Lynch carries Seahawks to 31-14 win over Eagles
SEATTLE—During his time playing in San Francisco, Michael Robinson said the mention of the Seattle Seahawks came with a label no NFL team wants to have.
"I've been playing against the Seahawks for four or five years and the identity used to always be that they were soft," said Robinson, now Seattle's starting fullback. "And we're trying to change that identity."
Marshawn Lynch is certainly doing his part to help the Seahawks shed that image.
Seattle's hard-charging running back bulled through Philadelphia for 148 yards and a pair of first-half touchdowns, David Hawthorne returned the third of Vince Young's four interceptions 77 yards for a score, and the Seahawks rolled to a 31-14 victory Thursday that added to the Eagles' miserable season.
Lynch ran into and escaped from a massive pileup for a 15-yard TD run in the first quarter, then made a quick cut and went back against the flow for a 40-yard scoring dash on the first play of the second quarter to give the Seahawks (5-7) a 14-0 lead.
It was the second-best performance of Lynch's career and a capper to what has been his finest stretch as a pro. Lynch never had consecutive 100-yard rushing games until a few weeks ago. Now he's done it in four of Seattle's past five, and the only time he didn't, Lynch had 88 yards in a victory over St. Louis.
His first-quarter, escape-act touchdown against Philadelphia (4-8) gave Lynch eight straight games with at least one score and added a highlight reminiscent of his famous tackle-breaking, 67-yard TD run in last year's NFC playoffs against New Orleans.
It's all adding up to more dollars likely coming Lynch's way. He's a free agent after the season.
But on a night he deserved praise, Lynch was deferring praise to others before he jetting out of the locker room with the same elusiveness he showed the Eagles.
"It was all about the offensive line. We managed the game, we came out victorious, everybody's happy, and now we're on to our break," Lynch said during his brief locker room appearance. "Thank you."
Golden Tate's 11-yard, toe-tapping touchdown grab along the back edge of the end zone in the third quarter on a pass from Tarvaris Jackson pushed Seattle's cushion to 17. Jackson finished 13 of 16 for 190 yards and the one TD pass.
But the Seahawks' third victory in their last four games wasn't secured until Hawthorne stepped in front of a swing pass intended for LeSean McCoy and raced untouched in the other direction with 4:24 left. It was Hawthorne's third interception of the season, but he was getting plenty of grief from his teammates for the length of time it took him to get to the end zone.
And of course, the first guy to greet Hawthorne in the end zone was Lynch running off the sideline without his helmet.
"They have not backed off yet, there's no time. Maybe some teams quit at this time of year, but we're still trying to do something," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "We're still trying to get something accomplished this year."
Making his third straight start in place of Michael Vick, out with two broken ribs, Young couldn't find the same magic he did in the 2006 Rose Bowl when he led Texas to an upset of Carroll and USC.
Young's first pass of the night was an awful interception thrown right to Seattle safety Kam Chancellor and nowhere near an Eagles receiver. Young was intercepted in the third quarter as well when a perfect pass deflected off the hands of Riley Cooper and into the hands of cornerback Brandon Browner. Both turnovers led to Seattle touchdowns.
Then came a pass for McCoy when Young clearly didn't see Hawthorne, ruining the Eagles' last chance to rally. Seattle safety Earl Thomas jumped Young's primary target and by the time he came back to McCoy, Hawthorne was ready for the pass.
"That was just a bum-head play on my part. I should have known there was a man there," Young said. "I just lost a linebacker when I released it. He just popped into the picture. That's all on the quarterback's fault. I saw the coverage, I saw the man, I just lost a linebacker on that route."
Young added one more interception in the final moments, another one grabbed by Browner that left the quarterback with a career-high four picks.
Young finished 17 of 29 for 208 yards. McCoy got more chances than he did last Sunday against New England when he touched the ball just 14 times, a number that drew criticism from Eagles fans believing the leading rusher in the NFL deserved more opportunities.
McCoy finished with 84 yards on 17 carries and added another four catches for 49 yards, including a 2-yard TD grab that drew the Eagles within 24-14 with 12:51 left in the game. But he was upstaged by Lynch.
"This is really tough. Knowing that this is a good team, but I feel like we are a better team, no disrespect to them," McCoy said. "They played hard, but knowing that they are a good team, but we are far, far better. Way more talented. We didn't get it done. We played poorly today."
The quick bounce-back by the Seahawks only magnified their missed chance last Sunday when they blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead and lost 23-17 to Washington. Even with the win over Philadelphia and another home game coming up against St. Louis, any hopes the Seahawks have of jumping into the playoff race are likely gone.
"We felt like we let one go last week and that was all we could think about," Hawthorne said. "So to come on a fast week and get it out this fast, it's a positive."
Notes: Carroll thinks LT Russell Okung may have a serious pectoral injury sustained in the closing seconds. ... Lynch's career high was 153 yards rushing against Cincinnati with Buffalo in 2007. ... Philadelphia CB Nnamdi Asomugha left in the first half with a head/neck injury and did not return. ... Philadelphia fell to 5-2 in Thursday night games. ... Jackson's 137.0 QB rating was the best of his career.
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