Seattle Seahawk Running back J.D. McKissic making a 15-yard touchdown reception against the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter.
Seattle Seahawk Running back J.D. McKissic making a 15-yard touchdown reception against the Eagles in the fourth quarter. Jonathan Ferrey/Getty

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Sunday morning Facebook reminded me that four years ago, the Seahawks pulled off a dominant Monday night win over the Saints in 2013 that asserted the Pete Carroll/Russell Wilson era as a dynastic force in the NFL. It’s tough to remember, but a mere four years ago, this was still a snakebitten Seahawks franchise. While all the pieces of a great football team were in place, the notion that the Seahawks would put the whole package together and make the leap from promising to great still seemed profoundly unlikely.

When I saw that anniversary, I realized this Sunday’s equally massive tilt against the Philadelphia Eagles could go one of two ways. Either the Eagles would establish themselves as the new dynastic force to be reckoned with in the NFC, or the Seahawks would reassert their presence in the conference—reminding the league that coming to Seattle in primetime is no small task—while stoking the embers of a Russell Wilson MVP campaign.

Well, folks, good news! I’m here to tell you we got the latter outcome, the one with the (premature but still lovely) Russell Wilson MVP talk and the Seahawks dynasty emerging intact. Seattle put together their most comprehensive and impressive win of the season, taking down the NFC leading Philadelphia Eagles 24-10. It was a game devoid of the team’s previous stumbling blocks. Penalties? Few and far between. Injuries? None of significance. Slow start? The Seahawks opened up with 10 first quarter points against a team that had allowed zero first quarter touchdowns all season. Poor offensive line play? The offensive line was largely fine.

Instead, the crowd was loud and Russell Wilson was in command of the offense, while the injury-plagued defense held an Eagles team coming in on a tear of 30 point games almost completely in check. This was a bizarro Seahawks game, in which a favored opponent decided to do us the favor of shooting themselves in the foot early, while the Seahawks put four quarters of well-executed, well-coached football together. It was goddamn delightful.

Even more delightful? I get to whisper Super Bowl in this column space again. Suuuupppeerrrr Booowwwwllll. See? No one can stop me. This Seahawks team is really good, poised to make the playoffs and do some damage. Let’s break down the specifics:

• John Schneider’s acquisition of Sheldon Richardson has paid massive dividends for this team. He was again involved in the most important play of the game, stripping Carson Wentz as the Eagles quarterback dove for a potential game-tying touchdown. Richardson continues to make game-changing plays once or twice a game, while also making big-small impacts all over the field. Big, because he’s a big dude who can move offensive linemen around at will. Small because he’s not racking up massive stats so much as he’s consistently creating small disruptions for opposing offenses that funnel the ball towards our linebackers, who then put up the big numbers.

• John Schneider’s acquisition of Jimmy Graham took a little longer to payoff than Richardson’s, but hot damn, the guy just cannot stop scoring touchdowns. He’s got nine over eight games, and that run has coincided magically with the team as a whole becoming far more effective in the red zone. Fancy that! It seems like the offensive troika of Wilson, Graham and coordinator Darrell Bevel have figured out what it takes to get Graham isolated on defenders, which they then exploit with a couple different routes that all allow Wilson to deliver the ball to Graham with one guy to beat, but without just throwing up a hopeful fade. It’s all very cool and good and damn near impossible to defend. I would like for it to continue indefinitely.

• Russell Wilson is not the MVP of the league right now. Sorry. Tom Brady is. Brady is playing better and his team has more wins. BUT! Russell Wilson may well be the second most valuable player in the league, the volume of work that he’s responsible for within the offense being the tiebreaker between him and other non-Brady superstar quarterbacks. And there’s no shame in being second best to Tom Brady, except for that one time when the Seahawks were second best to Tom Brady… and let’s just move on before I give myself nightmares.

• A good thing is when a defense sells out on a blitz and plays Cover-0 against Russell Wilson, leaving Doug Baldwin one-on-one with a defensive back who has no help from a safety over the top. It’s a panic move from a defensive coordinator, essentially throwing their hands up and saying, “if four guys can’t bring down Russ, maybe six or seven can.” But they cannot. It never works. And it really didn’t work on Sunday as the Eagles' big blitz served only to give Russ and Doug the easiest 47 yards of their careers. Good, good stuff.

• The Seahawks offensive line is fine right now. Let me repeat: the Seahawks offensive line is fine right now. HOW COOL IS THAT!!?!?!! For the first two months of the season, they were varying shades of dreadful. Now, with a line up that includes left tackle Duane Brown, rookie Ethan Pocic and the no-longer-injured Luke Joeckel, the offensive line is fine! They’re an average to slightly above-average pass blocking unit and a slightly below-average run blocking unit. Germain Ifedi ONLY had one egregious penalty on Sunday. It’s all so good and fine!

Russell Wilson gets to survey the field before dodging three or four rushers. New starting running back Mike Davis is able to make a guy miss and not immediately get hit by three other guys. IT’S AMAZINGLY FINE!!!!

• Byron Maxwell got scorched twice on crazy plays when Carson Wentz did his “I’m a tall but awkward version of Russell Wilson” thing, but otherwise did an admirable job filling in for Richard Sherman. Meanwhile, Bradley McDougald racked up 12 tackles in relief for Kam Chancellor. Are the Seahawks as good without Kam and Richard around? No. But are they fucked the way they were last year when they slotted in Steven Terrell for an injured Earl Thomas? Also no!

• Bobby Wagner tackles NFL running backs and tight ends with the effectiveness of a preschool teacher picking up toddlers and putting them in timeout. They just stop moving. It’s crazy not only how good Wagner is when he’s making big plays, but also how few tackles he misses. Russell Wilson may not have an MVP resume as of now, but Bobby Wagner definitely has a defensive player of the year resume all polished and ready to show to potential voters.

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• What a fun game that was! All credit to the coaches, Pete Carroll, Kris Richard and Darrell Bevel for having excellent gameplans and getting the team prepared to not just win, but do so in a fashion that didn’t make me want to throw things all night. Great stuff! Now the Seahawks have to travel to Jacksonville where…

Yeesh. Folks. I gotta warn you. This could be VERY unpleasant. The Jaguars have the best pass defense in the league since the 2013 Seahawks. They roll out four incredible pass rushers, including notorious Russell Wilson sacker Calais Campbell. They have a cornerback duo in Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye that rivals the peak of the Legion of Boom. It’s going to be a long day for Russ.


The good news? The Seahawks defense that just squeezed the life out of a world-class Eagles offense now gets to take on Blake Bortles. There is no reason to think either team will score any points on Sunday. As fun as beating the Eagles was, beating the Jaguars won’t be fun, and there’s no guarantee we do. But… if we do… this team will be VERY well positioned to get back to the Super Bowl. And I plan on being as insufferable as the Jaguars defense if that happens.