For the first time in Earl Thomas III’s career, he was forced to leave a game because of an injury, but the Seattle Seahawks (7-2-1) still prevailed in a 26-15 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) at home.
Thomas left the game for good in the third quarter after hurting his hamstring while in pass coverage on teammate Richard Sherman’s interception. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, despite coming away with an important win, they didn’t emerge from the battle unscathed.
Other key players lost during the game besides No. 29 included running back C.J. Prosise and cornerback DeShawn Shead in what Pete Carroll explained as a lousy list of injuries.
“[Earl] has a little hammy strain that he can feel, so we got him out of there,” Carroll explained after the game. “We had a number of guys that got banged up today. It’s a lousy list.”
Even with the all in-game adversity, the Hawks still kept their hot streak alive and managed to capture their third consecutive win. The win also improved their undefeated home record to 5-0.
The Legion of Boom did their part keeping rookie quarterback Carson Wentz in check, and Russell Wilson continued to lead an emerging offense that accumulated a season-high 439 offensive yards on Sunday.
After back-to-back punts to open the first quarter, Prosise busted off an electric 72-yard rushing touchdown to give Seattle an early 6-0 lead after the extra point attempt was blocked. The remainder of the quarter was quiet after Seattle’s longest play of the year, and the longest ever run at CenturyLink Field.
The Hawks D was making life difficult for Wentz and Philly’s offense until they managed to get on the board early in the second frame. Wentz capped off a 13-play drive with a 4-yard pass up the middle to Zach Ertz to pull in front after the successful extra point.
However, the lead was short-lived and Wilson responded with a touchdown drive of his own on the ensuing possession. Jimmy Graham hauled in a deep pass from Wilson for a 35-yard score to put the Hawks back in front with 8:30 to play in the half.
Steven Hauschka’s 21-yard field goal was the only other score before halftime, and Seattle went into the locker room with a 16-7 advantage.
The third quarter started off slowly until Philadelphia’s second drive of the half when Wentz got picked off by Sherman on the play that forced ET III out of the game. Sherman’s INT set up another Seahawks score that included some highlight-worthy trickery.
Wilson flicked the ball to Doug Baldwin, who then connected with Wilson on a 15-yard touchdown pass that added onto the lead. Now a 23-7 game, the Seahawks remained in command throughout the fourth.
Hauschka nailed his second field goal, this time from 35-yards out, which extended Seattle’s lead to 19 with 13:37 left to play. Wentz and the Eagles scored their only points of the second half on a late touchdown drive, but it was too little too late, and the Seahawks put it away for certain after Kam Chancellor’s interception with 24 seconds remaining.
“I really feel like we still have another level to reach,” Bobby Wagner said. “We’re starting to get the turnovers, they’re starting to come. We’re playing well, but there’s some key guys missing who will really add to our team.”
The Seahawks announced that Earl, as well as Shead, suffered “first-degree hamstring strains,” which usually keeps players out of action for 10-14 days. However, Carroll implied that, if any players could play despite that type of injury, it would be ET and Shead.
“That’s what normal hamstrings are,” Carroll said. “But these guys aren’t, there’s nobody — well, I can’t say it that way. I was going to say, ‘There’s nobody less normal than Earl and Shead.’ So I guess I said it. Those guys are rare guys so we’ll see what happens and how they adapt.”
No. 29 has never missed a game in his seven-year NFL career, a string of 118 consecutive games between the regular season and playoffs.
The Seahawks will travel to Tampa next week face the Buccaneers (5-5). The Bucs have had an up-and-down year but have an elite offense that the Legion of Boom will have to shut down if they want to win their fourth straight.
Mike Evans has been one of the best, if not the best, receiver in the game this year. Coupled with an improved Jameis Winston, the two have been tough to contain so far this season. Running back Doug Martin is also back in the picture after being shelved since Week 2 with a hamstring injury.
Sunday’s game will kick off at 1:05 p.m. PT from Raymond James Stadium and will be aired on FOX.