Thursday, December 1, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Seahawks 31, Eagles 14
By Mike Sando
SEATTLE -- Thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 31-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night at CenturyLink Field:
What it means: The Seahawks improved to 5-7 for the season, including 2-2 against teams from the NFC East. They continued to build on recent successes in the ground game, a top priority heading toward next season. Marshawn Lynch strengthened his case for a long-term contract with his fourth 100-yard rushing performance in his past five games. This game was progress for Seattle.
What I liked: Seattle established its ground game -- again. The team fed off Lynch's power running. Pass protection was generally good enough, breaking down mostly when Tarvaris Jackson held onto the ball. Jackson had third-down completions for 21, 26 and 25 yards in the first half. Two of those plays sustained separate touchdown drives. Kam Chancellor picked off Vince Young to end the Eagles' opening possession, the first of four interceptions by the Seattle defense. Brandon Browner, plagued by penalties in coverage this season, broke up a deep pass at the last moment after initially getting beat. Browner also picked off two passes, giving him three intercerceptions over the past two games. Second-year receiver Golden Tate caught a touchdown pass for the second week in a row. The athleticism that appealed to Seattle when Tate was at Notre Dame showed up on two plays, including his leaping TD grab in the back of the end zone.
What I didn't like: The Seahawks allowed a rushing touchdown for the second week in a row after allowing none previously since Week 4. They failed to get pressure quickly enough, enabling a 47-yard completion to set up LeSean McCoy's scoring run. Seattle's defense had trouble getting off the field during a 17-play, 80-yard Eagles drive spanning more that 10 minutes of the second half. Penalties, a big problem for Seattle this season, dogged the team early in the game. The Seahawks committed their first less than 10 seconds into the game. They improved in that area as the game progressed, however.
Lynch's big night: Lynch carried 22 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns. This was his most rushing yardage in a game since Seattle acquired him. Lynch previously ran for 135 yards against Dallas earlier this season. He set his career high (153 yards) while with Buffalo in 2007.
Hawthorne active, and then some: The Seahawks weren't sure whether David Hawthorne's knee would let the middle linebacker play against the Eagles. Hawthorne, listed as questionable on the injury report, sealed the outcome for Seattle with a 77-yard interception return for a touchdown. Having the weekend off should help Hawthorne get ready for Week 14.
Miller OK: Tight end Zach Miller was slow to get up after absorbing a blindside hit while trying to get open for a scrambling Jackson in the third quarter. Miller walked off the field. The big hits he takes are of added concern after Miller suffered a concussion on a brutal hit from the New York Giants. But Miller returned and caught a pass late in the game.
Okung leaves game late: Left tackle Russell Okung came out of the game late after suffering what appeared to be an injury to his right arm or shoulder.
Timing off early: The Seahawks' pregame flag-raising ceremony has become a tradition at home games. Fans' excitement grows as a celebrity with local ties -- former SuperSonics coach Bill Russell was the choice Thursday night -- raises the "12th Man" flag right before kickoff. The timing was fouled up this time. The game began before stadium video operators could cue their Russell tribute. Cameras showed a confused look on coach Pete Carroll's face as the game kicked off while the ceremony was only beginning. Awkward.
What's next: The Seahawks are home for a Monday night game against the St. Louis Rams in Week 14.