Seahawks Stay Perfect on the Road, Grind Out Victory Over Eagles
Overcoming several missed opportunities offensively, the Seahawks leaned heavily on the ground game and a stifling defense for a hard-fought 17-9 victory over the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
Seattle wasn’t sharp finishing off drives, leaving plenty of points on the field. But the outcome never seemed to be in doubt in large part due to Philadelphia’s offensive ineptitude, as the home team produced only 344 total yards of offense and rarely threatened to score until late in regulation.
What stood out in Seattle’s latest victory? Here are four takeaways as the team improved to 9-2 in Philadelphia.
For at least one day, Rashaad Penny silenced his critics with a dynamic outing.
For the first three quarters, Seattle couldn’t get much going running the football against the fourth-ranked rushing defense in the NFL. But with the Seahawks nursing a seven-point lead, the former first-round pick out of San Diego took over. Exhibiting his explosive speed and quickness, he first raced off the left end on a pitch for a 21-yard gain to move Seattle past midfield. Two plays later, he rocketed past Philadelphia’s linebackers with only one safety to beat, ending a 58-yard touchdown with an emphatic stiff arm to extend Seattle’s lead to 17-3. Penny finished the game with 129 rushing yards on 14 carries, by far his finest performance since entering the league. With starter Chris Carson fumbling twice, Penny could see more playing time coming his way in the final five weeks of the season.
Drops and penalties left a bunch of points off the board for the Seahawks.
On numerous occasions in the first three quarters, Seattle looked positioned to blow the game wide open, but they couldn’t finish off drives. DK Metcalf had two huge drops on downfield throws, including on a potential 38-yard touchdown from Wilson late in the second quarter. After the break, multiple penalties kept setting the Seahawks behind the sticks, moving the team backwards and out of field goal range several times. On one third quarter possession in particular, Mike Iupati was penalized for a false start, Joey Hunt was nailed with a tripping penalty, and the team also got flagged for a delay of game. Trying to force a throw into a tight window to David Moore on 3rd and 25, Wilson’s pass was deflected into the hands of safety Rodney McLeod for an interception. Against a struggling football team, Seattle was able to get away with all those miscues, but they’ll have to tighten things up before next Monday’s game against Minnesota.
Playing against a short-handed receiving corps, Seattle shut down Philly’s aerial attack.
Philadelphia hasn’t been able to get its passing game rolling most of the season with players such as Desean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery battling injuries. Those issues continued into Sunday, as a resurgent Ziggy Ansah and Seattle battered Carson Wentz to a tune of nine quarterback hits and three sacks while receivers struggled to get open. Succumbing to constant pressure, Wentz uncorked several poorly thrown passes and was intercepted twice by Tre Flowers and Bradley McDougald. When Philadelphia tried to run screens, linebacker K.J. Wright indicated Seattle knew what play was coming and shut them down. Aside from a last-minute touchdown drive that culminated in a scoring pass by Wentz to tight end Zach Ertz, the Eagles simply couldn’t move the ball through the air against a rapidly improving secondary. For the Seahawks, it was the second consecutive impressive showing by Ken Norton Jr.'s defense, this time without the services of star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Turnovers came often with plenty of variety, a key ingredient to winning on the road.
Seattle has dealt with inconsistency issues on defense most of the year, but they’ve been among the NFL’s best in generating turnovers and that trend continued in a major way on Sunday. On Philadelphia’s second offensive possession, defensive end Rasheem Green showed off remarkable determination, initially slipping as he tried to sack Wentz. He recovered while still on his knees to punch the football out and defensive tackle Al Woods recovered the fumble. After driving deep into Seahawks territory the ensuing drive, Wentz telegraphed a deep post route and McDougald picked it off, taking at least three points off the board. In the second half, defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson recovered an aborted snap past midfield, Flowers intercepted Wentz, and Shaquill Griffin forced a fumble that was recovered by Quandre Diggs, giving the Seahawks a total of five turnovers on the afternoon. Seattle only turned those five turnovers into three points, but nonetheless, coach Pete Carroll was overjoyed about his defense’s dominant four quarter effort.