PHILADELPHIA — So what’s more impressive — that Seattle is 9-2 overall, among the four best starts in team history, or 6-0 on the road, matching the most road victories in a season?
“I don’t know what it means in the big world of anything,” said coach Pete Carroll of the numerous historical accolades raining down on his team, which also included Russell Wilson becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to start his career with eight consecutive winning seasons. The Seahawks were assured of a winning mark when they beat the Eagles 17-9 Sunday.
“We’ve got a long ways to go,” Carroll said. “It’s all out there for us.”
That was no empty boast after this game, in which the Seahawks went into the house of a team that won the Super Bowl just two seasons ago and pretty much held control from start to finish, averaging 6.1 yards per play while holding Philadelphia to 4.8, the second fewest for a Seattle opponent this season.
Seattle also is now 4-0 in dreaded 10 a.m. starts, with one more remaining in two weeks at Carolina.
On to the grades.
This was another game when the biggest difference might have been the quarterbacks’ play.
While Carson Wentz had four turnovers of his own for the Eagles, Russell Wilson had just one and made a number of plays that helped Seattle win it. There was one interception, just his third of the season, but it was at least made out of aggression, trying to hit David Moore deep on a third-and-25 play. True, Wilson missed a wide-open Jacob Hollister in the end zone in the second quarter, but this was a tough day to throw and the bigger picture was that Seattle had the far better quarterback on its side.
Penny, Penny, Penny!
Rashaad Penny, on the field for just three plays against the 49ers, saw more action Sunday and had a 26-yard run in the second quarter that set up a field goal that put Seattle ahead 10-3 and then had a 58-yard touchdown in the third quarter that broke the game open on the way to a career-high 129 yards on 14 carries
Chris Carson had two fumbles, though the one that he appeared to lose was charged to Wilson. Still, it was another day when you have to wonder a little about Carson and his fumbles, which makes the ascension of Penny that much more potentially meaningful.
DK Metcalf, for all of his wondrous play as a rookie, showed some of his youth on this day with what could charitably be called at least two drops — one on a sure touchdown at the end of the first half and another early in the third quarter.
The latter catch might have been a tough one, but it’s also the type of catch Doug Baldwin might have made back in the day.
But big kudos to Malik Turner for the early flea-flicker touchdown, which as Carroll said was a tougher catch than it looked like it might be when the play first began to develop. And Tyler Lockett shook off the cobwebs of his two nights in the hospital and limited practice week with a 38-yard in-traffic catch in the fourth quarter.
Seattle had to play without Luke Willson, out with a hamstring injury. But Jacob Hollister filled in well with two catches for 22 yards and had the onside kick recovery at the end.
Seattle officially gave up a season-high six sacks. But two of them were on plays of zero yards and came against a really good defensive front. Seattle also churned out 174 yards rushing, a season high, against a defense that came into the game ranked fourth in the NFL in fewest rushing yards allowed at 86.0.
No Jadeveon Clowney?
No problem — even if the Seahawks would never say they don’t want to play without Clowney.
On this day, Seattle made do as Rasheem Green was the other starting defensive end with Clowney out and had some big plays, including a sack, forced fumble and two quarterback hits. And this was the best game yet for Ziggy Ansah, who had 1½ sacks. He had just one sack for the season coming into the game.
Shaquem Griffin was again used regularly as a pass rusher in obvious passing situations, and this time he piled up some impressive stats to illustrate his impact on the field — one tackle and two quarterback hits. K.J. Wright had another solid game with a team-high 12 tackles and Mychal Kendricks made a triumphant return to Philly with 11 tackles.
Interceptions by Bradley McDougald and Tre Flowers spoke loudly on a day when the Seahawks allowed just 238 net yards passing (sure, it helped that the Eagles were severely short-handed at receiver, but you have to play who you line up against).
In something of a surprise, Akeem King played the nickel spot and it seemed to go well. There was a thought that Ugo Amadi would play the nickel but King got the call on this day, maybe as a better matchup against the Eagles’ tough tight ends.
Michael Dickson’s day got off to a rough start — a 27-yard punt into the wind following Seattle’s first offensive possession that helped set up the Eagles’ first field goal. But he rebounded nicely from there to pin five of his next six punts inside the 20. Travis Homer handled the kickoff returns (one for 29) and David Moore the punts (three for 20) with the team limiting Lockett’s use somewhat.