Note: I haven’t been commenting much on the Seattle Seahawks so far this season. With the year ending injuries to key defensive stars Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, plus the problems with the offensive line and the running game, I have been, more or less, in “wait and see” mode as regards this […]Read the Rest →
What a game the Seattle Seahawks played today in Philadelphia against the Eagles! Seattle won the game by a score of 24-14, but the score does not reflect the dominance the Hawks displayed in Philly’s windy and cold Lincoln Financial Field. Check out these stats:
Time of possession (in minutes): Seahawks 41:56 – Eagles 18:04
Total Yards: Seahawks 440-Eagles 139
First Downs: Seahawks 28- Eagles 9
Rushing Yards: Seahawks 188 – Eagles 57
Passing Yards: Seahawks 252-Eagles 82
Third Down Efficiency: Seahawks 42% (7-16) – Eagles 18 % (2-11)
Plays Run: Seahawks 85 – Eagles 45 (Philadelphia, with their speedy, no huddle offense, averages 73 plays a game which is tops in the NFL. Seattle’s defense held them to nearly 30 plays less than that, while Seattle’s offense ran 40 more plays than the Eagles!)
Yards per play: Seahawks 5.2- Eagles 3.1
With stats like those you would expect the score of this game to be more like 40-14 Seattle instead of the 24-14 final count it turned out to be. It happened partly because the Hawks handed the Eagles the first score of the game when punter John Ryan fumbled a perfect snap giving Philly the ball inside the Seattle 15 yard line. From there, after a few running plays, Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez hit his favorite receiver Jeremy Macklin with a short TD pass and the Eagles led 7-0.
That was pretty much the high point of the game for Philadelphia. When they scored there were 3 minutes and 37 seconds left in the first quarter; at which point Russell Wilson and the Hawks offense took the ensuing kickoff and drove the length of the field to tie the game on a Wilson 26 yard run off a beautifully executed read option play. We were told going into the game that the Eagles, due to the familiarity of head coach Chip Kelly with college read option plays from his years as the head man at Oregon, were hip to that play; and that Wilson would have trouble executing it as a result. He sure didn’t on the TD run. When he faked the handoff to Marshawn Lynch on the play, Eagles outside linebacker Trent Cole bit hard and collapsed down the line of scrimmage toward Lynch; whereupon Wilson pulled the ball from Lynch’s belly and off he went, untouched, around the left end all the way to the end zone.
Seattle took a 10-7 halftime lead and then went up 17 -7 in the 3rd quarter when, following a recovered Eagles fumble, Wilson hit a wide open Marshawn Lynch (23 carries for 86 yards) in the left flat with a 15 yard touchdown pass. Philadelphia got field position on the subsequent kickoff with a good return to their own 46 yard line. They then mounted their only sustained drive of the day, with help from a pass interference call on Hawks linebacker Bobby Wagner, and scored on a nice Sanchez 35 yard touchdown pass to Eagles tight end Zach Ertz. From there, in this matchup of one of the highest powered offenses in football (Eagles, 414 yds per game avg.) with Seattle’s NFL number one ranked defense, it was no contest. The Legion of Boom and company simply threw the hammer down and completely stymied Mark Sanchez and the Eagles receivers, while intercepting the Eagles QB once. In three of his four starts since taking over for the injured Nick Foles Sanchez has thrown for 300 or more yards; but The Hawks held him to the unbelievably paltry figure of 82 yards. It was a brilliant performance by the Seattle defense.
Meanwhile Wilson and the Seahawks offense answered the Eagles TD with another of their own to make the final score of 24-14. Capitalizing on a 44 yard pass interference call against the Eagles, Wilson hit Doug Baldwin with a 23 yard scoring throw midway through the 3rd quarter.
As dominant as Seattle was in this game, you can still see there is room for improvement, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. In an effort to make a play Wilson, who was 22-37 for 263 yards with 2 TDs and no interceptions, sometimes holds the ball too long; and the offensive line needs to get better at pass protection. But when you consider that the Hawks went on the road, 3,000 miles to the east coast, and easily defeated the high powered NFC East leading Eagles (9-3 record) while holding them to 139 yards in total offense…well…pointing out those shortcomings is akin to picking nits. The Seahawks have clearly turned the corner on this season and are now one of the NFL’s three or four best teams; and they have put themselves in great position to possibly secure home field advantage through the playoffs, just like last year. They have come a long way from the 6-4 team they were just two weeks ago.
The next three games against the 49ers, Cardinals and Rams will tell the tale; and right now I’m not betting against this team.
Neither should you.
Copyright © 2014
By Mark Arnold
All Rights Reserved