagles driving and a touchdown feeling inevitable in the early minutes of the second half, Richardson stripped quarterback Carson Wentz on the 1-yard line. The ball bounced out of the end zone, and the Seahawks had the ball on their own 20-yard line thanks to a touchback call.
It ended up being a 14-point swing that would ultimately put Seattle firmly in control, as the Seahawks drove the length of the field and capped it with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Tyler Lockett that gave them a 17-3 lead with 5:42 to play in the third quarter. Lockett’s first touchdown of the season was set up by a 47-yard Baldwin reception in which Baldwin’s foot dragged out of bounds just shy of the end zone.
Seattle got on the board first with the opening possession of the game, looking good as it drove down the field to set up a reassuring 46-yard field goal from Blair Walsh.
The Hawks then jumped out to a 10-0 lead later in the first quarter, driving 85 yards and capping it with an 11-yard Jimmy Graham touchdown reception – Graham’s ninth of the season, and seven in the past six games.
And, hey, remember some of the red flags that have pestered the Seahawks all season? On Sunday, they committed a perfectly tolerable five penalties for 46 yards. And Walsh? He was perfect on extra points and hit the only field goal he attempted.
"We didn't waver," Wilson said after the game. "You can't waver. This is December, baby."
The Seahawks travel to Jacksonville next Sunday for a 1:25 p.m. game against the Jaguars (8-4).