SEATTLE - How far have the Seahawks sunk? Opposing coaches visit Seattle and hope their players aren’t overconfident.
That had Andy Reid worried before his streaking Eagles throttled the inept Seahawks 26-7 on Sunday, setting up a huge game with the conference-leading New York Giants (7-1) this Sunday night in Philadelphia.
“I’m proud of the football team for not focusing on them today and for focusing in on the Seahawks,” Reid said after the Eagles (5-3) beat Seattle (2-6) for their third consecutive win.
Donovan McNabb continued what Reid thinks may be his best play since they joined the Eagles together in 1999. McNabb rebounded from early problems to complete 28 of 43 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns, one on a tackle-eligible play to Todd Herremans for Philadelphia’s first TD by an interior lineman in 74 years.
Next for the confident Eagles is the division showdown with the defending Super Bowl champions.
“I like the way the team is playing,” Reid said. “We have a heck of a game coming up here.”
Once the Eagles adjusted to the Seahawks’ pass rush, McNabb continually trumped Seattle’s late-arriving blitzes and its attention on outside receivers Kevin Curtis, Reggie Brown and DeSean Jackson by attacking a vacated middle. Brent Celek, playing because L.J. Smith was out with a concussion, set an Eagles record for yards receiving by a tight end in a regular-season game with 131 on six receptions. His previous career highs were three catches for 50 yards.
McNabb had 10 incompletions and was hit four times in his first 13 throws, but he completed his next 13 passes into the second half and 25 of his final 30 throws.
Philadelphia’s defense held Seattle to just 143 yards over its final 54 plays with the Seahawks again looking dismal with backup Seneca Wallace replacing Matt Hasselbeck. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback needs to return to Los Angeles for a third test with a back surgeon before he can return after missing his fourth game on Sunday.
The Seahawks spiked a pass on third down to force a punt, wasted timeouts, didn’t have enough people on special-teams plays and generally looked as lost as their season.
They punted 11 consecutive times—seven after three-and-outs—following a team-record 90-yard touchdown pass from Wallace to Koren Robinson on the opening play.
Seattle lost for the third time in four home games and is three games out of first place with eight games remaining. Seattle was an NFC-best 42-14 at home since the 2001 season entering this year.
“You don’t play off the crowd’s energy for four quarters,” Seahawks safety Brian Russell said of the home-field advantage. “You execute or you don’t.”
Seattle was missing three Pro Bowl players—including Hasselbeck— with former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch and linebacker Lofa Tatupu out with injuries. Tatupu missed his first game after 55 consecutive starts to begin his career.
“There were a couple times where we looked sloppy, and that I can’t tolerate,” Holmgren said. “I can tolerate a young man maybe not winning because he is going against another good player, but let’s play smart. Let’s do what we are supposed to do—coaches and players.
“(At times) looked like, heck, if I was sitting in the stands, I would ask, ‘What the heck are they doing?’ That leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
The last Eagles’ TD by a lineman was on Oct. 7, 1934, against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Baker Bowl. Bob Gonya caught a 4-yard pass from Dan Barnhardt, a back. It was Barnhardt’s only game for Philadelphia and only pass of his career. … Seattle had won eight consecutive games against the NFC East entering this season. It is 0-2 against the Eagles and Giants, getting outscored 70-13.