The Seahawks season will continue at least another week after a 17-9 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon.
Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett created enough big offensive plays to pair with a seven-sack outing from the Seattle defense to advance the Seahawks into the NFC Divisional Round next week. Seattle will face the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field for the right to advance to the NFC Championship game, which would be either in Santa Clara against the San Francisco 49ers or in Seattle against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Seahawks benefited from a banged up Eagles roster that saw quarterback Carson Wentz leave with a head injury in the first quarter, and running back Miles Sanders and defensive end Brandon Graham play through injuries sustained during the game. But Seattle matched their 17-9 victory in Week 12 over the Eagles with a 17-9 playoff victory in the same stadium to keep their season moving forward.
The Seahawks have now won at least one playoff game in seven of eight years they've made the postseason under head coach Pete Carroll.
They'll have a chance to advance to a third NFC Championship game at 3:40 p.m. PT in Green Bay next Sunday.
Here's the takeaways from the Wild Card victory in Philadelphia:
-- Russell WIlson delivers his best outing in over a month to carry offense.
Despite being without his starting left tackle, left guard and center, top three running backs and a trusted veteran wide receiver, Wilson shined on a day the Seahawks needed him to be in peak form.
"I thought Russ was spectacular tonight," head coach Pete Carroll said. "Moving around and finding guys when we really needed it in crucial situations."
Wilson completed 19 of 30 passes for 325 yards and a touchdown. It's the first time in his eight-year career with Seattle that he's thrown for 300 yards in a playoff victory. Wilson had thrown for 385 yards in the loss at Atlanta in 2012 and 366 yards in the loss at Carolina in 2016. Prior to Sunday, the Seahawks had lost five of the six playoff games they'd had with Wilson's most prolific yardage outputs. The only victory of the group was a 268-yard effort in a home win over the Panthers in January 2015.
Duane Brown is still recovering from knee surgery two weeks ago and was unable to return this week as George Fant took his place again at left tackle. Mike Iupati was ruled out Sunday due to an ongoing stinger that has been a factor since the loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Justin Britt has been out since October with a torn ACL and Joey Hunt was struggling to handle Eagles' star defensive tackle Fletcher Cox most of the evening.
But despite the issues up front, Wilson harnessed his magic yet again with throws on the run and key scrambles to help lift Seattle to victory.
An 18-yard scramble on third-and-15, buying time to find David Moore for a 38-yard catch-and-run to set up a Marshawn Lynch touchdown run, a missile on the run into tight coverage for Metcalf and an arcing shot along the sideline to Lockett were just some of the vital plays Wilson made to advance Seattle into the NFL's second playoff weekend.
The final dagger was on third-and-10 from Seattle's own 11-yard line with 1:47 left to play as Wilson stared down an all-out blitz from the Eagles to throw a 36-yard strike to Metcalf to seal away the victory.
But Wilson also had some pretty critical help from his top two receivers.
-- DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett outclassed the Eagles' lacking group of defensive backs.
The one area where the Seahawks had a big advantage against the Eagles on Sunday was with their receiving corps against the Eagles banged up and ineffective cornerbacks.
Metcalf set an NFL rookie record for most receiving yards in a playoff game with seven catches for 160 yards and a touchdown in his postseason debut. Jeremy Maclin had 146 yards with the Eagles in his playoff debut against the Dallas Cowboys in 2010 as the previous best showing by a rookie in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Lockett had just one catch for 38 yards in the first meeting between the two teams in late November as he was recovering from the flu and a bad bruise to his leg. Lockett had four catches for 62 yards against the Eagles on Sunday.
"I think the night was stolen by DK," Carroll said. "He just had a phenomenal night. Showed you what he's capable of looking like. He's had a great season in his rookie year but to have a night like that his first chance ever in the playoffs, that was spectacular. He did some stuff it's hard to imagine anyone else doing. We're really excited about that.
Metcalf roasted cornerback Avonte Maddox for a 53-yard touchdown and then blew by Marcus Epps and Jalen Mills for the final 36-yard completion that enabled Seattle to run out the clock. The Eagles brought a Cover Zero all-out blitz against Wilson and Seattle faked a quick screen to Tyler Lockett before Metcalf took over vertically behind the defense. Wilson lofted the ball into the sky as Metcalf leaped into the air to bring down the clinching reception.
"We worked on it all week," Carroll said. "The call from Schotty (Brian Schottenheimer), the throw from Russ, the whole part of pulling off the execution of that (was spectacular). An exquisite throw and catch. That's as pretty as football can look right there at the most crucial time. Just memorable."
-- Seven sacks was a big boost on Sunday but was more of a mirage than anything.
For a team that was among the worst at sacking the quarterback all season across the NFL, the Seahawks came through with seven sacks of Eagles quarterbacks on Sunday to help their defense hold Philadelphia without a touchdown.
Quinton Jefferson had two sacks for Seattle while Jadeveon Clowney, Rasheem Green, K.J. Wright, Cody Barton and Bradley McDougald each added to the total as well.
"We played a really nice night on defense overall," Carroll said. "They moved the ball pretty good at times but we kept them out of the end zone which was really key. And without getting any turnovers, it was a challenge. I was really fired up about the (defense). A bunch of sacks again here and really great red zone defense made a big difference."
The defense held the Eagles to just 3-of-11 in conversions on third down and 0-for-2 in fourth down in fourth down attempts. They forced field goals three times on drives that pushed inside their red zone without a touchdown being allowed.
But while the sacks were welcome on Sunday, there's little reason to expect them to be a reliable happening moving forward.
The Eagles lost right guard Brandon Brooks for the season last week and right tackle Lane Johnson was out for Sunday's game due to an ankle injury as well. Tight end Zach Ertz was also dealing with multiple rib injuries and a lacerated kidney that almost certainly limited his ability to perform as well despite his effort to play through the issues. And with Wentz out, Josh McCown was a more readily available target for the pass rush to chase as well.
That won't be the case for Seattle moving forward. The Packers have one of the best pass blocking offensive lines in the game and the 49ers performed well against Seattle last week if that would happen to be the opponent in the NFC Championship game if the team manages to advance. Defensive end Ziggy Ansah sustained a stinger in Sunday's game and Clowney continues to battle a core muscle injury that has but a damper on his effectiveness.
Additionally, two of the sacks Seattle got were on scrambles that just didn't quite get back to the line of scrimmage.
If the Seahawks get one sack against the Packers next weekend, it would probably be viewed as a success. If they can come anywhere close to the showing they put on against the Eagles, then maybe the expected production can be re-evaluated.
-- Seahawks will need more from the rushing attack. Brown, Iupati returning would be a big boost.
With three backups starting on the offensive line and Travis Homer and Marshawn Lynch called into duty at tailback, the Seahawks rushing attack fell flat in Philadelphia.
While Lynch did score on a 5-yard run in the second quarter, the duo combined for just 19 yards on 17 carries for Seattle on Sunday. Russell Wilson led the way with 45 yards on nine carries.
The offensive line could get very little push against a good Eagles defensive front. Running lanes were clogged all day as Homer and Lynch had nowhere to go, which only speaks even more to the impressiveness of Wilson's showing in the passing game.
Iupati is expected to play next week after a stinger kept him out against the Eagles and Brown has a chance of returning as well as he would be almost three weeks removed from surgery by the time of kickoff in Green Bay next weekend. The Packers have a potent pass rush but struggle against the run having 120 yards a game and 15 total touchdowns on the ground this season.
The return of Iupati and Brown should provide a boost to the rushing attack. If the Seahawks want to keep progressing toward a third Super Bowl appearance this decade, they'll need more than they saw Sunday in Philadelphia.
Photo Credit: PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 05: D.K. Metcalf #14 of the Seattle Seahawks makes a reception for a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles in the third quarter during their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 05, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)