If you were asked to sarcastically script a Seahawks game that defined their entire 2019 season, it would look exactly like this.
They played down to an opponent that had a ridiculous number of injuries. They couldn’t pull away to deliver a comfortable win. The defense struggled to create pressure aside from Jadeveon Clowney. They had a near-fatal fumble.
And they won. Which was also the case more often than not during the 2019 season.
This isn’t the type of performance that will have Seahawks fans giddy at the prospect of a deep playoff run. The reality is they beat an Eagles team who lost their quarterback early on and had to roll with a 40-year-old backup. Aside from that, nearly the entire Eagles offense was out or playing hurt.
They toiled. Again, in typical Seahawks 2019 style, there were moments of absolute frustration and bewilderment. Why couldn’t they assert themselves on a hurting opponent? Why did it have to be so close?
Yet off-setting it all were moments of sheer brilliance.
The quality of Russell Wilson shone through, leading a team that is missing so many key players. He threw for 325 yards and ran for 45 more. The Seahawks probably aren’t going to be able to run the ball for the rest of the season. They’re missing offensive linemen and their three starting running backs are gone.
Travis Homer had 12 yards on 11 carries. Marshawn Lynch had a sensational Beast Mode touchdown but finished with seven yards on six carries.
Wilson had to make it happen and he did.
Many teams will go into the off-season — maybe even including the Patriots — looking for a player who is even half of what Wilson is to lead their franchise.
He was well supported by his receivers. D.K. Metcalf had a performance where, if it could be replicated next week, the Seahawks might have some semblance of a shot. His brilliant grab at full-stretch and recovery to make it into the end zone was the winning moment ultimately. He iced the game by torching the Eagles downfield and making another stunning catch on third down.
The Seahawks got a steal when they traded up for him at the back end of round two. He was one pick away from being a third rounder. Which is ridiculous.
David Moore had two long receptions and Tyler Lockett looked closer to his best with a wonderful catch by the sideline. The receivers stepped up on a day to throw.
On the other side of the ball, you could be tempted to call it the ultimate showing of bend-but-don’t-break. They had two fourth down stops at the end. They had seven sacks, somehow. Yet in reality all this game did was highlight the major surgery this defense requires in the off-season.
The run defense is poor. They gave up 4.6 YPC and 120 yards despite the quarterback situation. They couldn’t even play the run well to put it on Josh McCown. Instead, the Eagles didn’t really miss a beat as they marched up and down the field consistently. Their flaw was in the red zone where they strangely looked devoid of creativity. Maybe that was the QB situation catching up with them.
Yet had Miles Sanders not kindly dropped a straight forward pass on fourth down in the final quarter, the Eagles could’ve been right in with a chance to win. It was also a bit of a gift that McCown held on so long on Philly’s final drive — absorbing a sack on another fourth down.
It wasn’t all bad. They did, eventually, get the sack numbers. Jadeveon Clowney made enough splash plays to remind everyone he needs to be kept. K.J. Wright was terrific. The unit will need to play better next week, however.
They move on to Lambeau Field to face a Packers team that has shown flashes of quality and moments of weakness. They destroyed the Vikings in their own stadium to win the NFC North. They also nearly blew a playoff bye against the hapless Lions in week 17 and the 49ers took them to the cleaners in Santa Clara.
At home they should’ve lost to Detroit (only to be helped by the ref’s and win 23-22). They only won 20-15 against the Redskins, 24-16 against the Panthers and it was close against the Bears. They were well beaten in LA by the Chargers.
They’re similar to Seattle. A bit crap some of the time but capable of brilliance too. They’re not missing several key players though.
The Seahawks haven’t even looked like beating the Packers in Green Bay during the Carroll era. They’ve been uncompetitive for the most part, frustrating for the rest.
You can get after Green Bay. Whether this banged up Seahawks team is capable of doing it remains to be seen.
At least they get the opportunity to find out if they can reach the NFC Championship game. They’ve gone a stage further than the Saints, even though it was probably a blessing not to face Minnesota in Seattle today as the #3 seed. They also went a stage further than a year ago by reaching the divisional round and they’ve finally won another road playoff game — albeit against a Philadelphia team with such incredible misfortune due to injuries.
The Packers will be rested. The Seahawks will need to hope Duane Brown and Mike Iupati return. They’ll need to be cleaner (11 penalties today for 114 yards) and they’ll need to match Aaron Rodgers score-for-score. Thus, they’ll need more Wilson magic.
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