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Seahawks nab NFC wild-card road win vs. Eagles

The No. 5 seed Seattle Seahawks are advancing to the NFC Divisional Round, defeating the No. 4 seed Philadelphia Eagles, 17-9, in front of a hostile crowd on the road. The Eagles were firmly placed behind the eight ball midway through the first quarter when Carson Wentz went down with a head injury, forcing 40-year-old Josh McCown to play the duration. Still, with a depleted roster, the Eagles were within reach in the fourth quarter until a deep 36-yard Russell Wilson completion to rookie D.K. Metcalf iced the game with under two minutes.

Here's what we learned as the Seahawks move on to the sixth divisional round playoff game of the Wilson era to face the secon-seeded Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, and the Eagles earn some much-needed rest after clawing their way out of the NFC East and winning their second division title in four seasons.

  1. Survive and advance. The Seahawks made just enough plays in a game between two banged-up squads to hang on late against the Eagles. Russell Wilson overcame suspect blocking to spin magic in key moments to will Seattle to victory. Wilson was his best on third downs, repeatedly moving the chains on third-and-longs with big strikes and with his legs. Wilson's 325 yards passing and team-leading 45 yards rushing propelled an offense that gobbled up 382 total yards. Wilson escaped pressure with aplomb, getting sacked just once against a defense that took him down six times in their previous meeting. The QB took advantage of Philly's secondary with a host of splash plays. It was apropos that the game-icing play came on a 36-yard bomb to D.K. Metcalf, who had a brilliant first playoff tilt. The Seahawks didn't light up the scoreboard, and the ground game was stymied, with Marshawn Lynch and Travis Homer held to 19 yards rushing on 17 carries, with Beast Mode bulldozing for one TD. But they had the best player on the field in Wilson, and that was enough to move to the Divisional Round.
  1. Carson Wentz's first playoff game lasted just two series. The starting quarterback, who ended the past two seasons on IR, was knocked from the game with a head injury after he was crushed from behind by Seahawks edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney. It was a brutal way for Wentz's season to end after he played through injuries that pillaged the rest of his offensive unit. Josh McCown entered the fray. The 40-year-old quarterback, making his first playoff appearance, played as admirably as could be expected. McCown, seemingly putting his entire body into every throw, made some strikes and managed the offense. The backup, however, couldn't do enough with decimated weaponry that has plagued the Eagles all season. Lacking consistent explosiveness, the Eagles offense was stymied with drives stalling short of the end zone several times, settling for three field goals. Struggling in the red zone (0-2) on third downs (3-11) and fourth downs (0-2) will happen with a backup quarterback. While Miles Sanders showed some pop on several dynamic runs, the Eagles just didn't have enough power to survive all the injuries that piled up this season. McCown taking his sixth sack of the game on fourth down in range to potentially tie the score after the two-minute warning summed up the game. The Eagles were good enough to get in position, but didn't have enough to finish.
  1. Metcalf dominated. The rookie receiver destroyed the Eagles' secondary for seven receptions on nine targets for 160 yards, including a 53-yard TD. Metcalf did his damage all over the field, bodying defenders, ripping off yards after the catch, and blowing past defenders for deep gains. With the Eagles keying on Tyler Lockett, Seattle needed the No. 2 receiver to have a big game. Metcalf enjoyed the biggest. The 160 yards marked the most of his rookie season. The big-bodied receiver showed he's more than a one-trick pony Sunday night, constantly making himself available for Wilson. Oh, and he can still burn defenders deep. After falling to the end of the second round in the draft, Metcalf displayed he can be a difference-maker in Seattle.
  1. Fletcher Cox deserves some love. The defensive tackle seemingly single-handedly stymied the Seahawks for long stretches of the game. While he wasn't credited with a sack, the defensive tackle was consistently in the backfield blowing up play after play, earning two tackles for loss and a QB hit. Much of Cox's influence won't show up in the box score, but he was a game-wrecker up front, constantly in Wilson's face and helping slow Seattle's run game. Alas, with the secondary once again getting shredded, the Eagles defense couldn't make game-changing plays when needed and didn't get enough help from the offense.
  1. The road win keeps the Seahawks' season alive. Seattle will travel to Green Bay to face the Packers next Sunday, Jan. 12, at 6:40 p.m. ET. This Seahawks team has battled through injuries, won in hostile environments, and spun just enough magic to continue their season. Facing a rested Packers team on the road in January will provide the biggest challenge yet. Seattle will need a repeat performance from Metcalf and more magic from Wilson to overcome Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field.
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