Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Seahawk offensive line made quick work of the Philadelphia Eagles during their nationally televised matchup last night. Lynch ran for 148 yards on 22 carries, and had touchdowns on a trademark, 15-yard battle of a run as well as on a 40-yard scamper along the right sideline. The Seahawks continually knocked the Eagles off the ball and exposed them for what they are on defense: undersized. Lynch, the NFL’s leading rusher in November, dominated the game from its outset, and picked up hard-earned yard after yard. He describes his playing style as “Beast Mode,” and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who can more accurately sum up his recent performances.
Besides Lynch’s outstanding play, Seattle also received an efficient night from quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Jackson completed 13 of 16 passes he attempted, throwing a touchdown and no interceptions. With the success Lynch was having on the ground, the Eagles were often burned by play-action passes and 2nd-year receiver Golden Tate. Tate, starting in place of injured Sidney Rice, caught Jackson’s touchdown pass with a tremendous leaping grab in the back of the end zone, and recorded several other nice runs after catches.
Eagles quarterback Vince Young struggled heavily against the Seattle defense, throwing four interceptions. Young made several terrible decisions by trying to force the ball to covered receivers. His last interception iced the game as linebacker David Hawthorne returned it 77 yards for a touchdown. Besides last week’s 4th quarter meltdown against the Redskins, the Seattle defense has been outstanding in the last four games, allowing only Washington to score more than 20 points (23).
In a post-game interview on NFL network, Pete Carroll confirmed that the current Seahawk formula is a physical running game, efficient passing, and focusing on winning the turnover battle. Last night, the Seahawks were +4 in turnover margin, ran over Philly’s defense, and received a season-best passer rating from Tarvaris Jackson (his rating was 137 – only Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees average a rating better than 100). With as much roster turnover as the Seahawks have had over the past two seasons, it is not surprising that it has taken a while for them to develop an identity as a team. However, they have recently shown that they can excel under the scheme being employed by the coaching staff. What could possibly be more encouraging?
Before the season started, I honestly expected the Seahawks to be about where they are right now at 5 wins and 7 losses. They have the youngest starting lineup in the league, a new quarterback, tons of injuries, and tons of new starters. Moving forward, there should be considerable improvement as they mature, and they already are showing signs of marked improvement. One place this was particularly evident was in the season-low five penalties the Seahawks committed last night. Seattle is the 2nd most penalized team in the NFL (behind the Oakland Raiders), and has suffered mightily as a result. As they start minimizing their mistakes, it is only natural that they start winning more games. With another year or two to develop and learn Pete Carroll’s system, I’m excited to see how good this team will become.
Last night’s romp over the Eagles showed what the Seahawks are capable of being: a physical, mistake-free team that won’t beat itself. In his days coaching USC, Pete Carroll coached some of the most talented teams college football has ever seen. His 2004 team that won the National Championship attempted more runs than passes, had a positive turnover margin, and featured nine future NFL players on the starting defense. Sure, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush won Heisman trophies playing under Carroll, but Carroll’s teams all were particularly physical and never lost sight of the running game. It’s how he had success at the collegiate level, and he’s starting to have success with this game plan at the NFL level. I can’t wait to see him have another offseason to find more personnel that fit his scheme and to develop the players he’s already put into the lineup.
Although Seattle’s playoff chances are quite slender, they have become so much more fun to watch than in the beginning of the season. Why? They’re WINNING and winning by forcing other teams to play Seahawk-style football. I can’t wait to see them host the Rams next week – I think the Rams will be in for a long night.
Seahawk nation has endured three consecutive losing seasons, and this year might be a fourth straight. However, things are clearly starting to turn around for the franchise. If more performances like the one the Seahawks had against the Eagles are in store, losses will start to be fewer and farther in between. Let’s hope the improvement continues.
About the Author
Written by Erik Olsoy
Erik was born in Columbus, Ohio during the only Ohio State football victory over Michigan in the 1980s, but moved to Washington state and grew up there. His loyalty to Ohio State remains strong, but his strongest allegiances developed toward Seattle sports. Though he recently graduated from Boston College, he has not yet been converted to the ways of New England Sportsdom, and only roots for the Red Sox against the Yankees because the Yankees are the root of all evil.