Four interceptions, Lynch's running lift Seahawks past Eagles
David Hawthorne nips big Eagles drive with an interception.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Seahawks ran away with this game.
That was the play-by-play description of linebacker David Hawthorne's game-cinching interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was also the storyline for Seattle's 31-14 victory over Philadelphia at CenturyLink Field that stands as the Seahawks' most complete performance this season.
Marshawn Lynch ran over, through and around the Eagles to the tune of 148 yards — the most by any Seahawk in five years, and then when Philadelphia was threatening to make a game of it, Hawthorne took off in the other direction. Seattle's middle linebacker — who wasn't even sure he would be able to play because of a sore knee — stepped in front of Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy for an interception he returned 77 yards for a touchdown.
"When I caught the ball," Hawthorne said, "I was like, 'Man, I know the end zone is this way, why haven't I got there yet?' "
You could say the same thing about this season for Seattle. Three-quarters of the way through, the Seahawks are just now finding their finishing kick.
"Maybe some teams quit this time of year," coach Pete Carroll said, "but we're still trying to do something. We're still trying to get something accomplished."
The Eagles entered the game as one of the league's most profound — and dangerous — disappointments. They were 4-7, but they also had an offense that ranked third in the league in yardage and featured the league's leading rusher in McCoy.
He scored twice, but that was about the extent of the offensive fireworks from Philadelphia. The Eagles gained just 142 yards in the first half, and trailed by double digits throughout the second half. With five minutes to go, the Eagles trailed by 10 and had the ball at the Seattle 30, summoning memories of Seattle's collapse just four days earlier.
It was just Sunday that Seattle lost a 10-point lead in the final 12 minutes against Washington, costing itself a chance to win a third consecutive game. Thursday night — with the rest of the country watching — the Seahawks didn't just hold onto that lead. They slammed the door.
"It felt good to get that taste out of our mouth," Hawthorne said. "We felt like we let one go last week, and that's all we could think about."
Now, Seattle has a victory that its coach was admittedly partial to.
"It's one of my favorites because of the way it happened," Carroll said.
"We took the ball away from them, we took care of the football and we ran it."
Vince Young completed 17 passes to his Eagles teammates for a total of 208 yards. The Seahawks intercepted four of Young's passes and returned them a total of 146 yards.
Throw in Golden Tate's 11-yard touchdown catch, Steven Hauschka's 49-yard field goal and Tarvaris Jackson's efficient 13-for-16 passing performance and the Seahawks had themselves a signature victory.
"This was our best game as a team," Jackson said.
Seattle scored more than 30 points for just the second time this season, and matched its largest margin of victory on the year.
More important, the Seahawks were called for just five penalties, their fewest in any game this season.
It all adds up to a significant break as Carroll said afterward the team will have the next four days off.
"We've pushed them," Carroll said of his players, "haven't given them an inch the whole time, so it's time to do that."
Seattle's players will return to work on Tuesday to begin practicing for their Monday night game against St. Louis on Dec. 12.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @dannyoneil