Since the 8-4 Seahawks are playing at 9-3 Philadelphia Sunday, this question arose: When was the last time that the Seahawks, playing in Week 14 or later, won a regular-season game in the Eastern time zone against an opponent with a winning record? Answer: 11 years, 11 months and 20 days ago, and the Seahawks required overtime to get the job done.
Coached by Mike Holmgren, they were in Atlanta Dec. 15, 2002, to face the 8-4-1 Falcons, led by Michael Vick, whose 12-yard touchdown pass to Trevor Gaylor with 21 seconds remaining forced the extra session.
Atlanta got first crack in OT and had victory in sight when Jay Feely lined up for a 36-yard field goal. But he inexplicably shanked it, giving the Seahawks an opportunity. On the seventh play of their drive, Shaun Alexander burst for a 27-yard touchdown and the Seahawks left town with a 30-24 win.
That’s not only the last time the Seahawks won in Week 14 or later in the East against an opponent with a winning record, it’s the only time in franchise history. Keep that in mind when the Seahawks and Eagles tee it up Sunday.
“This is really an exciting week — a big trip for us going against a terrific team,” said coach Pete Carroll. “I feel good about the challenge and am looking forward to it.”
Even with expanded parameters, mainly by eliminating the time zone constraint, Seahawks’ road victories this time of year — anywhere — are relatively rare. Since 1976, they have won 27 times on foreign soil in Week 14 or later. But only 11 of those came against teams with winning records at the time of the game. The 11 victories (opponents that made the playoffs are listed in bold):
|1978||Nov. 26||13||Raiders||8-4||17-16||Efren Herrera 46 FG to win|
|1979||Dec. 16||16||Raiders||9-6||29-24||Jim Zorn 2 TD passes|
|1984||Nov. 25||13||Broncos||11-1||27-24||Dave Krieg 2 TD passes|
|1986||Nov. 27||13||Cowboys||7-5||31-13||Curt Warner 122 yards, TD|
|1987||Dec. 20||14||Bears||10-3||34-21||Curt Warner 2 TDs|
|1989||Dec. 10||14||Bengals||7-6||24-17||Curt Warner winning TD|
|1995||Dec. 10||14||Broncos||9-5||31-27||Chris Warren winning TD|
|2002||Dec. 15||14||Falcons||8-4-1||30-24||Shaun Alexander 2 TDs|
|2002||Dec. 29||16||Chargers||8-7||25-22||Rian Lindell 54 FG to win|
|2004||Dec. 12||13||Vikings||7-5||27-23||2 Josh Brown FGs to win|
|2011||Dec. 18||14||Bears||7-6||38-14||Marshawn Lynch 2 TDs|
Of the 11, only three came against a team that qualified for the postseason: at Denver Nov. 25, 1984, at Chicago Dec. 20, 1987, and at Atlanta Dec. 15, 2002. That Seahawks-Falcons game was the only one of the three played in the Eastern time zone.
While a win by the Seahawks Sunday in Philly wouldn’t be one of a kind, it will be two of a kind if the Eagles, who currently own the NFC’s No. 3 seed, reach the playoffs.
The Seahawks have won their last two at Franklin Financial Field and the Eagles aren’t much of a favorite – a mere point – but they have won 10 consecutive at home (6-0 this season) and are 3-1 in Mark Sanchez’s starts at quarterback. In those games, the Eagles, who feature the NFL’s No. 4-ranked offense, have outscored their opponents by an average of 40-18.
It’s not surprising that RB DeMarco Murray of Dallas, who has 11 100-yard games, leads the NFL in explosive running plays – 41 that have gone for 10 or more yards, including 13 that he broke for 20 or more.
It’s more surprising that Justin Forsett, the former Seahawk now playing for Baltimore, ranks second with 35, considering that he only got a chance to start after the Ravens threw Ray Rice, now trying to talk his way back into the league, under the bus.
Russell Wilson ranks third with 28 explosive plays – in 91 attempts. His percentage of such runs – 30.7 – easily leads the NFL.
Wilson is the only quarterback ranked among the top 10 and has more such plays than Marshawn Lynch (27), Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy (27), Pittsburgh’s Le’Von Bell (27) and Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy (26), whom the Seahawks will see Sunday. Players with 25 or more explosive runs:
|DeMarco Murray||Dal||RB||320||13||41||51 vs. Wash, 44 vs. StL|
|Justin Forsett||Bal||RB||179||13||35||52 vs. Tampa, 41 vs. Pitt|
|Russell Wilson||Sea||QB||91||5||28||52 vs. StL, 40 vs. Arizona|
|Eddie Lacy||GB||RB||175||3||27||37 vs. Phil, 29 vs. Minn|
|Marshawn Lynch||Sea||RB||212||5||27||33 vs. Ariz, 32 vs. Dallas|
|Le’Von Bell||Pitt||RB||216||6||27||81 vs. Carolina, 38 vs. Clev|
|LeSean McCoy||Phil||RB||242||6||26||53 vs. Tenn, 38 vs. Dallas|
|Arian Foster||Hou||RB||180||7||25||43 vs. Tenn, 40 vs. Oak|
With 28, Wilson has more explosive plays than the next two quarterbacks – Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles (11) and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick (10) – have combined. No quarterback has had more explosive runs than Wilson since Vick’s 44 in 2006.
With 679 rushing yards, Wilson is on pace for 905. Lynch is on track for 927. If they both reach 1,000 — the Seahawks have never had two 1,000-yard rushers — they will become the seventh pair to surpass 1,000 in a season and the second running back-quarterback tandem, following RB Warrick Dunn (1,140) and QB Vick (1,039) of Atlanta in 2006.
Wilson’s 679 yards would have led the Seahawks in six years: 1976 (Sherman Smith, 537), 1980 (Jim Jodat, 632), 1981 (Theotis Brown, 531), 1984 (David Hughes, 327), 1989 (Chris Warren, 631) and 2009 (Julius Jones, 663).