Here are three early impressions from the Seahawks’ 17-9 victory at Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon. The Seahawks, now 9-2, remain undefeated on the road this season and pull within a half game of San Francisco atop the NFC West, with the 49ers set to host Green Bay on Sunday night.
How about this defense?
What a turnaround for this Seahawks defense over the past two games.
In their the past eight quarters — including overtime in San Francisco — the Seahawks have allowed just 15 points. (That does not include the 49ers’ fumble-return touchdown in the fourth quarter two weeks ago, but does include the meaningless touchdown the Eagles scored in the final 20 seconds Sunday.)
The Seahawks held the Eagles to one field goal and forced five turnovers. The most impressive part of all that is they did it without defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who was unable to play for Sunday because of a hip/core muscle injury.
The Seahawks then lost starting defensive tackle Jarran Reed late in the first half to an ankle injury.
Without them, Seattle relied heavily on Ziggy Ansah and Shaquem Griffin, and both delivered perhaps their best performance in a Seahawks uniform.
Ansah was credited with 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Griffin was again a factor in the pass rush, with one forced fumble and one pass defended.
Bradley McDougald intercepted Carson Wentz in the first half, and Tre Flowers capped his solid day with a diving interception late.
It was an odd day overall for the Seahawks offense — more on that in a moment — but what a day for Rashaad Penny.
The second-year running back out of San Diego State had a career-long run of 58 yards early in the fourth quarter, bursting into the end zone after taking a hit at the 15-yard line and giving the Seahawks some much-needed breathing room at 17-3.
Penny finished with 14 carries for 129 yards, the most by any Seattle running back this season.
He stepped up during another shaky day for Chris Carson, who was involved in two fumbles on back-to-back plays in the second half. The Seahawks recovered the first fumble, but the botched exchange between Russell Wilson and Carson on the next snap resulted in a turnover.
It seemed telling that the Seahawks turned to Penny late when trying to run out the clock, with Carson watching from the sideline. Could this mean more time for Penny going forward?
Philly fans rained down boos as the Eagles jogged off the field at halftime, their team trailing 10-3. The Seahawks had reason to feel just as frustrated — and feel like they should have been leading 21-3 instead.
Funny that Wilson was able to with Malik Turner on an impressive trick-play touchdown in the first quarter — with Turner making a sensational over-the-shoulder catch from 33 yards for his first career TD grab.
That had to be the most improbable throw of the day from Wilson.
And yet, the Seahawks’ veteran QB missed a wide-open Jacob Hollister later in the first half for what should have been Wilson’s easiest touchdown throw of the season. Instead, he sailed the throw several yards over Hollister’s head.
Later, Wilson made a good-enough throw to rookie DK Metcalf on a deep pass to the goal line. Metcalf made a valiant effort to try haul in the pass, but couldn’t come up with the catch — another wasted opportunity.
It was an unusually off day from Wilson, who completed just 13 of 25 passes for 200 yards with one touchdown and one interception.