PHILADELPHIA — It’ll be tempting for many nationally to say Seattle just won a battle of attrition, the Eagles losing quarterback Carson Wentz early in the game, which is the type of loss that’s impossible to overcome this time of year.
But as they did so often in the regular season, the Seahawks took advantage of their good fortune and Seattle appeared to have taken some control before Wentz was hurt.
While this was hardly an artful game — it’ll also be colored nationally as the worst of the four games on an otherwise truly wild wild-card weekend — it got the job done for Seattle.
It might not be the kind of performance that will get the job done going forward, though.
The Seahawks will need more out of their running game, and some of the overall sloppiness (the delay penalties and/or having to call a timeout, which coach Pete Carroll said were due in part to issues with the headsets) won’t be easily overcome in the future.
But those are matters for another day during a time of year when having another day is all that matters.
Russell Wilson was far better than his numbers might indicate — and the numbers were pretty darn good (18 of 30, 325 yards passing and a team-high 45 rushing). But this was a classic Wilson performance as he was fully in control throughout, never putting Seattle at risk and making the big play every time it was there. And with the stakes at their highest, he used his mobility as aggressively as he has all season.
Statistically, not much here with 19 yards on 17 carries.
But Marshawn Lynch got 5 yards that really mattered on his touchdown and also had a 20-yard reception on third down, both plays that seemed to set a real tone when the game was still in doubt.
Travis Homer again got the start but Lynch came in on the second possession and the two appeared to mostly split time from there.
DK Metcalf has been good much of the season, maybe surprisingly so to those teams that allowed him to slip to the last choice in the second round of the draft. No one will doubt him anymore after a franchise-record 160 receiving yards in a playoff game.
Tyler Lockett turned in one incredible catch on his way to 62 yards. And David Moore had one of the game’s key plays with a 38-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter to set up Lynch’s touchdown.
A tough day statistically — Jacob Hollister had two false starts and two catches for 16 yards. Neither of the other tight ends had a target.
Given that Seattle was starting a new left side of the line with George Fant at left tackle and Jamarco Jones at left guard, and going against some really good players — notably, Eagles tackle Fletcher Cox — some rough moments were to be expected.
The rushing yards show the Seattle line struggled to get much push a lot of the time, and there were a couple of untimely penalties.
Fant, though, seemed to have one of his better games, and Wilson was sacked only once and got the time he needed when it mattered most.
Jadeveon Clowney played his best game in two months, which was a big reason Seattle had a season-high seven sacks. And yes, there will be lots of discussion of his hit on Carson Wentz. We’ll see what the league says when it comes time to levy fines later in the week.
But the play was indicative of how Clowney was as active as he has been since suffering a core muscle injury against the 49ers on Nov. 11.
Quinton Jefferson quietly had a big day with two sacks while Rasheem Green had one at a most pivotal time, when the Eagles had a first down at the 13 with 3:56 left. The coverage helped on some of those, too, but the line made the plays that were there to be made most of the day.
Rookie Cody Barton got the start at strongside linebacker for Mychal Kendricks, who led Seattle with 13 tackles in the victory over the Eagles on Nov. 24, and responded with five tackles, a sack and two passes defensed. Bobby Wagner had seven tackles, one in the open field on third down to make the Eagles settle for a field goal.
Tre Flowers had a tough day with the two pass-interference penalties. But this was a pretty good day otherwise.
Carroll cited the coverage as key to the final fourth-down stop as well as a few of the third-down stops when the Eagles got close.
It seemed to help greatly that Quandre Diggs was back at free safety and Bradley McDougald responded with a team-high 11 tackles, including a sack. Ugo Amadi also had a nice day as the nickel and also worked at times in dime packages when he came in with Marquise Blair.
Jason Myers had a 35-yard field goal blocked on the second possession of the game. It appeared as if the Eagles got some penetration through rookie Phil Haynes, seeing his first career action, and Germain Ifedi.
Moore again handled punt returns with the team saving Lockett from that duty. An early fair catch turned into a break for Seattle when Moore was tackled anyway, resulting in a 15-yard penalty on the Eagles.
Michael Dickson’s 44-yard punt pinned the Eagles back at their 7 midway through the second quarter, one of two he downed inside the 20.