How Lock and Love toppled Eagles to save the Season

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I'm breaking my own rule of not posting an article in its entirety but I am doing so in the hopes it will generate more subscriptions to the wonderful Athletic and specifically Michael Shawn-Dugar's work who is every bit as good as Sando and Farnsworth was back in the day when Beat Writers were still a thing. It's like 1 buck a month and so damn worth it. Enjoy.

By Michael-Shawn Dugar

SEATTLE — Drew Lock does not lack confidence.

Even though he went multiple seasons between starts, got shipped off by the team that selected him in the second round of the 2019 draft, was shelved by the team that acquired him in a blockbuster trade, and rode the bench for the better part of the past two seasons, Lock has always known he’s capable of playing the way he did in the Seattle Seahawks’ season-saving, 20-17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night at Lumen Field.

But Lock is still human at the end of the day. So leading the offense on a 10-play, 92-yard drive and tossing the game-winning touchdown with 28 seconds remaining was as much about everyone else’s faith in Lock as it was his belief in himself.

It started with coach Pete Carroll, who since trading for Lock in March 2022 has been effusive in his praise of the guy the Denver Broncos no longer wanted. That unwavering faith, even after two turnovers in a Week 14 loss to the 49ers, “Got me back to being more of me, more of who I am: A confident guy who will go out there and sling the ball around,” Lock said. “He gives me full confidence to be exactly who I am.”

Seahawks confident Drew Lock can keep their season alive, if Geno Smith can't go vs. Eagles

On Monday, it continued with receiver DK Metcalf, who caught five passes for a team-high 78 yards, 58 of those coming on the final drive. It was Metcalf’s 34-yard catch on a go ball from Lock that put Seattle at the Eagles 29-yard line with 58 seconds to go. Earlier in the game, Lock threw a ball low and outside that was dropped by Metcalf in the red zone. Upset at the ball placement, Lock went to Metcalf and said, “My bad,” to which his teammate replied: “Quit apologizing to me. Just go out there and play.”

“You’re right,” Lock responded. “I’m gonna go out there and we’re gonna ball, we’re gonna sling this thing around.”

Seattle began its final drive trailing 17-13 at the 8-yard line with 1:52 on the clock and a timeout in its pocket. Ahead of that drive, starting quarterback Geno Smith — who was active only as an emergency QB because of a groin injury — reiterated his faith in Lock.

“You’re the best player on the field,” Lock recalled Smith telling him. “You’re going to lead us down the field right now and get it done.”

Hearing that meant everything to Lock.

“I appreciate him more than words can describe,” Lock said.

Lastly, it was offensive coordinator Shane Waldron believing in Lock’s arm to win the game. Facing third-and-10 at the 29, Waldron called a man-coverage beater that they had run in the first quarter on third-and-9. On that play, Lock hit Metcalf on a slant that came up 1 yard short of the sticks. But Waldron noticed rookie receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba win one-on-one against cornerback Kelee Ringo.

Before the game-winning toss, Waldron reminded Lock of that and instructed him to target Smith-Njigba — this time matched up with James Bradberry, one of Philadelphia’s best corners — knowing that his quarterback would put the ball where it needed to be.

“Sure enough, they gave us one-on-one,” Lock said. “Kind of the perfect look. We had an off corner, Jax tempoed it off the ball, then hit the jets.”

Smith-Njigba cradled the back of the ball in the back of the end zone while the crowd of 68,758 erupted, knowing their Seahawks were seconds away from victory. Seattle snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 7-7, level with the Vikings and Rams, who hold the final two wild-card spots in the NFC. Seattle’s playoff odds are up to 46.4 percent, according to the model of The Athletic’s Austin Mock. Seattle entered Week 15 with a 20.6 percent chance to make the postseason.

There’s still work to be done, but Monday’s win is a weight lifted off Seattle’s shoulders.

“It’s the start of something great,” running back DeeJay Dallas said.

The other hero on this night was Julian Love, signed on a two-year, $12 million free-agent deal to be Seattle’s third safety. Jamal Adams was inactive with a knee injury on Monday, meaning Love had to play every defensive snap (and cover punts on special teams). Two of Love’s snaps changed the game.

Philadelphia (10-4) led 17-13 midway through the fourth quarter when quarterback Jalen Hurts launched a 45-yard deep shot to receiver Quez Watkins. While the ball was in flight, safety Quandre Diggs hollered “Ju!” in Love’s direction. Love heard it, tracked Watkins, turned to locate the ball, and corralled it in the end zone. It was the game’s first turnover.

Seattle responded by going three-and-out, but Philadelphia’s offense also stalled on the ensuing possession. The Seahawks’ defense stood tall on third-and-7 with 2:15 remaining to get the ball back to the offense and set up the game-winning drive.

After the touchdown, Love sealed the win with a leaping, toe-tapping interception on a long ball down the sideline to receiver A.J. Brown with six seconds left.

On that play, Seattle gave Philadelphia a single-high safety look with a slight changeup: Love playing centerfield instead of Diggs. Love drifted from the hash to the sideline in a matter of seconds, snagging the ball before brilliantly tapping both toes inbounds.

“I must be living right because I got my feet in, thankfully,” said Love, who now leads the Seahawks with four interceptions.

The way Seattle won this game only added to the feeling of jubilation after the officials reviewed Love’s interception and confirmed that he completed the catch. Carroll tossed his headset, sprinted toward midfield and bear-hugged receiver Tyler Lockett. Lock triumphantly raised his arms and strapped his helmet in preparation for a final kneeldown.

Lock said he shared approximately 10 hugs with Smith in the locker room. Carroll said he couldn’t even recall his message to the team in the locker room because “I was out of my mind.”

“I had so much fun tonight,” Carroll added.

After several meltdowns in the last month, Seattle’s defense finally got stops in crunchtime. Philadelphia had the ball three times in the fourth quarter and ran only one play in Seattle territory.

The Seahawks offense finally executed in the clutch after failing to do so against the Rams, Cowboys and 49ers. They finally stayed committed to the run game, and it paid off: Ken Walker III rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. The offense was more effective on third downs, converting 6 of 14 tries, including the Smith-Njigba touchdown.

At a time when people were questioning whether Carroll’s message was falling on deaf ears, the Seahawks finally got the on-field product to match what their coach has long been preaching.

“We talk about finishing all year long — offseason and all that,” Carroll said. “This was the first real moment, and we captured a heck of a night.”

As Pete Carroll shows frustration amid skid, Seahawks players say they haven't lost faith

Seattle’s remaining schedule includes the Titans on the road, at home against the Steelers and visiting the Cardinals in Week 18. Because they’re one of four 7-7 teams and lost the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Rams, the Seahawks know this win must kick-start a perfect final stretch. And they believe it’ll be just that.

“This win is the turning point of everything we’ve been through,” Lockett said, “and I’m just excited to see what it does for us.”

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MontanaHawk05

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Good read and nothing against Dugar, but I'll never subscribe to the Athletic.
 

cymatica

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Lock is the gift that keeps on giving
 

CalgaryFan05

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I'm breaking my own rule of not posting an article in its entirety but I am doing so in the hopes it will generate more subscriptions to the wonderful Athletic and specifically Michael Shawn-Dugar's work who is every bit as good as Sando and Farnsworth was back in the day when Beat Writers were still a thing. It's like 1 buck a month and so damn worth it. Enjoy.

By Michael-Shawn Dugar

SEATTLE — Drew Lock does not lack confidence.

Even though he went multiple seasons between starts, got shipped off by the team that selected him in the second round of the 2019 draft, was shelved by the team that acquired him in a blockbuster trade, and rode the bench for the better part of the past two seasons, Lock has always known he’s capable of playing the way he did in the Seattle Seahawks’ season-saving, 20-17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night at Lumen Field.

But Lock is still human at the end of the day. So leading the offense on a 10-play, 92-yard drive and tossing the game-winning touchdown with 28 seconds remaining was as much about everyone else’s faith in Lock as it was his belief in himself.

It started with coach Pete Carroll, who since trading for Lock in March 2022 has been effusive in his praise of the guy the Denver Broncos no longer wanted. That unwavering faith, even after two turnovers in a Week 14 loss to the 49ers, “Got me back to being more of me, more of who I am: A confident guy who will go out there and sling the ball around,” Lock said. “He gives me full confidence to be exactly who I am.”

Seahawks confident Drew Lock can keep their season alive, if Geno Smith can't go vs. Eagles

On Monday, it continued with receiver DK Metcalf, who caught five passes for a team-high 78 yards, 58 of those coming on the final drive. It was Metcalf’s 34-yard catch on a go ball from Lock that put Seattle at the Eagles 29-yard line with 58 seconds to go. Earlier in the game, Lock threw a ball low and outside that was dropped by Metcalf in the red zone. Upset at the ball placement, Lock went to Metcalf and said, “My bad,” to which his teammate replied: “Quit apologizing to me. Just go out there and play.”

“You’re right,” Lock responded. “I’m gonna go out there and we’re gonna ball, we’re gonna sling this thing around.”

Seattle began its final drive trailing 17-13 at the 8-yard line with 1:52 on the clock and a timeout in its pocket. Ahead of that drive, starting quarterback Geno Smith — who was active only as an emergency QB because of a groin injury — reiterated his faith in Lock.

“You’re the best player on the field,” Lock recalled Smith telling him. “You’re going to lead us down the field right now and get it done.”

Hearing that meant everything to Lock.

“I appreciate him more than words can describe,” Lock said.

Lastly, it was offensive coordinator Shane Waldron believing in Lock’s arm to win the game. Facing third-and-10 at the 29, Waldron called a man-coverage beater that they had run in the first quarter on third-and-9. On that play, Lock hit Metcalf on a slant that came up 1 yard short of the sticks. But Waldron noticed rookie receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba win one-on-one against cornerback Kelee Ringo.

Before the game-winning toss, Waldron reminded Lock of that and instructed him to target Smith-Njigba — this time matched up with James Bradberry, one of Philadelphia’s best corners — knowing that his quarterback would put the ball where it needed to be.

“Sure enough, they gave us one-on-one,” Lock said. “Kind of the perfect look. We had an off corner, Jax tempoed it off the ball, then hit the jets.”

Smith-Njigba cradled the back of the ball in the back of the end zone while the crowd of 68,758 erupted, knowing their Seahawks were seconds away from victory. Seattle snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 7-7, level with the Vikings and Rams, who hold the final two wild-card spots in the NFC. Seattle’s playoff odds are up to 46.4 percent, according to the model of The Athletic’s Austin Mock. Seattle entered Week 15 with a 20.6 percent chance to make the postseason.

There’s still work to be done, but Monday’s win is a weight lifted off Seattle’s shoulders.

“It’s the start of something great,” running back DeeJay Dallas said.

The other hero on this night was Julian Love, signed on a two-year, $12 million free-agent deal to be Seattle’s third safety. Jamal Adams was inactive with a knee injury on Monday, meaning Love had to play every defensive snap (and cover punts on special teams). Two of Love’s snaps changed the game.

Philadelphia (10-4) led 17-13 midway through the fourth quarter when quarterback Jalen Hurts launched a 45-yard deep shot to receiver Quez Watkins. While the ball was in flight, safety Quandre Diggs hollered “Ju!” in Love’s direction. Love heard it, tracked Watkins, turned to locate the ball, and corralled it in the end zone. It was the game’s first turnover.

Seattle responded by going three-and-out, but Philadelphia’s offense also stalled on the ensuing possession. The Seahawks’ defense stood tall on third-and-7 with 2:15 remaining to get the ball back to the offense and set up the game-winning drive.

After the touchdown, Love sealed the win with a leaping, toe-tapping interception on a long ball down the sideline to receiver A.J. Brown with six seconds left.

On that play, Seattle gave Philadelphia a single-high safety look with a slight changeup: Love playing centerfield instead of Diggs. Love drifted from the hash to the sideline in a matter of seconds, snagging the ball before brilliantly tapping both toes inbounds.

“I must be living right because I got my feet in, thankfully,” said Love, who now leads the Seahawks with four interceptions.

The way Seattle won this game only added to the feeling of jubilation after the officials reviewed Love’s interception and confirmed that he completed the catch. Carroll tossed his headset, sprinted toward midfield and bear-hugged receiver Tyler Lockett. Lock triumphantly raised his arms and strapped his helmet in preparation for a final kneeldown.

Lock said he shared approximately 10 hugs with Smith in the locker room. Carroll said he couldn’t even recall his message to the team in the locker room because “I was out of my mind.”

“I had so much fun tonight,” Carroll added.

After several meltdowns in the last month, Seattle’s defense finally got stops in crunchtime. Philadelphia had the ball three times in the fourth quarter and ran only one play in Seattle territory.

The Seahawks offense finally executed in the clutch after failing to do so against the Rams, Cowboys and 49ers. They finally stayed committed to the run game, and it paid off: Ken Walker III rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. The offense was more effective on third downs, converting 6 of 14 tries, including the Smith-Njigba touchdown.

At a time when people were questioning whether Carroll’s message was falling on deaf ears, the Seahawks finally got the on-field product to match what their coach has long been preaching.

“We talk about finishing all year long — offseason and all that,” Carroll said. “This was the first real moment, and we captured a heck of a night.”

As Pete Carroll shows frustration amid skid, Seahawks players say they haven't lost faith

Seattle’s remaining schedule includes the Titans on the road, at home against the Steelers and visiting the Cardinals in Week 18. Because they’re one of four 7-7 teams and lost the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Rams, the Seahawks know this win must kick-start a perfect final stretch. And they believe it’ll be just that.

“This win is the turning point of everything we’ve been through,” Lockett said, “and I’m just excited to see what it does for us.”

Subscribe to The Athletic for 1 buck a month
Wow - nice article - and I just checked out their site - nice article about JSN too.

And well written - and with stats and quotes - and 'actual newsey stuff' -

Thanks - I'm gonna check them out with a free account - but a buck is pretty cheap for quality content -
 
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