SEATTLE – If you’re walking around today with a rejuvenated faith in the Seattle Seahawks, you’re not alone.
The national media was nearly unanimous in its praise of the Seahawks’ 24-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, with many deeming Seattle a playoff threat and Russell Wilson a serious candidate for the NFL’s MVP award.
ESPN’s Brady Henderson wrote that the win shows the Seahawks can still go toe to toe with anybody in the NFL:
Leave it to the Seahawks to save their best football for prime time. They improved to 22-4-1 in such games since Carroll took over in 2010, the best record in the NFL during that span. One of those four losses came two weeks ago on a Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons, and it was the Seahawks' second straight defeat at home.
Just when it seemed as if the Seahawks had lost their magic touch at CenturyLink Field and that their season might end without a playoff berth for the first time since 2011, they turned in their most impressive performance of the year.
USA Today’s Lindsay H. Jones wrote that the Seahawks look primed for a strong late-season run:
When the Las Vegas sportsbooks made the Philadelphia Eagles a six-point favorite heading into Sunday’s game at Seattle, the oddsmakers might have overlooked the history of December.
This is Russell Wilson’s month, and once again the Seahawks quarterback proved it in a 24-10 upset win. It was a statement on a national stage, and one Seattle players hope can launch yet another playoff push.
Wilson covers the Seahawks’ specific blemishes. He avoids pass rushers who crash through or around outmatched linemen. He creates time for receivers to break free. He helps Seattle’s running game just with his presence, forcing a defender to be responsible for him in the read-option. He would be great on any team, but the Seahawks are built around his strengths erasing their weaknesses.
Wilson has held the Seahawks together even as their vaunted defense has suffered the losses of Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and Cliff Avril to season-ending injuries. The Seahawks’ defense still has plenty of firepower, particularly defensive player of the year candidate Bobby Wagner, who has been the best linebacker in the NFL this season, by a wide margin, according to Pro Football Focus.
Still, there is no doubt who makes Seattle go. The Seahawks are a heavily-flawed team that remains in the playoff hunt because Wilson is their quarterback. He is one of the best players in the NFL, and he deserves consideration as the most valuable.
Seattle have now played themselves into a wildcard spot with four games to play. They are 8-4 and just a game behind the Rams who come to Seattle in two weeks. Given the way the defense rattled Wentz and the Eagles and the way Wilson keeps making plays when no plays seem possible, there is every reason to believe Wright.
Don’t sleep on the Seahawks.
They may just be waking up for their time of year.
Currently, Wilson has accounted for more than 86 per cent of his team’s yards. Not passing yards — yards from scrimmage, period. The NFL says that would be the highest percentage since the Super Bowl era began, and if the Seahawks manage a playoff spot after losing the most integral parts of their secondary, and without having a 500-yard rusher (aside from Wilson, of course) in the backfield, I’m not sure why there’s even a need to vote.
But it’s the way he orchestrates everything, when nothing around him is perfect, that separates Wilson from most.
He’s grown as a passer, which adds to the knack for late-game situations he’s always had. He doesn’t have to be running around to make plays anymore, though the reality of the Seahawks offensive line is that he’s usually running for his life.
But he keeps producing, even if it’s on his own. He’s either rushed or passed for 29 of the Seahawks’ 30 touchdowns this season, a remarkable stat which ought to put him in the conversation for the league’s most valuable player honors.
And more importantly, he’s moved them to 8-4, within a game of the Rams for the top of the NFC West, and they have a win over their division rivals in their pocket, with a Week 15 game at their place looming.
Wilson will have starrier games than 20 of 31 for 227 yards, three touchdowns and no picks, with 31 rushing yards added. But there was something about Wilson’s command in the 24-10 win over Philadelphia, breaking the Eagles’ nine-game winning streak. It was a brilliant performance against a team than had won each of its last three games by 28 points, and included the kind of abracadabra plays—including one back-pass that replays showed may have been a forward lateral in the second half—that made me go, “WHOA!” Seattle doesn’t have much margin for error now, at 8-4 in a power conference and with Jacksonville and the Rams on the schedule in the next two weeks. Wilson played this game as if it was the most important game of the season. It was.