Written by: Peter Vandeventer | @PeteVandeventer
In a defensive battle, the Seahawks walk on by the Eagles, improving their record to 9-2.
This battle got somewhat ugly at times, but it still had its fair share of exciting plays and thankfully most of them happened in the Seahawks favor.
Philly struck first after a bad punt but Seattle struck back in a big way. A flea-flicker from Wilson to Malik Turner gave the Seahawks the lead midway through the 1st quarter and they really didn't look back. Seattle forced turnovers on several Eagle drives that had a lot of promise that really crushed their spirits.
Once the Philly fans start to turn on their team, it doesn’t get much better. Getting booed at home while getting outplayed by the opposing squad doesn’t put your team in a great position but it really isn’t something many were surprised about. The Eagles are an injury decimated team that has a severe lack of playmakers right now.
For Seattle, Chris Carson was having a few issues and it really closed the door on his day when he fumbled back to back plays but Seattle was able to lean on Rashaad Penny to pick up the slack and help run out the clock as well as pad his stats down the stretch. Seattle was able to handle the Philly squad 17-9 after giving up a last-second touchdown (which I’m a little salty about still).
Wow...wow. WOAH... I don’t think a single person expected to see Penny take over on Sunday. Penny had a huge 58-yard run that iced the game and it added to an already spectacular game in which he had 129 yards. Penny nearly doubled his entire season’s output Sunday and could easily be an outlier but his burst looked more like his SDSU self where he had 3000 yards in 2 years.
Penny admits that he didn't take the offseason too seriously and it showed as his weight soared to 240 at one point. But now back down to 230, Penny is starting to get the burst that allowed him to be the 22nd player to ever rush for over 2000 yards in a season while he was an Aztec.
The possibility is scary when you have a 1-2 punch with Chris Carson in the backfield and they add to an elite passing offense. A more interesting look is that the Seahawks gave the ball to Penny down the stretch, of course, Carson did have a fumbling issue but being able to use Penny will allow the Seahawks to take some weight off of Carson’s shoulders. CC currently ranks 5th in the league with carries and is one of the most physical backs you will find suiting up on Sundays. So don’t look at Penny’s big day as a bad thing for Chris Carson.
Jadeveon Clowney, the man who singlehandedly destroyed the 49ers OL, was out Sunday. Clowney’s counterpart, Ansah, looked towards to try and create some sort of pressure while Clowney is dealing with his sports hernia related injury.
Though the season hasn’t gone too well for Ansah to this point as he has had to deal with lingering injuries as well as attempting to gain muscle DURING the season which is usually pretty difficult to do. And though he hasn’t reached his ideal strength level yet, Ansah looked like his old self against an injured Philly OL. With 1.5 sacks Ansah might be giving a precursor to what might be through the remainder of the season.
Green was arguably better than Ziggy Ansah on Sunday as he recorded 6 pressures as well as a strip-sack. Though he has been relatively disappointing coming out of USC, Green has been an average to above-average run defender since joining the Seahawks, so really his development as a pass rusher would allow him to reach a greater potential many saw in him. This pass rush is really getting hot and we still have yet to get a lot of production from many of our rotating ends.
Diggs didn't show up a whole lot on the stat sheet but his impact on the defense mirrors what Earl Thomas did for the Seahawks over the years (no, I’m not saying that Diggs is as good as ET, just a similar playmaker). Diggs is quick and packs a punch and has a knack for the football and it showed Sunday when he got in on and helped force a fumble that he ended up recovering. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that once he joined the squad and became healthy, the Seahawks defense has stepped up. The defense has outperformed the offense in back-to-back weeks and would be huge for the team moving towards the playoffs.
UNSUNG HERO: Shaquem Griffin
Though he only registered a tackle, Quem was able to get after the passer and be a valuable rotation throughout the game. His speed, motor, and competitiveness is extremely contagious and you can see how his speed directly sped up the players around him as well as sped up the play of Wentz which forced him into a hand full of elementary level mistakes.
THE FOOTBALL, a spheroid shape that resembles an inflated pig’s bladder, is the most important part of the game. But for some reason, neither side truly got a grip on that as the Seahawks put the ball on the ground twice (one lost) as well as an interception. Carson Wentz, fearing to be one-upped, singlehandedly found a way to turn the ball over 4x with a split between interceptions and lost fumbles. Along with Wentz’s extraordinary ability to turn the ball over, Goedert coughed up the ball to the joy of plenty of Seahawks.
If either team wants to make a strong push to and through the playoffs, they have to limit the turnovers. But defensively, it gets frustrating when you force turnovers but the offense can’t do anything with the chance. Scoring only three points off of turnovers, Seattle really let the Eagles stay in the game longer than they should've. But hindsight with the conditions and not having your best receiver at 100% can damper your offense a little bit so ill try not to hold this against them.
I’m gonna play a fun game real quick, many refer to it as the “what-if” game. It’s a pastime of mine that I play to try and cope with things not going how they really should have.
On 3rd-and-goal, Russ had a wide-open Jacob Hollister in the endzone that was honestly way too easy. But (please correct me if I’m wrong) Newton’s Second Law of motion came into play and Russ simply sailed the ball right over his open TE’s head which turned 7 points into 3.
If DK Metcalf had caught any number of *debatable* drops that he had Sunday, the Seahawks would’ve been in a position for more scores. Most notably, DK failed to haul in a deep pass from Russ that would’ve likely been a TD but instead, a punt ensued.
In this alternate reality, the Seahawks would’ve now won by the score of 28-9. So the point of me playing that game really just shows how dominant the Seahawks were against the Eagles and it’s just that the score didn't necessarily portray that directly.
The Seahawks defense was once again led by their pass rush (and let me remind you again that it’s without Clowney). Only collecting three sacks, but the DL also was able to force several forced fumbles and rush a lot of Wentz’s throws.
Coincidentally, the Seahawks lack of pass protection is the downfall of the offense. The Eagles DL feasted on the Seahawks OL and made it extremely hard to run the offense for Russ. Fletcher Cox lived in the Seahawks backfield and it shows in Joey Hunts pass-blocking grade of...wait for it...7.8. I’m honestly not upset at all at him for a 7.8 pass-blocking grade cause I’m genuinely surprised that such a score could be given out. It takes a special skill set to really perform that poorly and Russ is probably agreeing with that assessment.
Food for Thought
Oh, Pete Carroll, the coach who has yet to win the COTY award and I’m honestly disappointed at this point that he hasn’t. Previous award winners have been Bruce Arians (2), Ron Rivera (2), Jason Garrett, Sean McVay, and Matt Nagy. Those names aren’t necessarily among NFL coaching royalty in the way that Pete is, and in fact, most of those names have been extremely disappointing in the years after winning the award. As someone said to me on twitter, “[Pete Carroll] is always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” and I couldn’t say it any better.
Russell Wilson is the 1st QB to ever start his 1st 8 seasons with a winning record, even with players like Brady and Big Ben having success early and often in their career, no one can compare to Russ. To think that the short QB from Wisconsin taken in the 3rd round would go on to be one of the most successful in the NFL at his position and stand as a pillar of excellence and consistency is astounding. Also fun fact, Bobby Wagner has received more MVP votes (1; Tony Dungy) than Russ.
Up next, the Seahawks will host the Vikings in what should be a really fun game to watch on Monday night. Dalvin Cook and the Vikings running game with a Seahawks run game led by Chris Carson should lead to a very physical matchup with a great playoff atmosphere.