Don’t sleep on the Seahawks — at least now that they’re awake themselves.
K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner took offense that the Hawks were underdogs to the Eagles at home and people were writing them off. But the Seahawks had only themselves to blame after losing two straight home games they could have won (or tied in the case of the Falcons).
To shut people up, the Hawks had to open some eyes and prove they were still contenders. And they did that vs. the Eagles, coming up with their best win of the season, 24-10 and making it look like the Hawks are ready to make their typical December run. They’re a league-best 20-5 in the final month with Russell Wilson.
“It’s December,” Wilson said. “It’s time to play. It’s time to be great.”
The Seahawks have four games left: at Jacksonville, home vs. the Rams, at Dallas and home vs. Arizona. They are still a game behind the Rams in the NFC West, with the rematch in a couple of weeks.
“There’s still a lot more ball to play and we can’t get too excited,” Wilson said. “There (are) a lot of great teams that we have to play ahead of us.”
Thanks to the Falcons’ loss to Minnesota, the Seahawks now control their playoff destiny. And they suddenly appear capable of running the table. Literally.
They have found a running back. Mike Davis ran 16 times for 64 yards, including a nifty 22-yard run that was the best effort of the season by a Seattle running back. He also caught four passes for 37 yards, making him the first Seattle RB to go over 100 total yards since Chris Carson hit 100 in Week 2 vs. San Francisco. Those are the only two games in which the Hawks have had an RB rush for 60 yards.
Davis had two other big plays: (1) a 23-yard catch-and-run when Wilson scrambled right and tossed back to Davis in the middle of the field and (2) a 17-yard gain off a controversial pitch from Wilson, who was about to be tackled after a 6-yard run.
The performance against the best run defense in the league had to be promising. The Hawks ran for 101 — just the third team to hit 100 against the Eagles’ top-ranked run defense, which had allowed the fewest yards (716) through 11 games in team history.
Meanwhile, Seattle’s defense is coming together, even after losing three stars for the season. Bobby Wagner continues to make his case for defensive player of the year; he tallied a game-high 13 tackles, two for loss. Bradley McDougald had his best game as a Seahawk (12 tackles, one for loss, two passes defensed). K.J. Wright tallied 10 tackles and blitzed the Eagles into a fourth-down failure.
Sheldon Richardson had the defensive play of the game, forcing Carson Wentz to fumble out of the end zone for a touchback. Frank Clark had his best game of the season, with two sacks, three tackles for loss, two QB hits and a pass defensed. Byron Maxwell gave up a TD pass but otherwise played a good game against his former team, with seven tackles, an interception and two passes defensed.
The Seahawks hit Wentz 12 times and have 25 QB hits in the last two games. Their defensive line rotation is excellent, even with Cliff Avril out for the year and missing Dion Jordan and top rookie Nazair Jones in this game (and waiving Dwight Freeney two weeks ago). Their revamped secondary, missing Pro Bowl stalwarts Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman, looks very capable with McDougald and Maxwell stepping in.
If that crew contained the league’s No. 1 offense, it should be able to handle the Jags’ Blake Bortles, a Rams offense that scored just 10 points in the first meeting, a struggling Dallas offense (though Zeke Elliott will be back) and punchless Arizona.
“We’re playing at our best right now,” McDougald said. “We’re definitely playing at our best, and I’ve never seen anything like this with this defense.”