The Seattle Seahawks withstood the Philadelphia Eagles through four quarters of hard fought football to prevail by a score of 17-9. Russell Wilson and D.K. Metcalf led a capable Seahawks offense, but the credit goes to Seattle’s defense, that held the Eagles without an offensive touchdown.

The Seahawks earned the NFC’s top wildcard berth with an 11-5 record, and were literally inches away from winning the NFC West over the San Francisco 49ers. Though Seattle holds the 5th seed, there’s no way they’re any worse than the 3rd best team in the conference.

I picked the Seahawks to win the NFC, and the Super Bowl, in my NFL Playoff Bracket Predictions.

Philadelphia clawed their way to an NFC East title at 9-7, in large part thanks to their 5-1 record within the division. The Eagles enter the NFC playoffs with less wins than any other team, and with many key players out due to injury. Still, the Eagles can be a dangerous team and has embraced the underdog role before.

Vegas had the Seahawks as a 1.5-point road favorite. With the Minnesota Vikings prevailing over the New Orleans Saints earlier in the day, the winner of this game would be destined to visit the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round.

After trading two very quick three and outs, the Seahawks took advantage of a short field and a 22-yard Russell Wilson scramble to set up a 35-yard field goal attempt. Philadelphia defensive end Vin Curry blocked the attempt, keeping the game scoreless in the first quarter.

On the ensuing drive, with 6:59 left in the first quarter and after completing just 1 of his 4 passes for 3 yards, Carson Wentz was injured on a helmet-to-helmet hit delivered by Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

Though Nick Foles led the greatest postseason run in Eagles history once upon a time, forcing Josh McCown on to the field was hardly inspiring for Eagles fans.

McCown’s first drive saw him throw one pass for negative five yards. The Seahawks next drive had promise but was quickly halted by a D.J. Fluker holding penalty.

To this point, Seattle had outgained Philadelphia in total yardage by an eye-popping margin of 152 to 22. Yet, the Seahawks only had a narrow 3-0 lead to show for it.

Desperate for a spark, Doug Pederson pushed the tempo on the Eagles next drive, mixing in some no huddle offense with McCown as well as a direct snap to a running back.

After gaining just 22 yards prior to this drive, McCown and the Eagles moved the ball 64 yards over 13 plays, amounting in a game-tying 46-yard field goal. On the drive, the 40-year-old backup quarterback even broke out the wheels for a 11-yard first down scramble.

Just as quickly as the Eagles offense came alive, the Seahawks found a way to respond on their next drive. D.K .Metcalf took a short pass to 26 yards to get the drive going. After missing a couple deep shots, Wilson found D.J. Moore on another pass that didn’t travel far through the air, but was turned into a 38-yard gain.

In the redzone, Marshawn Lynch got his chance to shine once again for the Seahawks in the postseason.

McCown could’t make anything to happen in the last minute of the half, and the Seahawks took a 10-3 lead into the break. Though the Seahawks lead in total yards was still 229 to 87, the Eagles couldn’t be too upset to be down just one score with their star quarterback sidelined.

The Eagles came out swinging in the second half, with a 32-yard hookup between McCown and tight end Zach Ertz on the first offensive play. A 20-yard defensive pass interference penalty against Tre Flowers would put the Eagles in Seattle territory.

Philadelphia would set up first and goal at the ten-yard line, but a delay of game, fumble, and sack would stop the drive in its tracks. The Eagles tacked on a short field goal to cut the Seahawks lead to 10-6.

Wilson and the Seahawks needed only five plays to strike back, as D.K. Metcalf hauled in a deep pass, rolled and got up to find the endzone for a 53-yard touchdown reception.

For the first time in the game, the Seahawks held a more comfortable two-score lead at 17-6.

By now, the once stagnant Eagles offense had been finding some consistency behind McCown. Though the quarterback put the ball on the ground for a second straight drive, it was recovered and the possession eventually ended with a 38-yard field goal. Though they had yet to find the endzone, the Eagles continued to chip away and made it a one-score game once again at 17-9.

With just under 7 minutes to play, the Eagles faced a 4th and 4 at the Seahawks 36-yard line. Rather than going for their fourth field goal, the Eagles opted to throw on fourth down, but the pass from McCown to Sanders fell incomplete.

Philadelphia’s defense responded with their backs against the wall, forcing a three and out, and only allowing 1:17 to come off the board.

With time running low, the Eagles needed a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game, or somehow a field goal and touchdown to win the game. At one point, McCown hobbled to the huddle after getting up.

The drive was stalling with McCown under pressure and receivers unable to create separation. Philadelphia’s hopes were saved by a defensive pass interference call that moved the ball 39 yards to the Seattle 13-yard line.

On 4th and 7, the Eagles figured a field goal and another chance at the ball with this field position could be unlikely. They went for it on 4th down at the 2:00 mark, but McCown was unable to get a pass off, under heavy pressure once again.

On the Seahawks crucial third down attempt, Wilson connected with Metcalf yet again for a 36-yard catch to seal the game’s outcome. It was Metcalf’s 7th catch of the game, as he totaled 160 yards and one of the game’s two touchdowns.

With the win, the Seahawks advance to the divisional round to play the 2nd-seeded Green Bay Packers. The two teams last met in the playoffs in January 2015, where Wilson bounced back from an interception-ridden first half to come back in overtime and advance to the Super Bowl.

Couple that game with the infamous “Fail Mary” meeting between the Seahawks and Packers, and the playoff meeting is set to have great atmosphere and stakes.

Last year, the Seahawks fell short to the Dallas Cowboys in the wildcard round. This year, they defeated the Eagles, another NFC East opponent, 17-9 in a show of defense as well as offensive patience.

I have the Seahawks winning Super Bowl LIV. Beating the Eagles was step one.

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Header Photo: Mike Seagall/The Seattle Times

 

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