Eagles can't stop Seahawks' Lynch

Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch scores on 40-yard run in second quarter.
Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch scores on 40-yard run in second quarter. (RON CORTES / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: December 02, 2011

SEATTLE - There have been precious few positives for the Eagles' defense this season. They entered last night's game against Seattle ranked 21st in the league in points allowed, 15th in yards allowed, a pitiful 32nd in red-zone defense, and have squandered a disgraceful five fourth-quarter leads.

The one area they had shown improvement in during this train wreck of a season was their run defense. After allowing 140.2 rushing yards per game and 5.0 yards per carry in their first five games, they had held their last six opponents to 85.3 and 3.6.

Going up against a quarterback - Tarvaris Jackson - who was playing with a partially torn pectoral muscle in his chest, and who had managed to complete just 55 percent of his passes and throw seven interceptions in the previous five games, the Eagles knew that if they could contain Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, they likely would lug home their fifth victory on the cross-country flight back to Philadelphia.

That turned out to be easier said than done.

The bad tackling that has plagued Juan Castillo's defense much of the season was its downfall once again in a 31-14 loss that, once and for all, put an end to the silly it-ain't-over-until-it's-over talk.

It's over.

Lynch, a slashing runner who is as good a tackle-breaker as there is in the league, rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries against the Eagles, including 90 in the first half when the Seahawks built a 17-7 lead. A good many of his yards came after at least one Eagles defender, and often more than one, got a hand on him.

"The fact that we were able to run the ball from the first quarter on against them was just big for us," said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. "Marshawn was a monster tonight. He gave us a big lift."

Lynch is the fifth running back to rush for 100 yards against the Eagles this season, joining the Falcons' Michael Turner (21 carries, 114 yards), the 49ers' Frank Gore (15-127), the Bills' Fred Jackson (26-111) and the Bears' Matt Forte (24-133). It's becoming a less exclusive club than AARP.

Lynch had three runs of 15-plus yards in the first half, including a 15-yard touchdown run on the Seahawks' second possession in which he appeared to be stopped. But several Eagles defenders failed to wrap him up. He kept his legs churning, emerged from the pile and made it into the end zone.

"It looked like there were a lot of bodies around him," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "And obviously, nobody got a hold of him. He was able to squirt through. Our guys tried to jump on him and obviously nobody grabbed him."

Obviously.

Asked if there was a lack of effort by his defensive players on Lynch's 15-yard touchdown run, Reid said, "You're stating the obvious. If you have a lot of bodies around a guy, then we have to get him down. Everybody's got to make that team-effort to do that."

Said Seahawks guard Robert Gallery: "It's one of those where you're blocking a guy and you think [Lynch] is down and you turn around and he's running to the end zone. Credit to him and the way he runs. He gives us a spark and he doesn't need much up front and he can bust it."

On the Seahawks' second scoring drive, the Eagles again did a poor job of wrapping up Lynch as he broke free for a 16-yard gain on a second-and-2 play. Later, on the same drive, Lynch used an interstate-wide lane created by a trap-block on left end Jason Babin to spring 40 yards for his second touchdown, which gave Seattle a 14-0 lead.

"He was the key today to their offense," Reid said. "And we didn't do a very good job of stopping him."

"We had hoped to run the football and control the tempo of the game against them," Carroll said. "We did what we set out to do in this game."

The Eagles were the fourth team Lynch has rushed for 100-plus yards against in the last five games.

"He's a freak, just a freak," said defensive end Trent Cole. "I don't know how to explain it. We've just got to wrap up and lay people down."

They'll have plenty of time to practice in the offseason.

Lynch's rushing success took the pressure off Jackson, who finished with a career-high, complete-game, 137.0 passer rating. The same guy who completed just 14 of 30 passes against the Redskins last week, was 13-for-16 against the Eagles.

THUMBS UP:

To special-teams ace Colt Anderson, who tore his left anterior cruciate ligament on punt coverage in the second quarter, but still limped off the field and into the locker room without any help.

THUMBS DOWN:

-- To Andy Reid, whose time-management shortcomings boiled to the surface again late in the first half when he failed to use his final timeout prior to Steven Hauschka's 49-yard field goal with 16 seconds left that gave the Seahawks a 17-7 lead. If he had used it, he could have given his offense more than a minute to try and drive down into field goal range.

-- To quarterback Vince Young, who was absolutely awful in last night's loss. If he had hoped to use this season as a launching pad to a starting job with another team next season, he's going to be in a for a big surprise. I understand he didn't sign with the Eagles until right before the start of training camp, but his accuracy problems and his decision-making has been what you'd expect from a rookie not a 6-year veteran.

DID YOU NOTICE?:

-- Offensive lineman King Dunlap was inactive for the third straight game. He was diagnosed with a concussion after the Nov. 13 loss to Arizona and still hasn't been able to pass his concussion test.

-- The Eagles' captains for last night's game were defensive end Darryl Tapp, fullback Owen Schmitt and right guard Danny Watkins. Tapp and Schmitt played for the Seahawks. Watkins is from Kelowna, British Columbia, which is 300 miles from Seattle.

-- The Seahawks were penalized on the first play of the game, getting flagged for an illegal shift when they tried to get a play off before picking up a delay-of-game penalty.

-- Keenan Clayton was used in two-linebacker nickel packages with Jamar Chaney.

-- DeSean Jackson inexplicably let the Seahawks' first punt to him bounce, then called a fair catch on the second one before anyone was close.

-- LeSean McCoy's 20-yard, first-quarter run came out of a two-tight end set with Clay Harbor lined up wide left.

-- The nice block by fullback Owen Schmitt on McCoy's 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Schmitt took out safety Earl Thomas, creating the seam for McCoy.

-- The wham block on left end Jason Babin that opened the interstate-wide lane for Marshawn Lynch on his 40-yard, second-quarter touchdown run.

-- The Eagles lost their best special-teams player, Colt Anderson, to a torn left ACL on a second-quarter punt. Anderson, who is from Montana, had more than 100 friends and family at the game. He limped off the field and into the locker room by himself.

-- Rookie Jaiquawn Jarrett replaced struggling safety Nate Allen in the second quarter, but Allen later returned to the game.

-- The Eagles didn't have a possession in the first half longer than five plays.

-- Andy Reid lost just his second replay challenge of the season in the first quarter when he threw the red hanky on Kam Chancellor's interception of Vince Young. Reid had been 7-for-8 on replay challenges going into the game.

BY THE NUMBERS:

-- In the first half of his three starts, Vince Young has completed only 22 of 48 attempts for 365 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.

-- The Eagles have lost four of their last six prime-time games, including three of five this season.

-- The loss was only the Eagles' 15th in 50 games in December under Andy Reid. Their 35-15 (.700) December record since 1999 is the second in the league to the Patriots, who are 40-10 (.800).

-- The Eagles are 3-3 on the road this season and 1-5 at home.

-- With two more touchdowns, LeSean McCoy has 15 this season. That's second in franchise history behind only Steve Van Buren, who had 18 in 1945. It was the sixth multitouchdown game of McCoy's career. McCoy has scored a touchdown in 11 of 12 games this season.

-- Riley Cooper had five catches for 94 yards. After not catching any passes in the first nine games, he has 13 receptions for 240 yards in the last three games.

-- Six of the 22 interceptions the Eagles have thrown this season have come on their first or second possessions. They've scored only 38 points on their first and second possessions in 12 games.

-- Jason Babin's first-quarter sack was only his second first-quarter sack of the season.

-- DeSean Jackson has only two 100-yard receiving performances this season and only three in his last 19 starts. He has only one touchdown catch in his last 10 starts and only three in his last 18.

-- LeSean McCoy is averaging 4.76 yards per carry in the first quarter this season and 4.27 in the second quarter.

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