It may not have been a must-win game for the Seattle Seahawks, but they sure played like it in Sunday night’s 24-10 victory over the red-hot Philadelphia Eagles.
While there were many factors behind the upset, look no further than Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who undoubtedly made a case for league MVP against a stout Philly defense.
After a brilliant touchdown drive orchestrated by Carson Wentz in the fourth quarter – including a magical scramble which resulted in a 51-yard strike to Nelson Agholor – Wilson engineered his very own Houdini act. On a third-and-long, the three-time Pro Bowler vacated the pocket and before being tackled short of the sticks, lateraled to running back Mike Davis from nearly 10 yards down the field.
“I was trying to get the first down and he pops out of nowhere,” Wilson told NBC’s Michelle Tafoya after the win.
Upon further review, it appeared the referees missed the forward pass, but Philly elected not to challenge.
Just four plays later, Wilson found running back J.D. McKissic leaking out of the backfield for a 15-yard touchdown pass. “We had to stay the course and come out strong,” the 29-year-old quarterback added. “I thought we responded really well. … You can’t waver.”
Wilson, who amassed 227 via the air and another 31 on the ground, threw three touchdowns for the game, bringing his total to 26 on the season, which is tied with Tom Brady for second most.
On the flip side, credit a brilliant defensive effort despite the absence of the injured Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Cliff Avril and Nazair Jones.
The style of win was an ode to the Seahawks of old, when they relied on a dominant defense to set the tone. In fact, the Eagles, who entered the game as the highest scoring team in the NFL while averaging 31.9 points per game, were held to their fewest point total of the year.
Meanwhile Wentz, the MVP frontrunner, was held to just one touchdown and one interception while totaling an 86.2 passer rating, nearly 18 points below his season average. Remember too, that the Eagles, previously winners of nine in a row, had scored 30 or more points in each of their past five games.
For much of the night, Wentz – who leads the league with 29 touchdown passes – was under heavy duress, mainly from the relentless combination of pass rushing dynamo Frank Clark, who amassed two sacks.
With Seattle’s upset win – it’s fourth straight over the visiting Eagles – the NFC playoff picture got a whole lot murkier. At 10-2, the Eagles are no longer in control of the No. 1 overall seed. That now belongs to Case Keenum and the streaking Minnesota Vikings, who have won eight straight games. Moreover, Wentz and company now have significant pressure to win next week in Los Angeles against the 9-3 Rams. New Orleans meanwhile, sits atop the NFC South at 9-3.
The Seahawks – who avoided the ultra rare third straight home defeat – move to 8-4, trailing the Rams in the rugged NFC West, but in prime position to earn their sixth consecutive postseason berth. Seattle has a tall task up next though, traveling to first-place Jacksonville in a pivotal Week 14 tilt.
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