It’s rare to talk about the Russell Wilson-era Seattle Seahawks getting an upset win at home, but that’s what happened on Sunday night, as they toppled the Philadelphia Eagles 24-10 in front of just over 69,000 fans at CenturyLink Field. That was the type of win that makes you believe that the Seahawks, as decimated as they’ve been all season, can still make a spirited playoff run (assuming they get there, of course!). Philadelphia is the most balanced team in the NFL and entered Seattle as the #1 team in weighted DVOA, and the Seahawks straight-up outplayed them. It was glorious to watch in ways that most of Seattle’s wins this season have not been.
This normally is published the day after the Seahawks play, but Enemy Reaction took main priority on Monday. Let’s get into the winners and losers from Sunday night, and I really struggled to think of any losers for the Seahawks.
I’ve given Richard plenty of stick in the past, especially with this team’s frustrating inability to get off the field on 3rd and 10+, and while that reared its ugly head twice in the final quarter, Richard called an otherwise masterful game. This was a masterclass in bending but not breaking. All but two of Philadelphia’s ten possessions reached Seattle territory, and yet they were held to 10 points. He found creative ways to generate pressure on Carson Wentz, called timely blitzes, and the run defense really stiffened up in the 2nd half. It’s a major credit to him for his gameplan given all of the injuries on that side of the roster.
He outcoached Jim Schwartz for the second season in a row. I said Seattle needed to have a good start in order to beat the Eagles, and the offense responded with two scores in three possessions and a 10-0 lead. While there were few explosive plays for the Seahawks, the offense never looked out of sorts, and receiving targets got open on well-designed route combinations (such as the dagger touchdown to JD McKissic).
McDougald must be re-signed. I liked Kelcie McCray as Kam Chancellor’s backup, but McDougald was excellent on Sunday. He had a couple of nice stops in run support, and really shined in pass coverage, where Chancellor has been known to have some struggles even in his best years. You cannot help but grin from ear-to-ear looking at how well McDougald has performed in an increased capacity.
In the two games since I called him out for being a non-factor against Washington, Arizona, and Atlanta, Clark has returned to top form. Two sacks of Carson Wentz brought his season total up to 7, and he’s got a chance to finish the year with a double-digit sack total for the second year running. Turns out releasing Dwight Freeney was a good idea, because Clark is far more comfortable on the right side than he is elsewhere.
I don’t actually think Maxwell had a particularly good game, but he did have some bright moments, particularly his open field tackling, and then to piss off bitter Eagles fans, he got the game-sealing interception. He’s mostly a winner because of the pick, because he was effectively responsible for the only touchdown drive of the night for Philadelphia.
The forced fumble of Wentz at the goal line was essentially the biggest play of the game, and it’s yet another clutch moment by #91. This offseason is going to be mighty interesting with regards to re-signing Sheldon, because he’s been as good as advertised. My only knock on Richardson is his occasional hiccups defending the run (i.e getting too far upfield and out of the play), but the positives outweigh the negatives.
He’s Bobby Wagner.
I can only recall Griffin allowing two catches all night long, and I believe he was defending Alshon Jeffery for most of the game. That game probably looks a hell of a lot different if Jeremy Lane was starting and not Griffin, who played very well. My one complaint? For the second time in a month he got caught giving up on a play after a receiver caught a pass on the ground. It’s not college anymore, Griffin!
For once, Seattle’s leading rusher wasn’t the quarterback. Mike Davis ran for 64 yards on 16 carries, of which 22 came on this absolutely filthy triple-cut scamper. and he also had 4 catches for 37 yards. If you’re keeping score, that’s 101 yards of total offense from a real-life Seahawks running back. Davis should be the unquestioned lead guy for as long as he’s healthy, or until Chris Carson (possibly) returns. Either way, Davis has been a worthwhile addition to Seattle’s offense.
Speaking of worthwhile additions, Nick Vannett has slowly developed into not just a blocking TE, but a formidable receiving threat. I remember the praise for him coming out of college was that he was a very good route runner, and over the last two weeks he’s shown not just his route-running abilities, but his ability to help out Russell Wilson on scramble drills. If he can be Zach Miller 2.0, then that opens (or re-opens) a new doorway for the Seahawks offense to explore.
He got his first touchdown of the season, first and foremost thanks to the Doug Baldwin touchdown being overturned. Great to see Tyler back in the end zone.
The last time Russell Wilson was on national TV, he threw an interception on his second pass attempt, lost a fumble for a touchdown in the next quarter, and his comeback efforts against the Atlanta Falcons fell short. Not really good for the MVP portfolio when you consider Atlanta’s defense is mediocre at best. Against the #3 defense in DVOA, Wilson was an efficient 20/31 for 227 yards, 31 yards rushing, 3 touchdowns, and most importantly zero turnovers. That looks great on an MVP portfolio! It’s not even one of his three best statistical outings of the season, but it sure was an efficient and excellent showing against the best defense he’s faced since the Rams.
I’m almost certain he gave up both sacks on Russell Wilson, and he looked like the worst offensive lineman on an otherwise fairly solid night against a dangerous Eagles defensive front.
Russell Wilson’s hard count
I don’t personally keep score, but I’m almost certain Wilson’s hard counts have led to Seattle false starting more often than the opposition going over the neutral zone. It happened again on Sunday, with Germain Ifedi getting his weekly penalty. You can tell I’m reaching for negatives here.
That shanked punt in the opening quarter set the Eagles up inside Seattle’s territory. Thankfully the defense put the clamps on the Philadelphia offense, so the bad punt went unpunished. Ryan has had a few weak-looking punts this season and it’s becoming a little bit of a concern.
Mychal Kendricks’ ankles
JD McKissic absolutely buries Mychal Kendricks here. Oh my pic.twitter.com/GXEbNgidb5— Ben Baldwin (@guga31bb) December 4, 2017
They will be missed.