Seahawks By the Numbers: Pass rush revived in playoff win over Eagles
Wherever the Seahawks’ playoff road takes them, any chance at a rematch with the San Francisco 49ers will have to wait at least one more week.
Since Seattle and New Orleans were both favorites in their respective Wild Card matchups Sunday, the Seahawks and 49ers were expected to meet again in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs (with a Seahawks win, of course). But with Minnesota’s wild overtime win over the Saints, the Seahawks’ road to the Super Bowl will instead go through No. 2-seeded Green Bay.
A week of preparation for the Seahawks starts Wednesday. Until then, here’s a look back at Sunday night’s game, by the numbers:
Pete Carroll said it best post-game.
“I think the night was stolen by DK,” Seattle’s head coach said of the 22-year-old receiver, who broke the NFL record for receiving yards in a rookie playoff debut with 160.
Metcalf led all receivers with nine targets, catching seven. His longest play of the game was Seattle’s second (and final) touchdown: Facing second-and-11, Wilson heaved a deep pass over the middle toward Metcalf, who caught it in stride at the Eagles’ 17-yard line. Metcalf rolled onto the ground, leaped back to his feet and ran into the end zone for a 53-yard score.
But Metcalf’s biggest catch of the day was the final play of the game. The Seahawks were up 17-9 with 1:47 to play. Facing a Cover-0 defense, Wilson took a deep shot down the middle of the field, where his pass was caught by Metcalf for 36 yards and a first down to ice the game.
The performance was an exclamation point on what has already been an impressive rookie regular season from Metcalf. The former Ole Miss star finished the regular season with 900 yards on 58 receptions, the second most receptions by a rookie in franchise history.
“(Metcalf’s performance Sunday) showed you what he’s capable of looking like,” Carroll said. “He’s had a great season in his rookie year, but to have a night like that in his first chance ever in the playoffs, that was spectacular.”
The first meeting between these two teams (in Week 12) was also the last time Seattle’s defense registered more than two sacks in a game.
The pass rush found a resurgence again against the Eagles’ offense and backup quarterback Josh McCown. The team registered seven sacks between safety Bradley McDougald, defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Rasheem Green, linebackers K.J. Wright and Cody Barton, and defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson, who had two sacks and two quarterback hits.
It wasn’t a completely flawless defensive performance. Seattle went a second consecutive week without forcing a turnover – one of the consistent strengths of a defense that otherwise ranked near the bottom of the league against the pass – and Carroll noted some tackling issues. But the head coach sounded pleased about the defense’s day, and it would be hard not to be.
Of all this weekend’s playoff teams, Seattle ranked second to only the New England Patriots’ defense in total yards allowed (282). As veteran linebacker Wright noted postgame, Philadelphia didn’t score a single touchdown. That was also thanks to a pivotal sack by Wright when the Eagles were facing third down at the Seahawks’ 5-yard line, the closest they came to the end zone all day.
Whole locker room HYPED.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) January 6, 2020
It couldn’t all be good news, could it?
The Seahawks’ fourth-ranked rushing offense gained just 64 yards, and 45 of those came from Russell Wilson. It would’ve been their lowest total of the regular season, with the next-closest being 72 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1.
However, this section should probably come with a disclaimer. Seattle is playing with a depleted running back group behind a depleted offensive line, and was facing the third-best run defense in the league. Even then, Marshawn Lynch rushed for his second touchdown in as many games.
There is a chance that improves next week against a Green Bay Packers defense that allowed 120 yards per game on average in the regular season. For the sake of comparison, the Eagles averaged 90 rushing yards per game.