More from the game
The day that began with a bang for the Seattle Seahawks ended with a bust despite one of the most exciting plays in a 33-year history of the franchise.
The Seahawks defense swarmed Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb the first three series, forcing seven incompletions, and then … oh yeah, on the Seahawks' first play from scrimmage, Seneca Wallace hit Koren Robinson down the left sideline for a 90-yard touchdown.
It was the longest pass play in Seahawks' history and the sellout crowd of 68,055 figured it would be that kind of day.
And then it wasn't.
The rest of the afternoon belonged to McNabb and the Eagles, dominating both sides of the football on the way to a 26-7 victory.
"Well, it was a tough one," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. "The Philadelphia Eagles are a good football team. As has been the case the last few weeks, we had to play a near perfect offensive football game to take some of the pressure off our defense. And we dropped a couple of balls I felt we should have had."
In any case, McNabb went off from that point on.
An Insider Lookback
On the first three series, the Seahawks defense was all over McNabb as he misfired on his first seven passes. However, he completed 13-of-16 after that – which included the final 10 of the first half and the first three of the second half. He took over the game from that point on as he finished 28 of 43 for 349 yards and two touchdowns.
Offensive player of the game
Wide receiver Koren Robinson not only had the record-breaking 90-yard touchdown, but led the Seahawks with a season-high 4 receptions for 105 yards.
Defensive player of the game
Defensive end Darryl Tapp forced a fumble, had the Seahawks long sack of the day and finished 6 tackles at left defensive end in place of injured Patrick Kerney.
Special teams player of the game
Punter Jon Ryan continued to boom the ball and he had plenty of practice Sunday. With the exception of a 24-yard kick when he was trying to pin the Eagles from inside the 50, he was outrageous. One of his kicks was 61 yards, and he finished the day averaging 46.2 on 11 punts.
Seneca Wallace on the record-breaking 90-yard touchdown pass to Koren Robinson on the Seahawks first play from scrimmage Sunday.
"That was actually one of our second calls we were going with. We had a reverse set up on the first play of the game, but we had bad field position, so we didn't want to call that. We wanted to go at Sheldon Brown, I just got the ball to him and he did the rest. I felt the corner jumped him big time, and Koren ran by him. It was a single safety, and I just knew I had to get the ball to him. I knew it was going to be a big play, but I didn't think it was going to go for a 90-yard touchdown, which it did. He did a great job."
The former Pro Bowl quarterback completed 13 passes in a row at one point, finishing the day 28-of-43 for 349 yards and touchdown passes of 22-yards to Reggie Brown and a 1-yard to eligible lineman Todd Herremans. David Akers added four field goals for the Eagles in the second half, and they raised their record to 5-3. Backup tight end Brent Celek, playing in place of starter L.J. Smith, had a career day with a Philadelphia tight end record 131 yards on six receptions.
The Seahawks defense did an admirable job of corralling Pro Bowl running back Brian Westbrook, holding him to 61 yards rushing on 20 carries, but Darryl Tapp had the only sack and Deon Grant's interception in the end zone was the lone turnover. After that first touchdown and those first three defensive series, the defense was unable to slow McNabb. Once again, blitzes that fell short of getting to him too often resulted in getting beat in one-on-one coverage.
That took the partisan Seahawks crowd out of the game.
"It's a 4-quarter game and we know that," Seahawks strong safety Brian Russell said. "You don't play off the crowd's energy for four quarters. You execute or you don't. they executed well and got into a rhythm. McNabb's a good football player and we needed to find more ways to get him out of rhythm. We picked him off one time but he's going to keep coming at you and we just didn't do enough today."
The bigger issue was establishing any offense after the stunning touchdown, with only 143 yards total offense after their first play from scrimmage. The result was sliding to 2-6 and three games behind the first place Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West who defeated the Rams today 34-13.
Wallace finished the game 13-of-29 for 169 yards and the 90-yard touchdown pass, while getting sacked 3 times for 15 yards. Maurice Morris carried the ball 8 times for 43 yards and Julius Jones added 41 yards on 10 carries to account for the Seahawks running game.
"You get frustrated," Wallace said. "But we are all out there together. It is a team sport and we are all trying to make plays. There are plays that I probably could have made, like the ball I threw to John (Carlson) that got tipped. And maybe if I had thrown it a little further he would have caught it. You can't point fingers. We just didn't make enough plays out there to win the game."
They also didn't get any breaks. On a fourth-and 1 late in the first half, McNabb was fighting for yardage, middle linebacker D.D. Lewis ripped the ball out of his hands, but the officials ruled his forward progress had stopped. Holmgren argued vociferously, but forward progress had been established and the play was considered dead, so it was fruitless.
And in the middle of the third quarter, Wallace threw a perfect pass into the end zone to Keary Colbert. He had it in his hands as he hit the turf, but couldn't hang on.
That is precisely the type of game it was for the Seahawks, who will come in for films on Monday, be off on Tuesday, and then begin preparation for their trip to Miami for next Sunday's meeting with the Dolphins. Having lost three more starters before Sunday's game: fullback Leonard Weaver (foot), middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu (groin) and defensive end Patrick Kerney (shoulder) - that just adds to the list of six receivers and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
The cumulative effect on the team is palpable.
"We kind of hit the wall a little bit – it appears," Holmgren said. "I give (the Eagles) credit, they are a good defensive football team. There are some things we thought we could do and we wound up not being able to do them. That's hard. So I told the team in there: it just breaks my heart. They are trying real hard, but we are not getting rewarded for much. And you don't get points for trying hard.
"But we have half the season left, and I assured them that I will be here for them, to do what I can do until the last play of the last game this year. I asked everyone to go along with me on that, and the players and coaches are a good group of fellows, they really are – and hopefully we get some of the injured guys back and have a little more fun than we have had so far."
McNabb surpassed 300 yards passing on their first drive of the fourth quarter, as they drove to the 25-yard line until the Seahawks defense stiffened. That set up the third field goal of the day for David Akers, this one a 42-yarder to cap an 11-play, 55-yard drive. That pushed the Eagles advantage to 23-7 with 9:27 left in the game.
Akers added a 39-yarder with 4:35 left to close out the scoring on an 8-play, 46-yard drive.
After receiving the second half kickoff, the Seahawks again were forced to punt after three plays, and the Eagles took the ball back on their own 41. On the second play, Donovan McNabb hit Hank Bassett on the right sideline, and Bassett's great catch was challenged by coach Mike Holmgren. The ruling was he did drag his second foot before going out of bounds for McNabb's 13th consecutive completion and a 24-yard gain. Three plays later, David Akers converted a 39-yard field goal with 11:25 left in the third quarter to make it 17-7.
The Seahawks finally got back into Eagles territory on the ensuing possession, on a great cut back run on a draw play from Maurice Morris for 28 yards to the Philadelphia 34. On the next play Seneca Wallace unloaded a perfect pass into the end zone that Keary Colbert got his hands on, started to pull in, but couldn't control as he was hit and going to the ground. Two plays later, they hadn't moved an inch, and after decided to go for it – a false start forced a punt.
The Eagles took over on their own 24, and once again the McNabb-Brent Celek combination burned them. First it was a 39-yard catch and run, followed by a 15-yard screen play and the Eagles were suddenly on the Seahawks 7. They moved to the 2-yard line, before Darryl Tapp rung up the first sack of the day – nailing McNabb for a 3-yard loss. Then on a screen to Brian Westbrook, Josh Wilson nailed him for a 3-yard loss, and Akers converted a 24-yard field goal with 1:26 left in the quarter to make it 20-7. Three plays later, the third quarter ended as the Seahawks were forced to punt, trailing 20-7
Halftime at a glance
Eagles 14, Seahawks 7
The Seahawks electrified the crowd on the first play from scrimmage with a 90-yard touchdown pass from Seneca Wallace to Koren Robinson, but that was about it for the half for the Seahawks offense.
The Seahawks aggressive defense befuddled the Eagles offense the first three series, but after that, it was all about Donovan McNabb, who completed 13 of his next 16 passes – including the last 10 – for 166 yards and touchdown passes of 22 yards to Reggie Brown and 1 yard to Todd Herremans. Meanwhile, the Eagles defense swarmed the Seahawks and Seneca Wallace.
Wallace finished the half 8-of-16 for 159 yards, but he also had three key passes dropped, which accounted for the meager 4 first downs after the initial touchdown. It explains why the Eagles dominated time of possession 17:27-12:33.
Keys at the half
Turning point of the half
McNabb connected on his final 10 passes of the first half for 110 yards, and 2 touchdowns, while the Seahawks had just 48 yards and three first downs in the second quarter.
Key play of the half
On the Seahawks first play from scrimmage, Seneca Wallace pumped faked, fullback Owen Schmitt picked up a blitzing linebacker, and Wallace hit Koren Robinson in stride streaking down the left sideline. He initially beat cornerback Lito Sheppard with a stop-and-go move, cut back against safety Brian Dawkins, and then got a downfield block from Bobby Engram to complete the 90-yard touchdown play. It was the longest pass play from scrimmage in Seahawks history, exceeding the 83-yard pass play from Trent Dilfer to – you guessed it, Robinson – in 2002. That gave the Seahawks a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
The Seahawks had trouble sustaining any drives after the touchdown. A couple of dropped passes and a questionable mark on a third down completion from Wallace to Robinson got in the way.
.In the meantime, the Eagles tied the game with 6:33 left in the half. The Seahawks continued to blitz McNabb, but as the quarter progressed, he kept burning them by not getting there. For the second time of the half, he collaborated with tight end Brent Celek for a big play – this time for 27 yards to ignite a six-play, 80-yard drive. The touchdown came on a 22-yard pass to Reggie Brown.
That tied deadlocked the game and the Seahawks got the ball back on their own 28, but once again, nothing was doing and the Eagles got ball back just shy of midfield with 5:22 left in the half. McNabb peppered the Seahawks with short passes, and Brian Westbrook slashed for yardage on the ground and through the air as they moved to the 35-yard line. And on fourth-and-1, McNabb dove into the line and as he turned over, D.D. Lewis ripped the ball out. He was ruled down and got the first down. Two plays later, McNabb then hit Kevin Curtis with a big 26-yard gain to the 1. McNabb then hit tackle eligible Todd Herremans for the 1-yard score. With 40 seconds left in the half, the Eagles led 14-7.
On the Seahawks first play from scrimmage, Seneca Wallace pumped faked, fullback Owen Schmitt picked up a blitzing linebacker, and Wallace hit Koren Robinson in stride streaking down the left sideline. He initially beat cornerback Sheldon Brown with a stop-and-go move, cut back against safety Brian Dawkins, and then got a downfield block from Bobby Engram to complete the 90-yard touchdown play. It was the longest pass play from scrimmage in Seahawks history, exceeding the 83-yard pass play from Trent Dilfer to – you guessed it, Robinson – in 2002. That gave the Seahawks a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
The Seahawks defense held the Eagles to three consecutive 3-and-outs to start the game, and then the Eagles drove to the Seahawks 18 on a 44-yard pass from Donovan McNabb to tight end Brent Celek. But on first down from there, safety Deon Grant intercepted McNabb in the end zone to give the Seahawks the ball back on the 20.
The quarter ended with the Seahawks leading 7-0, and outgaining the Eagles 130-81 in total yards as McNabb misfired on his first seven passes.
This and that
Rookie Owen Schmitt started at fullback for Leonard Weaver, who is nursing a strained foot. … Rookie defensive tackle Red Bryant played in the first half, but hobbled to the sideline when he injured his right ankle and he did not return. . … For the second week in a row, the Seahawks won the coin toss before the game and deferred to the Eagles. That allowed them to receive the second half kickoff.*… *Leroy Hill led the Seahawks with 10 tackles, followed by Jordan Babineaux and D.D. Lewis with 7 apiece, while Darryl Tapp and Brian Russell had 6 each. Tapp had the only sack and also forced a fumble that the Eagles retained.
Matt Hasselbeck, Lofa Tatupu, Patrick Kerney and Deion Branch led the Seahawks inactive players heading into the game, along with Brandon Coutu, Mansfield Wrotto, Will Heller and Howard Green. Seneca Wallace, D.D. Lewis, Lawrence Jackson and Koren Robinson started for Hasselbeck, Tatupu, Kerney and Branch. … Retired Seahawks fullback John L. Williams raised the 12th Man Flag. … The Seahawks staff held a brief prayer and moment of silence for Scott Patrick, the vice president of marketing who passed away on Saturday. Godspeed to the Patrick family. … The Seahawks travel to Miami next week to meeting the Dolphins, and then are home the following two Sundays against the Arizona Cardinals and Washington Redskins, respectively.