Seahawks-Eagles: Seattle Edges Philly for Fourth Straight Win
Less than a minute left, a small lead, and the opponent just a few yards from a game-winning score.
But just like last week, the end result was a Seahawks win—the team's fourth in a row.
Linebacker Lofa Tatupu was the star of the day, with three interceptions and 11 tackles. He started the afternoon by picking off quarterback A.J. Feeley on the Eagles' first play from scrimmage.
Feeley threw four picks on the day, two of which led to Seahawks touchdowns. All of his interceptions were thrown straight at defenders.
With the Seahawks clinging to a four-point lead in the fourth quarter, Brian Westbrook returned a punt 64 yards to the Seattle 14-yard line with 1:16 to play, putting the Eagles in prime scoring position.
But Tatupu sealed the victory with his third interception at the goal line with under 20 seconds to play.
Westbrook again provided the bulk of the offense for Philadelphia, rushing 21 times for 93 yards and a score. He also caught seven balls for 46 yards.
Seattle running back Shaun Alexander made a productive return to the lineup, rushing 20 times for 65 yards and a touchdown. He had an off-and-on day, picking up big gains on some plays and getting stopped for negative yards on others.
Maurice Morris had only five carries, but made them count by gaining 64 yards—45 of which came on a long touchdown run that gave Seattle the lead for good.
The teams combined for 38 points in a wild first half.
Philadelphia responded immediately, driving 65 yards in five plays to tie the game on a 30-yard romp by Correll Buckhalter.
On the Eagles' next drive, Tatupu intercepted Feeley on a play nearly identical to his first pick, and returned the ball to the eight-yard line.
Three plays later, Matt Hasselbeck threw a dart to Bobby Engram over the middle for a 14-7 Seattle lead.
The Eagles subsequently closed the gap to 14-10 on a 31-yard field goal. The big play of the drive was a 47-yard completion to Kevin Curtis on third down that got Philadelphia into the red zone.
After Josh Brown missed a 40-yard field goal attempt—his fifth miss in his last nine tries—the Seahawks forced a three-and-out by the Eagles offense. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Hasselbeck hit a wide-open Nate Burleson across the middle for a 45-yard score and 21-10 Seattle lead.
Philadelphia had a quick answer yet again, punctuating a four-play, 60-yard drive with a 26-yard scoring strike from Feeley to Curtis to make the score 21-17.
The Eagles had an opportunity to take the lead late in the half after a pass interference call on Seahawks cornerback Kelly Jennings put the ball at the one-yard line, but the Seattle defense stuffed Westbrook three times before forcing an incompletion.
Rocky Bernard made the biggest stop with three seconds left in the half, bursting through the line to trip up Westbrook on 4th-and-goal.
The Eagles did manage to take the lead after the break, recovering a fumble by Engram on Seattle's first possession. Westbrook then broke a number of tackles down the sideline on a 29-yard touchdown run.
But Morris broke off his 45-yard score three minutes later to help the 'Hawks reclaim the lead for good.
However, the Philly D did limit Hasselbeck's effectiveness, holding him to just 187 passing yards—his second lowest total of the year—on a 56 percent completion rate.
The Eagles' failure to pressure the passer was partly due to Seattle's success with the run.
In fact, the Seahawks' 135 yards on the ground were their most since Week One against Tampa Bay.
Still, though, the running game had trouble gaining yards when they were most needed.
After the Seahawks forced a turnover on downs with less than two minutes in the game, they needed only to run out the clock to secure the victory.
But Alexander gained just three yards on three carries, forcing Seattle to punt and setting the stage for the last-minute theatrics.
Another trouble spot for Seattle was punter Ryan Plackemeier, who averaged just 30.4 yards per punt and often gave the Eagles excellent field position.
The field goal unit is also a cause for concern. Reports have indicated that there may be communication problems between the long snapper, holder, and kicker.
For all that, the Seahawks won another nail-biter and maintained their two-game lead in the NFC West over Arizona—whom they meet next week in Seattle.
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