PHILADELPHIA — The Seahawks’ first postseason game was just like the game everyone saw at Philadelphia in the regular season.
So much so that they came to Philadelphia and won by the same score as they had Nov. 24 — 17-9 — in a wild-card playoff game Sunday.
It made the Seahawks 8-1 away from Seattle this season, continuing a road warrior mentality the team long ago embraced, and again featured the Seahawks saving their best moments for when the going seemed the hardest.
Seattle gained 382 yards for the game, with 181 of them coming on third-down plays, and a whopping 135 coming on five conversions of third-and-10 or longer.
And while Seattle let the Eagles drive to its 28 or deeper on five of their final six possessions of the game, Philadelphia could manage just three field goals. Twice, the Eagles were stopped on fourth down from the 10 or closer and were held to just 3 of 11 on third-down plays overall.
“The whole football game really was the third downs,’’ said Seattle coach Pete Carroll.
Well that, and a record-breaking game by receiver DK Metcalf, who set a team record for receiving yards in a playoff game with 160, which is an NFL record for a rookie in a playoff game.
And, well, another fabulous night by Russell Wilson — 18 for 30 for 325 yards and a team-high 45 yards rushing.
And, well, a controversial hit by Jadeveon Clowney that knocked Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz out of the game following the second series.
“They didn’t call it, so obviously they didn’t think it was a penalty,’’ said Eagles coach Doug Pederson.
Backup Josh McCown, a 40-year-old who was making his first appearance in the postseason, performed creditably. But Eagles fans will obviously wonder what might have been.
No matter for the Seahawks, who preferred to focus on the fact the hit on Wentz came on one of a season-high seven sacks for Seattle on a day when the Seahawks didn’t allow a touchdown for the first time all season.
“If we play like that — the D-line getting after it, the defensive backs staying on top, tackling really well — we can win the rest of these games,’’ said veteran linebacker K.J. Wright. “It’s just one game at a time but we are capable of doing it, and I know that we can do it, and so we’ve got to make it happen.’’
The tests get only harder now, though, as the Seahawks advance to play at Green Bay next Sunday in a divisional playoff game.
But having been almost perfect on the road this season, Seattle might be better off heading to Lambeau Field.
“There’s a real confidence about us,’’ Carroll said. “We don’t care where we are playing.’’
Asked if the team is more comfortable on the road, Wright laughed, knowing Seattle likely has to win three in a row away from home to get to the Super Bowl.
“We have no choice but to be comfortable on the road,’’ he said.
Seattle looked comfortable from the start, imposing its physical will even before Wentz went out — the Seahawks outgained the Eagles 94-28 in the first quarter when Wentz was playing.
The game turned in the late second and early third quarters when Seattle scored touchdowns on consecutive drives, using a formula of Metcalf, Marshawn Lynch and third-down conversions.
Seattle moved 82 yards in nine plays on its final drive of the first half, the key plays a 26-yard pass to Metcalf on third-and-four and then a 38-yarder to David Moore on third-and-10.
That led to a 5-yard touchdown run by Lynch to help make it 10-3 at the half.
“That was a huge, huge momentum swing,’’ Wilson said.
After the Eagles got a field goal on their first drive of the second half — stopped at the 6 after reaching the 5 — Seattle drove 81 yards in five plays to take a 17-6 lead with 8:46 to play in the third quarter.
Two plays were critical — a 20-yard play-action pass to Lynch on third-and-one in which Lynch stiff-armed Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox along the way; and then a 53-yard pass to Metcalf for the score two plays later. Metcalf ran past Maddox at the line and had to reach to catch the pass, then after falling he got up and stiff-armed Maddox while running into the end zone.
“That was just like knockout shots for us,’’ Carroll said. “The game was too young to knock them out but it felt like those were really extraordinary plays for us and made a big difference.’’
The Eagles got to the 24 with 6:24 left after cutting the lead to 17-9, but were stopped on a fourth-and-four when running back Miles Sanders dropped a pass that would have been a first down.
Then the Eagles were stopped on a fourth-and-seven at the 10 with two minutes left on a sack by Clowney.
“There was a little bit of tackling issues at times, but in those crucial situations guys came through and got the guy down,’’ Carroll said.
There was one last fitting highlight, Wilson dropping into his own end zone and hitting Metcalf for a 36-yard pass to convert a third-and-10, thus allowing Seattle to run out the clock.
Wilson noted later the Eagles “are aggressive on defense,’’ meaning they expected a lot of man coverage, “so we knew that we had to find ways to make plays.’’
As they did so often this season, they did enough to move on.
They won’t be favored in Green Bay, and the 13-3 Packers didn’t stumble into the playoffs through a weak division the way the Eagles did.
But when the Seahawks hit Lambeau Field next week to a chorus of boos, as they did Sunday at Philly, they will feel right at home.
“I think especially being able to play away, it makes us closer,’’ said receiver Tyler Lockett. “It makes us feel we have nothing to lose; everybody is already against us. They’re talking all this type of crazy stuff about us, the fans or whatever. And we stick together. We stay close.’’
On this day, they also stayed alive, advancing to the divisional round for the seventh time under Carroll, and winning for the third time on the road in the postseason — Seattle had just one playoff road victory before he became coach in 2010.
“I’m pretty confident about going,’’ Carroll said, before stopping and maybe thinking better of what he was about to say.
“I know we’re going to Green Bay,’’ he continued. “We’re looking forward to getting organized and doing that. … We’re just fired up to have another chance to keep playing football and keep pushing it and see how far we can go.’’