It’s OK if you didn’t recognize the Seattle Seahawks team that played on Sunday night at CenturyLink Field.
It has been a while since this team has played that well in a game that big.
The Seahawks didn’t just beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-10. They served notice in front of 69,075 at CenturyLink Field and a whole national TV audience.
“I felt like everybody was sleeping on us,” linebacker Bobby Wagner said.
This was a heck of a wake-up call then.
It’s December, which means it’s just getting to be time for the Seahawks to play like the team everyone remembers. You know, the team that won a playoff game in five successive seasons and went to the Super Bowl twice. The team whose defense is capable of neutering a high-scoring offense even with two of its All-Pro players lost for the year. The team whose quarterback does more for his team than any single player in the season.
And yes, Russell Wilson was incredible, completing two-thirds of his passes and throwing for three touchdowns.
But the story of this game was Seattle’s defense, and more specifically what the Seahawks did to a Philadelphia offense that entered the game averaging a league-high 31.9 points.
The Eagles were held to three points in the first half, matching their lowest output after two quarters this season. They failed to score a touchdown in the first three quarters for the first time all season. They committed two turnovers, the most costly being when quarterback Carson Wentz fumbled the ball out of the end zone in the third quarter.
Philadelphia turned the ball over twice on downs.
“We expected to win this game,” Wagner said. “So this is not a surprise to us.”
The only touchdown the Eagles scored occurred on a 27-yard pass to Nelson Agholor, who was about the only bright spot in the game for Philadelphia.
Tight end Zach Ertz led the Eagles in receiving entering the game. He didn’t catch a pass in the first half. Neither did receiver Alshon Jeffery, who was freshly signed to a four-year, $52 million extension before the game.
The Eagles suffered their second loss of the season. The Seahawks improved to 8-4, and would receive a playoff berth as a wild-card team if the season ended now. They are one game behind for the NFC West lead to the Los Angeles Rams (9-3), whom the Seahawks have already beaten once this season.
This is the kind of reckoning the Seahawks used to serve up fairly regularly. Like when they held the Saints to seven points on a Monday night game in December 2013. Or the eight points the Seahawks allowed in a Super Bowl victory that season. Or the end of the 2014 season when Seattle held five of its final six opponents to seven points or fewer.
The point is that it has been a while since Seattle had that kind of game.
The Seahawks’ best win this season was 41-38 victory over Houston, but it was tough to feel all that great about the defense in that game. The Seahawks gave up 508 yards to the Texans.
This was different. This wasn’t just a victory, but a statement. The Seahawks announced they are a team to be reckoned with this season.
“It’s December,” Wilson said. “It’s time to play.”