PHILADELPHIA—The Seahawks have said all season long that they don’t care when or where they’re playing, and they showed that once again on Sunday, beating the Philadelphia Eagles 17-9 to improve to 9-2 this season, and most impressively, to 6-0 on the road.
It’s the first time the Seahawks have been 6-0 on the road to start a season, and the six road wins matches the 2013 team for the most in a season. The Seahawks are also now 4-0 this year when traveling east and playing at 10 a.m. PT.
Here are six rapid reactions from the Seahawks’ fourth consecutive victory:
1. The defense was outstanding all game long.
The Seahawks defense played its best game of the season in Seattle’s Week 10 win at San Francisco, and that unit picked up right where it left off coming out of the bye.
After the Eagles scored a field goal off of a short field on their second possession of the game, the Seahawks shut them out until the final second of the game when the Eagles put together a touchdown drive in the final minutes.
A huge factor in the defense’s big day were a season-high five takeaways for a defense that now has three or more takeaways in four of its last five games.
2. A Clowney-less pass rush came up big.
The Seahawks played without defensive Jadeveon Clowney Sunday due to a hip injury, and that could have potentially been very bad news for the defense considering how good he has been this season. But even without Clowney, the pass-rush picked up where it left off against the 49ers, recording three sacks, all in the first half, and a fourth by Ziggy Ansah that forced a fumble, but was taken away by a defensive holding call. Ansah had his best game, recording 1.5 sacks, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble, and Rasheem Green also had a sack/forced fumble for one of Seattle’s five takeaways.
Shaquem Griffin continued to see a lot of playing time in his new pass-rush role and had two quarterback hits. He also helped blow up a play on which the Eagles fumbled a handoff exchange.
3. Rashaad Penny had a breakout game.
Opportunities have been hard to come by at times for Rashaad Penny, less because of anything he’s doing than because of how well Chris Carson has played over the past two seasons. But on Sunday, Penny saw his most significant playing time in several weeks, and the former first-round pick certainly took advantage.
After carrying just 14 times over the past five games, and being limited to three snaps against the 49ers in his last game, Penny had a career-best day against the Eagles. Penny, who came into the game with 167 rushing yards this season, had a career-high 129 yards on 14 carries Sunday, including a 58-yard score early in the fourth quarter that gave the Seahawks some much-needed breathing room in what had been a one-score game throughout.
4. A little razzle dazzle led to one big touchdown.
On an afternoon where both teams struggled to get going on offense, the Seahawks took an early lead thanks to a well-executed trick play. With a heavy package on the field that included George Fant as a tight end and only one receiver, Malik Turner, Russell Wilson tossed a pitch to Chris Carson, but instead of running it, Carson quickly tossed the ball back to Wilson, who threw a perfect strike to Turner for a 33-yard score.
The play was impressive for a few reasons, not the least of which was the protection that gave the play time to develop. Wilson’s throw, which was into a stiff wind, was also very impressive, and Turner’s catch in the back of the end zone wasn’t easy either.
5. Michael Dickson and Ugo Amadi are a good pair.
Michael Dickson’s first punt of the day wasn’t a very good one. He was punting into a stiff wind, but the 27-yard effort nonetheless gave the Eagles good field position that they turned into a field goal, their only score of the game. After that, however, Dickson was outstanding, pinning the Eagles inside the 20 on his next five punts—his last punt late in the fourth quarter bounced into end zone to keep him from making it six in a row.
That poor field position made things that much harder on the Eagles on a day where, as mentioned earlier, Seattle’s defense was playing very well.
Rookie defensive back Ugo Amadi, who has been outstanding on punt coverage all year, played a big role in Dickson’s big game, downing punts at the 1-yard line and 2-yard line, and getting down field quickly to force a fair catch at the 15-yard line.
6. Penalties were problematic.
While the Seahawks are going to be happy with a win on the road over a good team like Philadelphia, they’ll fly home knowing there are things they can still clean up, not the least of which were the penalties, many of which contributed to their offensive struggles. The Seahawks finished the game with a season-high 12 penalties for 90 yards, and while there are some they disagreed with, plenty more such as false starts and encroachment calls were very much in their control.