How Drew Lock and Julian Love beat the Eagles to save the Seahawks’ season

SEATTLE — Drew Lock doesn’t have hope.

Although he went several seasons between starts, he was passed over by the team that selected him in the second round of the 2019 draft, dropped by the team that acquired him in a blockbuster trade, and rode the bench for the best part. Over the past two seasons, Locke has always known the way he played in the Seattle Seahawks’ season-saving, 20-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night at Luman Field.

But Locke 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 left was about as much hope as anyone else’s in Locke.

It started with coach Pete Carroll, who has been praising the guy the Denver Broncos no longer want since trading for Locke in March 2022. That unwavering belief, even after a Week 14 loss to the 49ers, “more than me, brought me back to who I am: a confident guy who goes out there and throws the ball around,” Locke said. . “He gives me complete confidence in who I am.”

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On Monday, D.K. That continued with receiver Metcalf, who caught five passes for a team-high 78 yards, 58 of which came on the final drive. Metcalf’s 34th catch on Locke’s punt put Seattle at the Eagles’ 29-yard line with 58 seconds left. Earlier in the game, Locke threw a ball low and outside that was dropped by Metcalf in the red zone. Locke, upset at the delivery, walked up to Metcalf and said, “My bad”, to which his teammate replied: “Stop apologizing to me. Go out there and play.”

“You’re right,” Locke replied. “I’m going to go in there, we’re going to bowl, we’re going to swing this thing around.”

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Seattle made its final drive at the 8-yard line to make it 17-13 with 1:52 on the clock and time in its pocket. Ahead of that drive, quarterback Geno Smith — who has only been active as an emergency QB because of a groin injury — reiterated his faith in Locke.

“You’re the best player on the field,” Locke recalled Smith telling him. “You’re going to put us on the field and do it now.”

That’s all Locke asked.

“I admire him more than words can express,” Locke said.

In the end, offensive coordinator Shane Waldron relied on Locke’s arm to win the game. Facing third-and-10 at the 29, Waldron called a man-coverage beater who ran the first quarter on third-and-9. On that play, Locke hit Metcalf on a slant that came 1 yard short of the sticks. But Waldron noticed that rookie receiver Jackson Smith-Njikba won one-on-one against cornerback Kelee Ringo.

Before the game-winning toss, Waldron recalled the lock and instructed Smith-Najikpa to target — this time competing with one of Philadelphia’s best corners, James Bradberry — knowing his quarterback would put the ball where it needed to be.

“Of course, they gave us each other,” Locke said. “Kind of a perfect look. We had an off corner and Jacks tempoed it to the ball and then beat Jets.

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

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

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“This is the start of something big,” running back DJ Dallas said.

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

Philadelphia (10-4) led 17-13 midway through the fourth quarter when quarterback Jalen Hurts launched a deep 45-yard shot over receiver Quez Watkins. As the ball flies, safety Quandre Dix yells “Joo!” In the direction of love. Love heard it, tracked down Watkins, turned to find the ball and connected it in the end zone. It was the first turnover of the game.

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

After the touchdown, with six seconds left, receiver A.J. Love sealed the win by pouncing on a long ball to Brown and intercepting it with a toe.

On that play, Seattle gave Philadelphia a single-high defensive look with one small change: preferring to play centerfield instead of Diggs. Love moved sideways from the hash within seconds, snapping the ball before tapping both toes into the inbounds brilliantly.

“I’m living right because I got my legs, luckily,” said Love, who now leads the Seahawks with four interceptions.

The way Seattle won the game only added to the sense of joy after the officials reviewed Love’s interception and determined he completed the catch. Carroll tossed off his headset and sprinted toward midfield to hug receiver Tyler Lockett. Locke raised his arms in triumph and strapped on his helmet in preparation for the final knee.

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

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“I had a lot of fun tonight,” Carroll added.

After several drops over the past month, Seattle’s defense finally stopped in crunch time. Philadelphia had the ball three times in the fourth quarter and had only one play in Seattle territory.

After failing to do so against the Rams, Cowboys and 49ers, the Seahawks offense finally executed in the clutch. They finally 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 very effective on third downs, converting 6 of 14 attempts, including the Smith-Njikba touchdown.

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

“We’ve been talking about finishing all year — offseason and all,” Carroll said. “This is a first Real Moment, we captured a night.”

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Seattle’s remaining schedule includes the Titans on the road, at home against the Steelers and a visit to the Cardinals in Week 18. The Seahawks know because they are one of four 7-7 teams to lose a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Rams. This win should start the perfect final stretch. They hope it stays that way.

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

(Photo by Drew Lock: Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

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