SEATTLE — K.J. Wright could understand why an impartial observer would look at Sunday’s matchup and conclude the Seattle Seahawks had the same chance as the Spartan army in 300.
The Philadelphia Eagles, after all, sat at 10-1, the best record in the NFL. They also led the league in scoring and sat third in scoring defence. If that wasn’t enough, they had a young, healthy lineup which featured playmakers all over the field.
But Wright, who knows a little something about the makeup of his team, offered a few cautionary words in advance of this apparent mismatch.
“Don’t sleep on us man,” said the Seahawks’ linebacker and charter member of the team’s imperial guard. “This team is really good. We’re still talented. We can be the best of the best
“Just because we have injuries don’t mean that things will change. We’re going to be good out there.”
Sure thing. Funny old K.J.
There’s just one thing.
No one’s laughing at Wright or the Seahawks now.
“They were awesome, just ridiculously good,” Carroll said of the Eagles. “It was a terrific night of football, and it comes out of respect for the Eagles. There isn’t a thing they do which isn’t at the top of the mark. For us to play our game and really be in command of the game throughout was great for us.”
And a reminder of the good old days.
With a performance that turned the clock back five years, the proud ‘Hawks flexed some of their old muscle on Sunday, riding Russell Wilson, a courageous defence and a little bit of luck to a 24-10 win over the Eagles.
The victory, before, a rapturous crowd of 69,075, at Century Link, left the Seahawks with an 8-4 mark and sets up, potentially, a mammoth showdown in two weeks in Seattle with the 9-3 L.A. Rams for first place in the NFC West.
The Rams, like the Eagles, are a seemingly, younger, healthier and hungrier team but if we’ve learned anything in the Carroll era, it’s never under underestimate the Seahawks, especially at CenturyLink.
Just ask Wright.
Against the Eagles, the Seahawks outlasted the NFC’s best team in a vicious street light of a game, riding a huge break midway through the third quarter and a subsequent Wilson-orchestrated drive to a 14-point lead they’d never relinquish.
The sequence started with Hawks defensive end Sheldon Richardson stripping Philly quarterback Carson Wentz at the Seattle one-yard line, sending the ball careening through the back of the end zone for a Seattle touchback.
On the ensuing drive, Wilson caught the Eagles in a full-out blitz on third-and-long, hitting Doug Baldwin on a 47-yarder to the Eagles’ one. He then found Tyler Lockett for the major, one of his three touchdown passes on the game.
That, at least, was the defining sequence from the ’Hawks win but it also underscored the big themes from the affair, starting with an MVP-worthy turn by Wilson.
The Seahawks quarterback set the tone early, completing his first four passes and eight of his first 10 in the first quarter for 91 yards and a touchdown to Jimmy Graham. On the game, he was 20 of 31 for 227 yards and three scores but those numbers didn’t begin to tell the entirety of this story.
Early in the fourth quarter, for example, the Seahawks took over on their own 27 with a seven-point lead after Wentz had hit Nelson Agholor with a 27-yard major moments after he’d found Agholor on an oh-my-god, how-did-he-do-that 51-yarder as he was falling to the turf.
Undaunted, Wilson first found Baldwin for 10 yards on third-and-seven, then pitched to running back Mike Davis for 17 yards after he’d broken the line of scrimmage on another third-down conversion. Wilson then capped the drive and iced the win with a 16-yard TD pass to J.D. McKissic.
Technically, the lateral to Davis might have been a titch forward but the play was too inspired to be nullified by an official’s decision.
“I thought Russell was spectacular today,” Carroll said. “He showed what he was all about. So much of what he did didn’t show the stats but I have such massive respect for him. It was an amazing night of football. I hope you enjoyed it.”
Of the ad lib to Davis, Carroll said: “Every thing he’s done in sports led him to that moments. That was exquisite football. I loved it.”
The Seahawks’ defence, meanwhile, held up its end of the bargain, holding the NFL’s highest scoring team to one touchdown with a sound, disciplined game. In the first half, they limited Wentz and Co., to 128 yards and didn’t allow a play longer than 12 yards. The Eagles’ second-year star had his moments in the second half but that fumble, coupled with two failed fourth-down attempts in Seattle territory, were instrumental in the loss.
The Seahawks’ defence was without three all-pro starters in Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril. In their absence, Frank Clark contributed two sacks, Byron Maxwell had a late interception Wright finished 10 tackles and Bobby Wagner, in a tour-de-force performance, had 13 tackles.
The Seahawks, just so you know, were six-point underdogs to the Eagles. It was the first time since 2011 they’ve been that big an ‘dog at home.
This, didn’t go unnoticed by the Seahawks.
“There’s nothing wrong with that,” Carroll said. “They have a lot of pride.”