Three immediate impressions from the Seahawks’ 23-17 victory over the Eagles on Monday night in Philadelphia:
That first-place feeling
Sure, the Seahawks made it more difficult on themselves that they needed to on Monday night … and, well, what’s new, right? But of course they’ll take a win in November on the road in any manner they can. This one is especially significant, because, at 8-3 the Seahawks move into sole possession of first place in the NFC West — thanks, also, in part to the 49ers’ upset of the Rams on Sunday — and vaults them up to the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoff picture, a game back of New Orleans.
The Seahawks improved to 27-10 all-time in Monday night games, the best winning percentage (.730) in NFL history. Quarterback Russell Wilson, a day after his 32nd birthday, improved to 10-2 on Monday night, and his 30-8-1 record in prime-time games is the best mark in NFL history.
From here, the Seahawks have the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL, with games against the Giants, Jets and the Team from Washington, D.C., over the next three weeks. In other words, the Seahawks have a prime chance to get mighty comfortable with that first-place feeling.
DK hits 1,000
Wilson had a solid but unspectacular night, going 22-for-31 for 230 yards with one touchdown and a 102.9 QB rating. Many of his throws went to DK Metcalf — sorry, the One and Only DK Metcalf — who had another sensational performance in the prime-time spotlight.
Metcalf abused Eagles veteran cornerback Darius Slay to the tune of 10 catches for a career-high 177 yards. That total could have been even higher if Metcalf hadn’t dropped a catchable pass in the left side of the end zone in the fourth quarter. No matter. Metcalf has surpassed 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, making him the fastest (11 games) receiver in Seahawks history to reach the 1,000-yard mark. The previous mark was 13 games (1979, 1985 Steve Largent and 2004 Darrell Jackson).
Metcalf’s 1,039 receiving yards are the most in the NFL this season.
He continued to shine in Philadelphia. He had nine catches for 160 yards and one touchdown during the Seahawks’ playoff victory in January — an NFL record for receiving yards by a rookie. It was clear early Monday night that the Eagles wanted to be physical with Metcalf, and almost immediately Metcalf began to mix it up with Slay, who shadowed (or tried to shadow) Metcalf on just about every snap, and midway through the Seahawks’ first drive the two got into it after the snap — some pushing and shoving, and then a personal-foul penalty on Slay. On the next play, Philly’s Malik Jackson was then assessed a personal-foul penalty for a blatant late hit from behind on Metcalf.
Jamal Adams, unleashed
This is the Jamal Adams the Seahawks traded so much to get.
Adams, slowed by groin and shoulder injuries throughout the season, had a game-high nine tackles, with one sack, two QB hits and one tackle for loss. He has a team-leading 6.5 sacks, and he was all over the field Monday night. More important, his continued emergence has coincided with the improved performances from the Seattle defense overall.
The Seahawks, who struggled so much to pressure opposing QBs early in the season, had six sacks of Carson Wentz on Monday night. Poona Ford had three QB hits with a sack, and Carlos Dunlap was credit with a half-sack. That’s notable because the Seahawks have been a different team since they acquired Dunlap from Cincinnati — he has four sacks in three games for the Seahawks, and his presence off the edge is opening lanes for teammates to pressure the QB. The new-look pass rush is for real.
The Eagles’ late Hail Mary touchdown takes away some of the shine from the Seahawks’ defensive performance. Seattle was particularly sharp early on, forcing the Eagles to punt on their first five possessions and holding them to four total yards on their first 15 plays.