PHILADELPHIA—The Seahawks are headed back to the divisional round of the playoffs, their seventh time in the past 10 seasons as one of the NFL's final eight teams standing.
It wasn't always pretty, and it definitely wasn't easy, but the Seahawks were able to escape Philadelphia with a 17-9 victory over the Eagles. Next up is a trip to Green Bay where the Seahawks will play the Packers on Sunday.
Here are five rapid reactions to a win that improved the Seahawks to 8-1 this season on the road:
1. Russell Wilson put on a show.
Sunday's game wasn't Wilson's best of the season, statistically speaking, but what he did to help lead a short-handed offense to victory was awfully impressive.
The Seahawks offensive line was missing left tackle Duane Brown, left guard Mike Iupati and center Justin Britt, who is on injured reserve. Seattle's top three running backs are also on IR, as is their top tight end, and two more receivers were out Sunday due to injuries.
But even with all of those players missing, Wilson was able to put together a big game against a very good Eagles defense, completing 18 of 30 for 325 and a touchdown with no interceptions, giving him a 108.3 passer rating. Fittingly, Wilson all but clinched the victory with a beautifully thrown deep pass to DK Metcalf for 36 yards to convert on third down late in the game.
Wilson also was Seattle's leading rusher, carrying nine times for 45 yards.
The aforementioned short-handed offensive line deserves credit as well, because while Wilson was pressured and had to make things happen with his legs at time, he was protected well enough to put up those numbers while only taking one sack.
2. The defense did its job despite some nervous moments.
As bad as the injuries were on offense for Seattle, the Eagles might have been even more banged up on offense, and that was before quarterback Carson Wentz left the game with a head injury. And as was the case when these teams met earlier this season, the Seahawks defense played very well against the Eagles, limiting Philadelphia to only three field goals.
While the Seahawks could get any takeaways this time around—they had five in the previous meeting, they did manage seven sacks, the last of which came from Jadeveon Clowney on fourth down to help clinch the victory.
That isn't to say it was an easy day for the defense. Veteran backup Josh McCown proved to be difficult to contain, and he twice drove the Seahawks deep into Seahawks territory late in the game, but on both occasions the Seahawks got fourth-down stops.
3. DK Metcalf's impressive rookie season carried over into the postseason.
During the regular season, DK Metcalf was one of the league's best rookies and one of Seattle's top playmakers, catching 58 passes for 900 yards and seven touchdowns. Turns out he was ready to be those things in the playoffs as well.
In a building where he failed to come up with catches on a couple of deep balls in Seattle's Week 12 win over the Eagles, Metcalf hauled in the game's biggest play, a 53-yard touchdown reception from Wilson that saw him extend fully to make the grab, fall to the ground, then have the presence of mind to pop to his feet before he could be touchdown down and run into the end zone.
Metcalf finished the game with a team high a team playoff-record 160 receiving yards on seven catches, and for good measure threw in a great downfield block on a 38-yard David Moore catch and run that set up a score.
4. Bradley McDougald had a great game.
A big storyline this week was the return of free safety Quandre Diggs, who had missed the previous two games with an ankle injury. But while it was certainly good for Seattle to have Diggs back on the field, it was strong safety Bradley McDougald who came up with some of the biggest plays of the game for the defense.
McDougald had a team-high 11 tackles, and a lot of those came at or near the line of scrimmage, including a sack and two tackles for loss, one of which blew up a screen for 5-yard loss on third down.
5. Marshawn Lynch is still very difficult to tackle.
While the Seahawks had a hard time getting the running game going on Sunday, Marshawn Lynch was still able to come with a big play, scoring the Seahawks' first touchdown on a 5-yard run that was vintage Beast Mode.
With the game tied 3-3 late in the second quarter despite the Seahawks dominating the game from a statistical standpoint, Lynch took a handoff from Wilson and ran through a hole created by a nice block from left tackle George Fant. Lynch then was hit by two defenders at the 2-yard line and looked to be stopped, but as Lynch has done so often in his career, the 33-year-old back kept his legs churning, powered forward, and with a little help from right guard D.J. Fluker, got himself into the end zone for his second touchdown in as many games since signing with Seattle in Week 17.