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Seahawks Are Still A New Conference Foe

By Ryan Shute, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

The 15th overall meeting between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Seattle Seahawks will take place at CenturyLink Field this Sunday at 4:25 p.m. This will mark the series rubber match (for now) as the Eagles and Seahawks are deadlocked at a 7-7 record.

The Seahawks inaugural season was in 1976 and the Birds were on their schedule for the season finale at the Vet.

The upstart Eagles, lead by rookie head coach Dick Vermeil, dominated the contest on the ground led by running back Tom Sullivan's 121 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Sullivan was complimented by fellow runner Mike Hogan who also ran for 100 yards, totaling his day at 104. Even wide receiver Charlie Smith would join in on the rushing attack, as he found the end zone on a three-yard rush in the third quarter.

In addition to the three rushing touchdowns, Horst Muhlmann would knock down a pair of field goals, resulting in the Eagles beating up on the expansion team Seahawks, 27-10.

The two squads would have a strange game during Week 15 of the 1992 season, when the 8-5 Eagles traveled to the Kingdome to play a pitiful two-win Seahawks team. As expected, the Birds dominated all facets of the game, but the score would remain tight all the way through.

Quarterback Randall Cunningham would have an excellent afternoon rushing for 38 yards and a touchdown, as well as throwing for 365 yards, with receiver Fred Barnett on the receiving end for 161 of those yards. The issue was the Seattle defense would sack Cunningham 10 times and cause him to commit two turnovers, one of which was a 52 yard fumble return for a touchdown by corner back Dwayne Harper, which gave the Seahawks a 17-10 early fourth quarter lead.

With just under five minutes left to play, running back Herschel Walker would answer back by running one in from 11 yards out, tying the game at 17. Walker would finish the day with 111 rushing yards off of 23 carries.

The game would remain tied and head into overtime. They would play the entire 15-minute period to determine whether there would be a win, lose, or draw.

With 1:51 left in the OT, Cunningham hit veteran wide receiver Roy Green for his only catch of the day for a 20-yard gain placing the ball at mid-field.

On the ensuing play, the Seattle pass rush would force Cunningham to step up in the pocket and then he shovel passed it to running back Keith Byars, who brought the ball inside the Seattle 30 yard line.

The Birds would let the clock run all the way down to three seconds and lined up for a Roger Ruzek field-goal attempt. Ruzek would hit the 44-yard shot, giving the Eagles the 20-17 win.

Longtime Eagles radio play by play announcer Merrill Reese cites that his overly energetic signature call that he typically uses when the Eagles convert on important kicks was born on his call of that game-winning field goal. Reese wasn't just excited that the Eagles won, but was relieved that there was finally an end to the madness that was witnessed in that 75 minutes of football.

As for the numbers anomaly of this game, the Eagles were penalized 17 times totaling 191 penalty yards. The penalties and turnovers along with the 10 Seattle sacks was in most part what hindered the Birds from separating themselves on the scoreboard. 

But despite all that going against them, there was a large discrepancy of 379 yards of total offense between them. The Eagles out gained Seattle, 466-87. That is not a typo. The Seahawks only mustered 87 yards of total offense and gave up nearly 500 yards and only lost in overtime.

The NFL realigned in 2002 due to the inception of the 32nd NFL franchise, the Houston Texans. Houston was to be added to the AFC which would make 17 teams in the conference. To keep the league balanced by having 16 teams in each conference, the Seahawks made the switch, going from the AFC West to the NFC West. 

The Seahawks and Birds have been getting familiar with one another in the past 14 years and will continue to get more familiar as they will meet a minimum once every three seasons and could be pitted against one another in additional matchups depending on how the final standings shake out year to year.

The Eagles have struggled with the Seahawks recently, as they have only won two of the last six meetings. However, the two victories were at CenuryLink Field which is a tough place for all visiting teams. 

A win on Sunday would be a statement to the world that the Birds are a real playoff contender in the NFC for the 2016 campaign and they can win on the road in a tough environment. 


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