PHILADELPHIA — Green Bay, here we come.
The Seahawks won a classic it-wasn’t-pretty-but-we’ll-take-it playoff game Sunday evening, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 17-9 at Lincoln Financial Field for their first playoff victory since beating Detroit on Jan. 7, 2017.
For the Seahawks (12-5), the victory sets up a trip to Green Bay next Sunday night for a divisional-round game at Lambeau Field.
Three instant impressions from Sunday’s victory:
Run it up, Russ
The difference in the game was — yep, you guessed it — Russell Carrington Wilson.
The Seahawks can never make it easy on themselves, can they? They should have closed the door much earlier in this game, especially against an Eagles team that lost its starting QB in the first quarter.
But the Seahawks do have an easy-button answer in Wilson — always Wilson. His mobility and improvisational ability gave the Philadelphia defense fits all day.
Wilson finished 18-for-30 for 325 yards and one touchdown — a brilliant 53-yard pass to DK Metcalf in the third quarter.
Wilson’s best play might have been his quick sidearm toss to David Moore on third-and-10 late in the first half. Wilson sidestepped pressure before releasing the ball, and Moore caught it running across the field, then broke a tackle to gain 38 yards.
That set up Marshawn Lynch’s 5-yard TD run that gave the Seahawks a 10-3 halftime lead.
On when the Seahawks’ ground game was otherwise flattened, Wilson picked up several key first downs with his legs, gaining 45 yards on nine carries, with a long of 22.
The Seahawks’ other running backs, Lynch and Travis Homer, had 19 net yards on 15 carries.
We saw it last week against the 49ers, and we’re seeing it again from Wilson: In the big games, he is willing to take more chances with his feet, and this Seahawks team will only go as far as Wilson takes them this postseason.
Welcome to the party, Rook
When the Seahawks were here six weeks ago, DK Metcalf dropped a would-be touchdown from Russell Wilson (sure, it would have been a tough catch, but one an NFL receiver can be expected to make).
He made up for it early in the third quarter.
On play-action, Russell Wilson lofted a deep pass for Metcalf, who stretched out to make the catch, tumbled to the ground, popped back to his feet and dived through the tackle of Avonte Maddox and into the end zone.
It was a 53-yard touchdown, and it was as impressive as anything Metcalf has done during his tremendous rookie season.
The 6-foot-4, 229-pound had 58 receptions for 900 yards and seven TDs during the regular season, and he’s added six catches for 124 yards through three quarters in his first playoff game.
Metcalf added a 36-yard reception on the final play of the game — another third-and-10 conversion for the Seahawks — when Wilson floated a moon ball high toward midfield.
After the catch, Metcalf got up and waved goodbye to the Eagles crowd, which then started a mass exodus out of Lincoln Financial Field.
Metcalf finished with 160 yards receiving — the most ever by a rookie in an NFL playoff game and a franchise record for a receiver.
Eagles hang tough without Wentz
Josh McCown, the Eagles’ 40-year-old journeyman backup QB, had never played in an NFL playoff game.
He nearly knocked off the Seahawks.
After Wentz left with a concussion in the first quarter — the result of a helmet-to-helmet blow by Jadeveon Clowney — McCown stepped in and kept the Eagles in it.
McCown was 18-for-24 for 174 yards — no touchdowns but also no turnovers — and his scrambling ability helped extend plays.
Twice late in the fourth quarter, the Eagles faced fourth down deep in Seattle territory.
Twice the Seahawks escaped.
On the first, Eagles running back Miles Sanders dropped a low pass from McCown in the flat.
Then, on the Eagles’ last possession, McCown was sacked by Clowney and Jarran Reed.
The Seahawks officially were credited with seven sacks — several of them coming on McCown scrambles — with Quinton Jefferson credited with two sacks.
Bradley McDougald is playing perhaps his best game of the season — five tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss so far — but it’s the presence of Jadeveon Clowney that is the true difference-maker for this Seahawks defense.
You saw it in the first game against the 49ers, when Clowney played maybe the best game of his career. He did, of course, injure his groin/core in that game, and hasn’t been the same since.
But you could sense how badly Clowney wanted this game, and he again was a force in the backfield.