Seahawks 3 Stars: Metcalf shatters NFL record to lead Seattle to victory
The Seahawks have advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs after beating the Philadelphia Eagles on the road for the team’s eighth road victory of the season.
Seattle won 17-9 which, coincidentally, was the score when the Seahawks won the game these two teams played in Week 12. That game was also in Philadelphia.
The score may have been the same, but the game was anything but.
In Week 12, Seattle had 174 rushing yards. In the playoffs, they had just 64. The Seahawks passed for 200 yards in Week 12 and had 325 in the Wild Card round. Oh, and the Eagles were using their backup quarterback after Carson Wentz went down with a concussion.
As with any win, players had to step up to help get the win. Here are my picks for the Seahawks’ stars of the game.
Mychal Kendricks is out for the rest of the season, but his fellow linebackers stepped up in a big way. His replacement, Cody Barton, had five tackles, a sack and two pass deflections. Bobby Wagner had seven tackles and a tackle for loss, and K.J. Wright had five tackles and a sack and had some big tackles late.
Jadeveon Clowney had maybe his best game since Week 10 when he was injured. He had five tackles and a sack and was constantly pressuring the quarterback and blowing up the run game.
Quinton Jefferson had two of Seattle’s seven sacks to remain one of the Seahawks’ unsung heroes.
And while his stat line isn’t pretty by any means, Marshawn Lynch had this awesome 5-yard touchdown run in the first half.
Fighting his way in for the touchdown, it's @MoneyLynch!
Q2: SEA 10, PHI 3 pic.twitter.com/7TG5OAQTqN
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) January 5, 2020
Third Star: Bradley McDougald
When safety Quandre Diggs went down with an injury in Week 15, it hurt the Seahawks’ defense as a whole, but perhaps no one was hit harder by the injury than McDougald, who was playing his best football alongside Diggs.
Seattle got Diggs back Sunday, and McDougald played one of the best games of his career. He led the team in tackles with 11 and had two tackles for loss, including the first of Seattle’s seven sacks.
One of the things Seahawks fans have seen since Pete Carroll took over in 2010 was that he has high expectations for his safety play, being a former safety and secondary coach. Performances like McDougald’s against the Eagles must certainly make the coach proud.
The Seahawks are a different team defensively with Diggs back on the field, and part of that is likely because McDougald is more comfortable. That showed against the Eagles, when he was flying all over the field and looked sound against both the run and the pass.
Diggs and McDougald will have a tough task next week against the Green Bay Packers, but if McDougald can be a force over the middle and in the run game like he was against Philadelphia, it would go a long way towards Seattle’s chances of making the NFC Championship.
Second Star: Russell Wilson
The last time these two teams faced off, Wilson had just 200 passing yards and was sacked six times.
He was still hit 11 times Sunday, but he was sacked just once and used both his arm and his legs to create big plays for the Seahawks.
Wilson completed 18 of 30 attempts for 325 yards and a touchdown. Maybe his most impressive pass of the game was the game clincher on third down to DK Metcalf (more on him later). Rather than running the ball to either milk the clock or force the Eagles to take their final time out, Wilson dropped back and threw a bomb to Metcalf, who made a great snag.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) January 6, 2020
The Eagles were one of the best at stopping the run all season long, and Seattle’s running backs had just 19 yards on 17 carries. Wilson had success with his legs, however, and led the team with 45 rushing yards. He also used his legs to make plays in the passing game, such as a third-and-10 conversion with David Moore that went for a big gain.
Wilson likely won’t win MVP this year, but the second team All-Pro shined when he needed to and certainly did his part in getting the Seahawks to the divisional round.
First Star: DK Metcalf
The 64th overall pick in the 2019 draft had a great regular season but saved his best performance for his playoff debut and was an easy pick for the First Star in this win.
I wasn’t alone in that feeling, as 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil also raved about the rookie’s performance.
Metcalf caught seven balls on nine targets and ended up setting an NFL rookie playoff record with 160 receiving yards and this awesome touchdown.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) January 5, 2020
He has truly emerged as one of the toughest receivers in football to cover with his blend of size and speed. He was simply too much for the Eagles’ banged up secondary to handle and he was far and away the most explosive player on the field and maybe the biggest difference-maker.
In Week 12 against the Eagles, Metcalf struggled. He dropped three passes including a would-be touchdown. He did anything but struggle on the biggest stage of his young career.
To clinch the win, Wilson looked his way and Metcalf made the snag. When Seattle looked for a big play downfield, there was Metcalf, snagging the catch, popping back up and plowing into the end zone like a running back.
Expectations were all over the place for the rookie before the season began and he has seemed to exceed all of them. Record-setting performances like this certainly help in that regard.
The Seahawks will travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers next Sunday in the divisional round. A win would set up a rematch with either the San Francisco 49ers or the Minnesota Vikings with a shot at the Super Bowl on the line.