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SEATTLE — The Seahawks improved to 7-2-1 with one of the more complete performances of the season that saw them gain a season-high 439 yards on offense against a very good Philadelphia Eagles defense, while limiting the Eagles to 15 points and 308 yards of offense. Seattle’s 26-15 victory was also a rarity for the Seahawks this season in that the game didn’t go down to the wire. Seven of Seattle’s previous nine games, including the last five, have all been decided on the final possession of the game. In this game, the Seahawks used strong performances in all three phases to earn a lopsided victory that was the 100th regular-season win of Pete Carroll’s head-coaching career in the NFL.
Here are five rapid reactions to Seattle’s win:
1. Thomas Rawls & C.J. Prosise are an impressive duo.
Thomas Rawls returned from a fibula injury Sunday and looked a lot like the player he was in 2015 when he enjoyed a breakout rookie season that was cut short by an ankle injury. And it wasn’t just that Rawls rushed for 57 yards on 14 carries and added 31 receiving yards, it was how he did it: consistently seeking out contact in the second level and delivering big hits to Eagles defenders.
Rookie C.J. Prosise, meanwhile, rushed for 76 yards on just four careers, including a 72-yard touchdown that was the longest run by a Seahawk in CenturyLink Field history.
A week after the Seahawks showed some progress in the running game, gaining 96 yards on the ground, they finished with a season-best 152 rushing yards against the Eagles, including 114 in the first half alone.
2. Russell Wilson Wilson to Doug Baldwin, Doug Baldwin to Russell Wilson … It works either way.
Russell Wilson put together his third straight impressive game, completing 18 of 31 attempts for 272 yards and a touchdown. And once again, Doug Baldwin came up with a number of big catches, gaining 104 yards on four receptions. But in an unusual twist, Wilson was on the receiving end of a touchdown pass from Baldwin on a trick play that resulted in a 15-yard score. The play was Wilson’s first career touchdown reception as well as Baldwin’s first touchdown pass. It should also be noted that Baldwin helped provide a key block to spring Prosise’s long touchdown run, making Sunday’s game a very good all-around performance.
That play, as well as a number of scrambles for Wilson, served as a pretty good indication of the health of Wilson’s knee. In addition to rushing for 19 yards, Wilson also showed as good of mobility escaping pressure as he has all season, including when he found Jimmy Graham with a very impressive throw across his body that Graham turned into a 35-yard score.
3. The defense was impressive once again.
While the Seahawks will be unhappy with allowing a late touchdown to the Eagles, the defense overall turned in another very solid performance, allowing only two Eagles scoring drives, both of them touchdowns, and holding the Eagles to an average of just 4.2 yards per play.
The Seahawks again won the turnover battle thanks to two interceptions, one by Richard Sherman and another by Kam Chancellor. Bobby Wagner had 15 tackles and a sack, and is now over 100 tackles for the fifth-straight season. Cliff Avril also added his 10th sack of the season and four quarterback hits.
And after a few uncharacteristically bad weeks on third-down, Seattle held the Eagles to a 6-for-16 (38 percent) conversion rate.
4. Special teams came up big.
The Eagles have been one of the league’s best teams on special teams this season, but the Seahawks more than held their own in that phase of the game. Tyler Lockett helped set up a field goal with a 19-yard punt return; Jon Ryan had a big day, averaging 46.5 yards on six punts, three of which were downed inside the 20, including one that was downed at the 2-yard line; and the Seahawks held the Eagles to 15 yards on two punt returns. And as strong as the Eagles are in the return game, it shouldn’t be overlooked that Steven Hauschka kicked all six kickoffs deep enough to force touchbacks.
It wasn’t quite a perfect day for the Seahawks on special teams, however, as they missed one field goal and had an extra point blocked, which was the 11th missed or blocked extra point of the day in the NFL, a record in the Super Bowl era. But overall, the Seahawks did a lot of good things against an Eagles team that plays very well on special teams.
5. Injuries took their toll for both teams.
One negative on what was otherwise a good day for the Seahawks was the number of injuries that knocked players out of the game. Cornerback DeShawn Shead left the game early with a hamstring injury and did not return, leading to the first defensive snaps of the season for Neiko Thorpe, who played when the Seahawks were in their nickel defense. The Seahawks lost All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas to a hamstring injury in the third quarter, the first time in his career that Thomas has missed time due to an injury. Steven Terrell took over for Thomas at free safety. Prosise got off to a spectacular start, but he too was unable to finish the game because of a shoulder injury. Receiver Tanner McEvoy (toe) and running back Troymaine Pope (ankle) also left the game early with injuries.
Left tackle George Fant (shoulder) and linebacker Brock Coyle (foot) also left the game with injuries but were able to return to action. Fant’s injury meant a bit of playing time for rookie Rees Odhiambo at left tackle.
And it wasn’t just the Seahawks dealing with injuries. The Eagles had several players leave the game early, including their top two running backs, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles.