As much as the media attempted to bill the Seattle vs. Philadelphia matchup as a game the Eagles needed to win to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Seahawks did everything they could to put an end to that possibility.
Not only did the Seahawks take away the hopes of the supposed “Dream Team” making the playoffs this year, they had four takeaways in the way of Vince Young interceptions on their way to a 31-14 win.
After the offense went three-and-out on the opening drive, Kam Chancellor intercepted Young’s first pass of the game which led to Seattle’s first touchdown.
Marshawn Lynch was in full “beast mode,” rushing for 148 yards and two touchdowns. He set the tone with his first score of the night as he ran up the middle into a pack of Eagles and Seahawks and somehow managed to stay upright and slip out the other side for a 15-yard touchdown run.
Apparently he didn’t get enough of his customary helping of Skittles after the first score, because Lynch then went nearly untouched into the end zone for a 40-yard touchdown to start the second quarter putting Seattle up 14-0.
In his post-game press conference, coach Pete Carroll recognized how the success of the run game has been a big part of the team’s recent success.
“The fact that we were able to run the football really from the start of the game on,” said Carroll. “For the attitude that just gives our whole football team, it really is infectious.”
Carroll gave a lot of credit to the offensive line for their work and to Tarvaris Jackson who also played well in going 13-of-16 for 190 yards and a score. Although it goes into the record books as an 11-yard touchdown catch, his throw to Golden Tate was closer to about 30 yards to bring the score to 24-7. Tate showed some impressive footwork in the back of the end zone to stay in bounds all while maintaining control as he went to the ground.
Jackson literally tipped his cap to Tate following his praise of the receiver’s catch.
“That’s what he’s good at, going up to get the football,” said Jackson. “He did a great job of concentrating and making the catch first of all and getting his feet down in the back of the end zone.”
In addition to his four receptions, Tate made a few key blocks during Lynch’s touchdown runs. His presence in the game had a lot to do with Sidney Rice going to the injured reserve and Ben Obomanu not being fully healthy.
“He’s really special. He makes special plays, so we gotta keep giving it to him,” said Carroll.
There were also a number of Seahawks of defense worthy of accolades. Although they struggled to bring down Young in the backfield, there were a number of great tackles and Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman combined to help shut down DeSean Jackson and the Eagles receivers.
The team also dramatically decreased the number of penalty yards in this game. In his post-game locker room speech, Carroll said that maybe his favorite stat of the night was their five penalties for 30 yards. Carroll and Jackson both acknowledged that number could be better, but it was a noticeable improvement over recent weeks.
Jackson also showed noticeable improvement over what fans have seen lately, and Carroll attributes it to the continued recovery from his pectoral injury.
“This is by far the best he’s felt. He felt really good in pregame,” said Carroll. “After this break right here I think we’re really going to be over the hump on him getting stronger.”
At 5-7, the team is a game behind where they were last year going into the final four games. At 6-6, the 2010 Seahawks finished 1-3 to cap off their regular season. With games against all three division rivals and one game against the Chicago Bears, they have a realistic shot of picking up at least two wins to match last year’s record.
They went 3-5 over the last eight games of last year, but now they have the opportunity to finish the season moving in the right direction. Who knows, if they can pick up victories over the Bears and 49ers while getting help from a couple other teams, fans can even continue to keep the hopes alive for a return to the playoffs in January.