Lynch carries Seahawks to 31-14 win over Eagles
Friday, December 2, 2011
SEATTLE (AP) — Marshawn Lynch loves the prime-time stage, even if he's rarely given such a spotlight.
But he wasn't about to accept any praise on a night when he certainly deserved it.
"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 a very brief locker room appearance. "Thank you."
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 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.
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.
"He fights for every yard, every carry he gets," Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson said. "It's like every carry is his last carry."
Lynch had 90 yards by halftime, 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.
"The guy blows my mind every time we step on the field," Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said.
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. 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.
"There is no grief in touchdowns. The slowest touchdown, the fastest touchdown equals seven," Hawthorne said while teammates yelled "slow" in the background.
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. Seattle safety Earl Thomas jumped Young's primary target and by the time he came back to McCoy, Hawthorne was ready for the pass.
"He was expecting him to be open and he wasn't," Hawthorne said.
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. But he was upstaged by Lynch.
"He was the key today to their offense," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "And we didn't do a very good job of stopping him."
On first-and-goal at the 15, Lynch 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.
Lynch's second touchdown was an opportunity for him to show off his open-field speed. As the flow of the play went to Lynch's left, he immediately cut back right and found open field, beating the Eagles defense to the corner and going 40 yards untouched.
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. ... Browner had the first two-interception game of his career.
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