Lynch carries Seahawks to 31-14 win over Eagles
SEATTLE (AP) – Marshawn Lynch loves the prime-time stage, even if he’s rarely given such a spotlight.
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 night that only 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.
Golden Tate’s 11-yard, toe-tapping touchdown grab along the back edge of the end zone in the third quarter pushed Seattle’s cushion to 17 over the Eagles (4-8).
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.
Making his third straight start in place of Michael Vick and his 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 Pete 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. For good measure, Young added one more interception in the final moments, giving him 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. But he was upstaged by Lynch.
For the fourth time in five games, Lynch topped 100 yards – and the one time he didn’t, he finished with 88 yards in a victory over St. Louis. He had 90 yards by halftime on Thursday night, the most first-half yards rushing in his career. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry and almost immediately provided a spark the Seahawks needed on a short week.
And he did it while battling an upset stomach that occasionally forced him to the sideline.
Following Young’s first interception, Seattle got down to the Eagles 10 on a 26-yard third-down completion from quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to Ben Obomanu. A penalty backed Seattle up 5 yards, but that only provided Lynch more room for theatrics.
On first-and-goal at the 15, he ran into a massive crowd near the 10. He got lost in the pile, wiggled out of the arms of linebacker Jamar Chaney and suddenly burst into the end zone, a run that was reminiscent of his 67-yard, tackle-breaking touchdown gallop in the playoffs last season against New Orleans.
Lynch’s second touchdown was an opportunity for him to show off his open-field speed, and it came after another important third-down conversion, this time a 21-yard pass from Jackson to rookie Doug Baldwin on third-and-7. On the next snap, the flow of the play went to Lynch’s left, but he immediately cut back right and found open field, beating the Eagles defense to the corner and going 40 yards untouched.
It was the second-most yards rushing in Lynch’s career, behind the 153 he had in his rookie season with Buffalo against Cincinnati.
Tate’s second straight game with a touchdown grab seemed to wrap up the victory. Tate outdueled a double-team at the back of the end zone and hauled in the toss from Jackson to give Seattle a 24-7 lead. Jackson finished 13 of 16 for 190 yards and a touchdown.
But 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.
Meanwhile, the misery only continued for Philadelphia. The Eagles played without QB Michael Vick, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and WR Jeremy Maclin, then lost CB Nnamdi Asomugha to a neck/head injury late in the first half.
Still, Philadelphia pulled within 24-14 early in the fourth quarter when Young led a 17-play, 80-yard drive that ate up more than 10 minutes of the clock. The drive included a fourth-down conversion inside the Seahawks 10 and was capped on a 2-yard shovel pass from Young to McCoy.
Young then drove the Eagles inside the Seattle 35 on their next possession with a chance to make it a one-score game, but failed to see Hawthorne lurking in the flat.