Eagles-Seahawks: Wilson Outduels Wentz
PHILADELPHIA - The Eagles figured to get tested Sunday night in Seattle and they failed.
A backbreaking third-quarter fumble by Carson Wentz at Seattle's 1-yard line as Philadelphia was set to even the game at 10 fueled an 80-yard drive the other way with the key play being Russell Wilson taking advantage of a rare Jim Schwartz blitz to find Doug Baldwin streaking past Rodney McLeod in coverage down to the Eagles' 1-yard line.
The Seahawks eventually finished things, however, to finish a 14-point swing en route to a 24-10 win.
The setback was Philadelphia's second of the season and first since Week 2, It came on the heels of a Minnesota win earlier in the day putting the Vikings in a tie with the Eagles atop the NFC standings with a month to go in the regular season.
Minnesota, however, is now the No. 1 seed in the conference due to a better resume of victories.
Wentz wasn't bad statistically, completing 29 of 45 passes for 348 yards with a touchdown and an interception but left plenty of plays on the field as the NFL's top-scoring offense coming in managed just 10 points.
Nelson Agholor caught six balls for a career-high 131 yards and the TD while Jay Ajayi paced the running game with nine carries for 35 yards.
AND 10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW:
-Schwartz warned you about Wilson during the week and his cautions came to life with unscripted offense through the extension of plays again and again. The Seahawks' MVP candidate was hurried and harassed all night but in between he managed three TD passes and showed that the old guard in the NFC isn't quite ready to lay down for the new kids on the block.
-The Eagles had a lot of issues with Seattle's famed cover-3 defense, especially early. The idea of the defense is to limit big plays by forcing you to throw underneath and Wentz eschewed his top two targets in the first half, throwing to Zach Ertz just once and failing to even try Alshon Jeffery, who was fresh off signing a monster extension on Saturday, until the second half.
-Philadelphia lost Ertz to the concussion protocol after his helmet struck the turf late in the third quarter. He had just two catches for 24 yards before exiting with the injury. Wentz started going to Trey Burton consistently without Ertz available and the former finished with four catches for 42 yards.
-Jeffery ended up with four catches for 61 yards in the second half but was kept out of the end zone for the first time in five games.
-There was some good in the loss starting with right tackle Lane Johnson, who continued a spectacular year by dominating Seattle's Michael Bennett for most of the night. The same can't be said of Johnson's bookend, however, as Halapoulivaati Vaitai struggled for the second consecutive game, allowing two sacks to Frank Clark.
-The defensive line, meanwhile, did beat up the Seattle O-Line as expected. It's just that Wilson made something out of nothing time and time again. Brandon Graham was a wrecking ball with five tackles and 1 1/2 sacks while Derek Barnett nearly cut Wilson in half while catching the Seattle star on a spin move.
-With Joe Walker unavailable due to the stinger he suffered against Chicago last Sunday, the Eagles were down to their third middle linebacker as the versatile Najee Goode filled in. Dannell Ellerbe was also active for the first time as an Eagle.
-On the Seahawks final TD Mychal Kendricks got lost when JD McKissic, who was a WR at Arkansas State and now plays RB, ran a sluggo route. It was a brilliant play call by Darrell Bevell to get McKissic isolated with Kendricks outside the numbers.
-Doug Pederson will be hearing it after failing to challenge a Wilson lateral that looked like a forward pass on replay. It was very close but worth the challenge especially since Seattle went on to extend a 17-10 lead on the drive.
-Pederson was also uncharacteristically conservative in the first half passing on two manageable fourth downs in favor of punts.
-For the first time since Week 2 of last season, Malcolm Jenkins did not raise his fist during the national anthem before the game ending his protest after the NFL pledged to donate about $100 million over seven years to organizations designed to benefit African-American communities.