Among all that can happen Sunday — most important, the Seahawks attempting to get into the divisional round of the playoffs for the seventh time since 2010 — a rivalry with the Philadelphia Eagles could begin.
As the Seahawks and Eagles get set for their first postseason game against each other, it’s hard to make a case there’s much of a heated past between the two teams.
The Eagles are one of four NFC teams Seattle has never faced in the playoffs, a list that now shrinks to three — the New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Seattle and Philly have played 17 times, with Seattle winning 10. But few have been close — 11 of the games have been decided by 10 points or more and just three by less than a touchdown.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a little bit of interesting history here: One of the enduring symbols of the Pete Carroll era — Marshawn Lynch’s love of Skittles — was first revealed against the Eagles.
Here’s a review.
The greatest moment
Lynch had been a Seahawk for a little over a year and had already turned in one of his signature moments — the Beast Quake run against the Saints in the playoffs following the 2010 season — when Seattle hosted the Eagles on a Thursday night the following year, Dec. 1, 2011, to be exact. Somehow, to that point, Lynch’s affinity for Skittles hadn’t really yet surfaced in Seattle.
But when Lynch scored on a 15-yard run with 9 minutes, 19 seconds to go in the first quarter against the Eagles that night and was shown on the sidelines eating Skittles, a relative phenomenon was born.
Lynch actually has eaten Skittles during games dating back to high school.
But the Eagles game marked the high point of a breakthrough for both Lynch and the Seahawks that year — his 148 yards remains the most he has ever had in a regular-season game with Seattle, and the win over Philly was part of a five-wins-in-six-games stretch after the Legion of Boom secondary came together at midseason. That helped set the stage for all that was to come throughout the rest of the decade.
Will there be a few more Skittles-worthy runs in the offing Sunday?
The first game
Seattle played every NFC team its first year in the league, which meant that the Seahawks fittingly made a trip to Philly in the Bicentennial year of 1976. Not that it went so well. The Seahawks lost 27-10, with the only highlight being a late touchdown pass from Jim Zorn to Steve Largent — the fourth of what would become 100 TD passes Largent would catch in his career. It was also the final start for Eagles QB Roman Gabriel, one of the more underrated QBs of his era.
The best game (Seattle version)
Maybe the highlight of the series from Seattle’s standpoint was a 42-0 win in Philly in 2005, part of what remains a team-record 11-game winning streak in a season that ended with the Seahawks in the Super Bowl for the first time. The Monday-night affair had been billed much of the year as a chance for Seattle to prove its worth against a team that had gone to the Super Bowl the year before. But Philly was reeling by the time the December game rolled around, with the Eagles in seeming chaos — Terrell Owens had been suspended, and Koy Detmer was the QB in place of the injured Donovan McNabb. Seattle used three defensive touchdowns — two by Andre Dyson and one by Lofa Tatupu — to roll to a 42-0 win despite gaining just 194 yards.
The best performance
Two years later, Seattle returned to Philly and put another defensive-fueled beating on the Eagles.
This time, it was basically a one-man show by Tatupu, who had two interceptions in the first quarter that led to Seattle touchdowns and three for the game. That tied him with four other players for the team single-game record, but remains a record for a linebacker.
Tatupu had 10 interceptions in his career — four in two games against the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Seattle has won the last five against the Eagles, all by eight points or more and four by 10 points or more.
That includes the 17-9 win against the Eagles in Philly on Nov. 24, when Seattle forced five turnovers, as well as the “Skittles’’ game that started it.
It also includes what was one of the key runs of the late 2014 run to another Super Bowl when Seattle held a 9-3 Eagles team to 139 yards (a game where Byron Maxwell played slot corner and did so well the Eagles ended up signing him to a huge deal the following offseason).
It also includes a 26-15 win in Seattle in 2016, when Russell Wilson did something he has never done before or since — caught a touchdown pass.
Wilson’s 15-yard reception from Doug Baldwin was also the only pass of Baldwin’s career, leaving him with a perfect rating of 158.3.