Seahawks shut down soaring Eagles
SEATTLE — “Don’t sleep on us.”
That was what Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright said last week as his underdog team prepared to face the high-flying Philadelphia Eagles, who came to Seattle as the NFL’s only 10-win team.
The Seahawks, who lost their previous two games at CenturyLink Field, certainly were awake Sunday night. Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes, and Wright and the Seattle defense held the league’s No. 1 offense to a season low in points as the Seahawks won 24-10.
The Seahawks (8-4) ended the Eagles’ winning streak at nine games and put themselves back into playoff position, thanks to the Atlanta Falcons’ loss to the Minnesota Vikings earlier in the day. The Eagles (10-2) dropped into a dead heat with the Vikings (10-2) for the top seed in the NFC.
“We still control our destiny,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “We’re still 10-2. We’re still one of the best football teams in the NFL. We have to realize down the stretch we’re going to get everybody’s best shot.”
In the NFC West race, the Seahawks remain a game behind the Los Angeles Rams (9-3), who beat the Arizona Cardinals earlier Sunday. The Seahawks host the Rams in Week 15.
Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner reiterated Wright’s pregame statement: “I felt like everybody was sleeping on us and nobody expected us to win this game. But we expected to win this game. This is not a surprise to us.”
Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham said, “They were the better team today. Seattle went out there and played their butt off, and all credit goes to them.”
The Seahawks improved to 20-5 in December since Wilson became the quarterback in 2012.
“It’s December. It’s time to be great,” Wilson said. “Tonight was pretty special. We played lights out. You can’t play much better than we did tonight.”
Wilson outdueled Carson Wentz, who led the NFL with 28 touchdown passes but had his streak of games with multiple touchdown passes stopped at seven. Wentz completed 29 of 45 throws for 348 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Wilson hit 20 of 31 for 227 yards and threw scoring passes to tight end Jimmy Graham, wide receiver Tyler Lockett and running back J.D. McKissic.
The Seattle defense came up big against Wentz in the third. With 9:39 left in the quarter, Sheldon Richardson stripped the ball from Wentz’s grasp at the 1-yard line as the quarterback tried to score on a run from the 6. The ball bounced out of the back of the end zone, resulting in a touchback.
“That was an amazing play in this game,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “To knock that football out was an incredible play. It was the turning point in this game.”
The Seahawks then drove 80 yards, with Lockett’s 1-yard score putting Seattle up 17-3 with 5:42 to play in the quarter. The score was set up by a 47-yard pass to Doug Baldwin to the 1 — it was called a touchdown but reversed on review.
Wilson checked to the play after he recognized the Eagles set up for a blitz.
The Eagles finally put together a touchdown drive, with Wentz throwing a 27-yard pass to Nelson Agholor to cut the deficit to 17-10 with 12:08 to play.
However, Wilson answered with a 73-yard drive that ended with a 15-yard scoring pass to McKissic.
Agholor finished with seven catches for 141 yards.
The first half was a tale of two quarters, with Seattle dominating the first and Philadelphia owning the ball for most of the second. However, the Eagles’ offense was held without a first-half touchdown for just the second time this season.
The Seahawks flipped the script in the first quarter. The Eagles had owned the period better than any team, leading the NFL with 78 points and allowing just 18. Even so, the Seahawks jumped to a 10-0 lead behind Wilson and a stout defense that clearly took the challenge of facing the league’s top offense to heart.
Seattle struck first with a 46-yard field goal by Blair Walsh with 9:47 left in the quarter.
The Seahawks then put together a five-play, 85-yard drive on their third possession, scoring with 10 seconds left in the quarter. Graham recorded his NFL-leading ninth red-zone touchdown, on an 11-yard catch against safety Malcolm Jenkins at the front left pylon. It was the first first-quarter touchdown allowed by the Eagles this season.
“Jimmy Graham is better than ever,” Wilson said. “He made a great back-shoulder catch. He’s a TD machine.”
Philadelphia got its running game going in the second quarter, gaining 69 yards on 14 carries. However, the Eagles got just three points out of it, on a 26-yard field goal by Jake Elliott.
NOTES: Eagles TE Zach Ertz left in the third quarter with a possible concussion. ... Among Seattle’s inactives were DT Nazair Jones (ankle) and DE Dion Jordan (neck). Jones tweaked his ankle in practice Thursday. Jordan missed his second straight game. ... LB Joe Walker (neck) was inactive for the Eagles after sustaining a stinger in Week 12. Recently signed Dannell Ellerbe became the Eagles’ third starting middle linebacker of the season. ... The Eagles signed WR Alshon Jeffery to a four-year, $52 million extension on Saturday. Jeffery, in his first year with the Eagles, came into the game with 43 catches for 619 yards and seven touchdowns. He had four catches for 61 yards Sunday night. ... Eagles QB Carson Wentz led all NFL players in Pro Bowl voting through last week. The Pro Bowl rosters will be announced Dec. 19.