Russell Wilson leads Seahawks past Eagles, 24-10


Russell Wilson leads Seahawks past Eagles, 24-10

SEATTLE -- The Seahawks felt they were being written off, with injuries and the schedule converging to create doubt about whether Seattle was still among the NFC's elite.

With Russell Wilson, the Seahawks seemingly always have a chance.

"He was in the zone," Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. "I told him whatever that felt like, he's got to hold on to it because we need him to be in that mode for the rest of the season, because if he does that, we'll be unstoppable."

Wilson was masterful while throwing three touchdown passes, the last a 15-yard strike to J.D. McKissic with 7:29 left, and the Seahawks stayed in the NFC playoff hunt with a 24-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night.

Seattle (8-4) snapped Philadelphia's nine-game winning streak thanks largely to another brilliant performance by its quarterback. Wilson was 20 of 31 for 227 yards and threw touchdowns of 11 yards to Jimmy Graham, 1-yard to Tyler Lockett and the TD to McKissic after the Eagles had trimmed the lead to seven.

"I thought Russell was phenomenal tonight. I thought that was Russell showing you everything he's all about," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "From start to finish, from the first play of the game he was on it."

Philadelphia (10-2) was the highest-scoring team in the NFL with 31.9 points per game. But the Eagles got just 10 points out of seven drives that reached Seattle territory. Twice this year Seattle has faced what was the top scoring offense in the NFL at the time. Both times they scored 10 points against the Seahawks.

"I felt like everybody was sleeping on us and nobody expected us to win this game," Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. "But we expected to win this game. This is not a surprise to us."

Carson Wentz was 29 of 45 for 348 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Wentz had a costly fumble at the Seattle 1 on the opening drive of the second half that could have pulled the Eagles even at 10-all.

Wentz was inches shy of breaking the plane when Sheldon Richardson ripped the ball free. The loose ball bounced around the end zone and eventually over the end line for a touchback and Seattle's ball. It was a major turning point, as Seattle went 80 yards in 11 plays, capped by Wilson's 1-yard pass to Lockett for a 17-3 Seattle lead. The touchdown was set up by a 47-yard pass to Doug Baldwin on third-and-10, beating a Philadelphia blitz.

"I make my big plays here and there," Richardson said.

Seattle snapped a rare two-game losing streak at home mostly because of Wilson. It wasn't his best game in numbers, but it might be one of his best performances. He came up with key throws when needed, kept plays alive with his legs and pulled out some unexpected improvisation just went the Seahawks needed it.

"We had a good game plan going against (Wilson)," Philadelphia safety Corey Graham said. "But as you see, you know how it is, better in person than it is on film."

Wentz started a Philadelphia rally on the first play of the fourth quarter. Facing third-and-13 at the 16, Wentz was pressured from the pocket. As he was about to be dragged down by Quinton Jefferson, Wentz hit Nelson Agholor for 51 yards. Four plays later, and again facing third-and-long, Agholor beat Maxwell again and Wentz found him for a 27-yard TD to pull the Eagles within 17-10.

Agholor had seven catches for 141 yards.


Wilson pulled out a little more magic on what proved to be Seattle's decisive drive that ended in McKissic's TD. Facing third-and-8 at the Philadelphia 42, Wilson was forced to scramble. Six yards downfield and short of the first down, Wilson lateraled the ball to Mike Davis as he was about to be hit. Davis took the lateral another 17 yards for a first down. It was a borderline play that appeared close to a forward pass, but Philadelphia didn't challenge.

"Real time, it looked fine. It looked legit. We didn't get all the necessary looks, because they hustled to the line," Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson said. "But at the same time, it looked good. I trust the guys upstairs in making those decisions."


Graham had just three catches for 26 yards but continued to be Wilson's favorite target near the goal line. Graham has touchdowns in four straight games and nine in the past seven games.


Philadelphia failed to score at least 20 points for the first time in 15 games, a streak dating to last season. The Eagles were the only team in the league to score at least 20 in every game this season.


Seattle became the first team to score an offensive touchdown in the first quarter against the Eagles on Graham's 11-yard TD catch. The Eagles had allowed just 18 points in the first quarter coming into the game, but allowed points on two of Seattle's first three possessions.


Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz left in the third quarter to be evaluated for a head injury and did not return. Ertz was injured trying to make a difficult catch across the middle that was broken up by Bradley McDougald.


Eagles: At the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

Seahawks: At Jacksonville on Sunday.


Ex-Patriot Ricky Jean-Francois signing with Lions

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Ex-Patriot Ricky Jean-Francois signing with Lions

Former Patriots defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois is signing with the Lions, according to Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports.

The 31-year-old had six tackles in six games for the Patriots in 2017. He'll reunite with ex-Patriots defensive coordinator and now Lions head coach Matt Patricia in Detroit.


What Bill Belichick's pro day tour tells us about Patriots draft strategy

What Bill Belichick's pro day tour tells us about Patriots draft strategy

It’s one of the rites of spring. This is the time of year NFL fans across America overemphasize the importance of their team’s coach or general manager popping up at a particular program’s pro day. You can set your watch to it. 

Coach X showed up at University Y so you KNOW he wants Player Z!

The pro day circuit is just one aspect of the pre-draft preparation process for NFL clubs, though. The information gleaned from stops on college campuses through March and early April is, as Bill Belichick might say, just part of the evaluation mosaic. 

The tape matters. The combine matters. Private workouts matter. Official visits matter. Claiming a meeting or an interview between a player and a club at any one of these spots will dictate a draft-day match is foolhardy. 

Still . . . it's interesting to track teams’ whereabouts in order to see if any trends develop.

Here we'll lay out where the two primary players in the Patriots front office, Belichick and Nick Caserio, have been spotted over the last couple weeks since pro days kicked off. Their itinerary may be nothing but a sliver of a view into where the team's interests lay, but we’ll take that sliver with the understanding that it is what it is.


Belichick made his seemingly annual trip to the University of Alabama to catch up with old friend Nick Saban and see some of the college game's top prospects. The Crimson Tide could have more than a dozen players drafted, and most of their top prospects reside on the defensive side of the ball. Receiver Calvin Ridley, defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick and defensive tackle Da'Ron Payne shoild be long gone by the time the Patriots pick at No. 31, but there are plenty of other talented defenders they could have a shot at. Linebacker Rashaan Evans (6-foot-3, 234) would be an interesting fit for a defense that could use an addition to its second level. Defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (6-4, 297) is intriguing because of his versatility as a base end who could rush from the inside in sub situations. Safety Ronnie Harrison (6-3, 214) also seems like a Patriots type. Even punter JK Scott could be on their radar. 


Caserio headed to Wisconsin's pro day, where linebacker Jack Cichy posted a very strong short-shuttle (4.28 seconds) and three-cone times (7.10). He's an off-the-ball type who measured in at 6-foot-2, 234 pounds and is projected by to go on Day 3. The Badgers don't have quite as many pro prospects as Alabama, but they have seven or eight who could hear their names called on draft weekend. Corner Nick Nelson (5-11, 208) and edge defender Leon Jacobs (6-3, 230) were two of Wisconsin's best players, and would’ve been worth a look from the Patriots director of player personnel. 


Belichick kept a close eye on the defensive linemen participating in NC State's pro day Monday. Bradley Chubb is expected to be the first defensive player taken in the draft so the Patriots won't have a shot at him (which Belichick admitted to Chubb following the workout), but defensive tackle BJ Hill (6-4, 315) may have been of interest. He's thought of as a mid-rounder after a very strong showing at the Senior Bowl and a solid combine. Kentavius Street (6-2, 280) is really powerful as a defensive end and could be had toward the end of the draft. Belichick also reportedly spent some time watching backs Nyheim Hines (5-8, 197) and Jaylen Samuels (5-11, 233) run routes. 

Caserio, meanwhile, kept a close eye on the workout put together by Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside (6-2, 201). Our Mike Giardi put together a piece on Woodside, who tested well at the combine and is considered to have a good football IQ, earlier this offseason. Read it. Caserio was joined at Toledo by Patriots scout Patrick Stewart, who was also present for Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta's pro day.


Belichick went from NC State to South Carolina where he reportedly met with tight end Hayden Hurst for the second time. Hurst (6-4, 250), a walk-on who played two years of minor-league baseball, may be the first tight end taken in this year's draft. Linebacker Skai Moore (6-2, 221) was extremely productive for the Gamecocks, leading the team in tackles all four years of his career, which Belichick clearly appreciated. Moore told reporters after his pro day work out that he met with Belichick for an hour and that Belichick told him he's a great player. Belichick and Moore also met at the combine, Moore said.

So what can we make of Belichick and Caserio's stops thus far? We’re careful not to make too much of these stops visits, but here are some quick-hitting thoughts . . .

* They appear to want more information on the draft's second (or third) tier of quarterbacks. It should come as no surprise that the Patriots won't be in the running to select passers like USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen or Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield. But the group that includes Woodside, Lauletta and others -- perhaps Washington State's Luke Falk, whose pro day will be at Utah State on Mar. 28, Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph, and Western Kentucky's Mike White -- seems to be of interest.

* Are the Patriots looking for their next playmaker at tight end? Even with Rob Gronkowski on the roster (assuming he returns in 2018) the Patriots could use another pass-catcher at this spot. Their interest in Hurst is intriguing. If they pop up at South Dakota State's pro day on Mar. 30 -- home of Dallas Goedert -- then that might be an indication they are considering a running mate and heir apparent for Gronkowski. 

* Outside of offensive tackle, off-the-ball linebacker might be the biggest need the Patriots have not addressed via trade or free agency this offseason. It would come as little surprise if they opted for a rookie (or two) who play that position in this year's draft. Evans is among the draft's most talented at that spot, but there are some questions around the league as to whether or not he'd be the traffic cop that, for instance, Jerod Mayo and Dont'a Hightower have been for the Patriots. Getting a closer look at Cichy and Moore would also seem to indicate that New England is taking a close look at a newer (smaller) breed at that spot. Belichick has long liked bigger linebackers, but as the speed of the game picks up perhaps he’ll be more open to going small(ish) here. The Patriots were represented at Viriginia Tech's pro day on Mar. 14 (home of top linebacker prospect Tremaine Edmunds) and it'll be interesting to see if they show up at Boise State (home of Leighton Vander Esch) on April 3. Belichick is reportedly headed to Georgia's pro day on Wednesday, where he'll have a chance to see athletic off-the-ball 'backer Roquan Smith and athletic edge player Lorenzo Carter. Either would immediately provide the Patriots front-seven with a shot of athleticism. 

* That Belichick has seen a boatload of talented defensive linemen at Alabama and NC State isn't a shocker. While they may not have a glaring need up front for 2018 — especially after trading for Danny Shelton and signing Adrian Clayborn — both Shelton and Malcom Brown could be elsewhere in 2019 if the Patriots don't pick up their fifth-year options. Trey Flowers is also headed into a contract year.