SEATTLE — Throughout the 2017 season, the Seattle Seahawks have struggled to start strong offensively and have often relied upon second half outbursts to keep themselves in games and ultimately win them. Sunday night's matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles was much different.
Against one the best defensive units in the league, the Seahawks were in a different groove and found early success against Jim Schwartz's Eagles defense in Seattle's 24-10 primetime victory over the No. 1 seed in the NFC conference.
The Eagles entered Sunday with one of the top-rated defensive units, first in stopping the run (65.1 yards per game) and sixth in total defense (291.6 yards per game). Seattle's performance on offense adjusted those numbers some.
In his first game back from a groin injury, running back Mike Davis made the most of his opportunity once again. Davis only ran for 19 yards in the first half but his numbers don't really tell the story of the early impact he had on the game. Davis also had two catches for 32 yards through two quarters, with one of them going for 23 yards and setting up what would be an 11-yard touchdown to tight end Jimmy Graham — his tied-for-an-NFL-high ninth touchdown reception on the season.
"I thought he was a real spark," Pete Carroll said of Davis after the game. "The last time we saw him play before he hurt his groin, he did the same thing. That's what we got excited about, that's why we kind of jumped him ahead of the guys, because we thought that he had something that just kind of made him more unique than the other guys at this time."
Much like his brief performance against Atlanta, Davis showed off his burst, cuts and ability to make defenders miss in the open field against the Eagles.
"He showed it again tonight, he had some beautiful runs in the open field," Carroll said. "You can see that he's always working to get another cut, another break. You give him enough chances, he's going to score some touchdowns in those kind of situations. He came through great."
Davis finished the game with 61 yards rushing on 16 attempts with his longest run of the day going for 22 yards. He and quarterback Russell Wilson (31 yards) combined for 95 of the Seahawks' 101 rushing yards against the Eagles. Seattle was just the third team Philadelphia's defense surrendered over 100 yards on the ground to.
When the Seahawks have a jump from the running game from Davis or whoever else in the backfield, it not only gives them balance offensively, but it takes pressure off of Wilson, who has done a lot more than usual this season. Sunday's game was a glimpse of what the Seahawks offense looks like when both elements are clicking at the same time.
"I thought Russell was phenomenal tonight," Carroll said. "I thought that was Russell showing you everything that he's all about. From start to finish, from the first play of the game on. He was on it. He created. His execution was excellent. We didn't turn the football over … I really think he had one of the best games that I've seen him play."
Wilson finished the game 20-of-31 passing for 227 yards and three touchdowns. In the first half he led the Seahawks to scores on two of their four possessions. Seattle went 52 yards on 12 plays before a 46-yard Blair Walsh field goal, and then scored the Graham touchdown before the end of the first quarter to make it 10-0. The 10 points the Seahawks scored was a notable difference considering the Eagles allowed more points in that quarter Sunday than they had in their previous four first quarters combined. Coming into the game, the Eagles also allowed opponents to only score 18 points in the first quarter all season.
"I thought it was great," Carroll said of his team's production in the first frame. "I don't think they had been scored on with a touchdown in the first quarter this year. That's an accomplishment in itself. It's an accomplishment for us. Really, we were moving the ball. Unfortunately, they held on to the ball for quite a bit. It seemed like the first half went so darn fast. I didn't feel like we had many chances. But, we made a lot of it, and we felt it all night long. We felt the movement all night long and the ability to do it."
After starting December on a positive note, the Seahawks will look to carry the offensive rhythm they felt against the Eagles into next week's game in Jacksonville against the Jaguars.
Game action photos from the Seahawks' 24-10 victory over the Eagles in Week 13 at CenturyLink Field.