As the Philadelphia Eagles rolled into Seattle on Sunday, they wouldn’t have guessed that backup quarterback Trevone Boykin would line up as a running back for a play and that star wideout Doug Baldwin would be the most accurate passer of the day.
But football is all about trickery, isn’t it? Play action, false counts, pump fakes — all a part of the game that we devote an entire day of the week to.
For Eagles quarterback Caron Wentz, his first trip to CenturyLink Field in Seattle went as expected. He went 23-45 and threw two touchdowns and two interceptions, and his Eagles lost as he was flummoxed by the Seahawks’ defense at key moments of the game.
The Seattle offense on the other hand played solid, as Russell Wilson, who now looks 100 percent healthy, tossed long passes, scrambled to buy time, and protected the ball as only he can do in leading the Seahawks to a strong victory.
After a couple of punts from both teams to start the game, rookie CJ Prosise began Seattle’s second possession with an eight-yard burst. His number got called again, and the next play he delivered with an untouched 72-yard run (yes, 72 yards) that resulted in a touchdown for the Hawks (Prosise later unfortunately left with a shoulder injury, and did not return to the game).
Wentz later responded with a 13-play, seven-and-a-half-minute drive that ended with a touchdown as Philadelphia took the lead 6-7 (Hauschka missed the PAT from Prosise’s run).
But Seattle responded with a 92-yard drive that included a bevy of carries for newly-returned Thomas Rawls and finished with a pass from Russell Wilson to Jimmy Graham. Wilson, on a 3rd and 11, scrambled to the outside and, just as he was about to cross the line of scrimmage, timed his pass perfectly to Graham, who spun back and caught the pass, broke a tackle, and strolled in the end zone.
It was a play that Seahawks fans know all-too-well — Wilson scrambling around, keeping his eyes upfield, barely escaping the fingertips of a defender, and miraculously finding a receiver, frustrating the defense in the process. Or to put it proverbially, when life gives Russell Wilson lemons, he makes a lemon rotisserie chicken.
With little time left in the first half, Wentz had the ball and found himself staring down his receiver, Dorial Green Beckham. He either forgot he was playing against the Seattle secondary, or thought he was being aloof, but either way, his eye contact with Green Beckham proved deadly as Kam Chancellor easily read his mind and swooped in for an interception, ending their short drive and crushing the hearts of the Philly faithful.
After two punts to begin the second half, Wentz and the Eagles had the ball on their own two-yard line. After a run that went nowhere, Wentz threw the ball deep into double coverage and the cold-hearted Richard Sherman, with sub-zero ice water running through his veins, picked it off, giving Seattle excellent position.
After moving the ball effectively, the Seahawks were 15 yards from pay dirt when Carroll called a play that would be the most exciting of the game.
Wilson faked a handoff and tossed the ball behind him to a sweeping Doug Baldwin, who assumed a passing position. As Wilson vanished among a throng of Eagles defenders, Baldwin, who faced some pressure, appeared to chuck the ball up while stumbling backward. Appearing from between the trees was Wilson, who caught the ball clean and stretched for the touchdown, the first receiving touchdown of his career. Baldwin would later perform a cartwheel to celebrate the chicanery — it was a so-so cartwheel, but easily the best cartwheel of the day by a receiver who threw a passing touchdown to a quarterback. Trickery, indeed.
The Seahawks later kicked a field goal, stretching their lead to 26-7.
Wentz eventually led his team to another touchdown and a two-point conversion to bring the score to 26-15 late in the fourth quarter. After a Seahawks punt, Philadelphia had a small chance of coming back, and went on a short drive to try to get the game back to one possession. Wentz faced a fourth down, and as he went back to throw, his arm got knocked by Cliff Avril (who earlier caused a fumble), causing an incompletion and ending their drive. The game was basically over at that point, and Avril’s defensive stop was the fatality that defiantly ended the game.
Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor each got interceptions, Russell Wilson scrambled around and did some cool stuff, Jimmy Graham caught a touchdown pass, and Cliff Avril wreaked havoc on the quarterback. The Seattle faithful caused some anguish for the visiting team, and Pete Carroll coached his way to another victory. Everyone played their role perfectly, and when everyone is playing their role perfectly, the Seattle Seahawks are one of the deadliest teams in the NFL.
They are now 7-2-1 and have a padded lead in the NFC West. Oh, and of all the bird teams in the NFL, they currently have the best record, which is an extremely important fact.
The Seahawks are away next week against Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.