Seattle linebacker Lofia Tatupu started the game with an interception and ended it with another as the Seattle Seahawks held on for a 28-24 victory over the host Eagles today at Lincoln Financial Field.
Tatupu intercepted A.J. Feeley for the third time with 14 seconds left to play, spoiling a dramatic 64-yard punt return by Brian Westbrook that gave the Eagles a shot at victory amid the freezing rain. The three picks tied a Seahawks team record.
Tatupu intercepted Feeley twice in the first quarter, with both picks setting up Seahawks (8-4) touchdowns, but the final theft was the dagger that dropped the Eagles to 5-7 and wiped out a heroic effort by Westbrook, installed as a punt returner in the closing minutes to make something happen.
Boy, did he.
Westbrook caught a punt near the right hash mark at the Eagles 22-yard line, broke toward the middle and cut to the left as he ran all the way to the Seattle 14 before stepping out of bounds. The Eagles, trailing by four, had a chance with 1:20 to play.
Instead, Feeley threw his fourth interception, and third right into the waiting arms of Tatupu.
"It was on me," Feeley said. "That's not the way you want to lose."
Feeley, starting his second straight game in place of the injured Donovan McNabb, was 19-of-42 passing for 220 yards and a touchdown today, but he has thrown seven interceptions in the two starts.
"I wanted to make sure he threw it to our team," Eagles head coach Andy Reid said when asked what he wanted out of his quarterback today. "I didn't want him to throw it to the other team."
Westbrook had 93 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries and caught seven passes for 46 yards.
Seattle running back Maurice Morris raced 45 yards for the touchdown that gave the Seahawks a 28-24 lead in the third quarter. Morris was a teammate of Feeley's at the University of Oregon.
Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was 19-of-34 for 187 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Morris had 64 yards on just five carries and Shaun Alexander ran for 65 yards and a score on 20 attempts.
The Eagles had just taken their first lead of the game when Seattle went 53 yards in just three plays, most of them the long run by Morris, to regain the upper hand with 9:13 remaining in the third period.
The offense stalled badly after the Eagles took their only lead, punting four times, being intercepted twice and missing a long field goal try by David Akers.
Westbrook scored on a 29-yard touchdown run as the Eagles took advantage of a Seattle turnover to take their first lead at 24-21. Westbrook's score gave Philadelphia just 30 points off opponents' turnovers all reason. The Eagles, by comparison, had given up 28 points off turnovers in their last two games.
Trent Cole recovered a fumble by Seahawks receiver Bobby Engram at the Seattle 40-yard line on the opening possession of the second half to give the Eagles, who trailed 21-10 early in the second quarter, great field position.
Westbrook had an eight-yard run and Feeley hit tight end L.J. Smith for three yards on a third-and-two play, giving the Eagles a first down at the Seattle 29. Westbrook exploded off left tackle on the next play raced toward to the end zone and dove at the pylon, giving the Eagles a 24-21 lead with 12:42 left in the third quarter.
Feeley threw his third interception late in the third quarter and hurt his throwing hand when he hit it on a helmet on the follow-through, but he returned for the Eagles' next offensive series.
Tatupu intercepted Feeley twice in the opening minutes, and the Seahawks converted both into touchdowns to take a 21-17 halftime lead.
The Eagles had a chance to take the lead just before halftime, but Seattle stopped Westbrook twice from inside the 1-yard line, the second time on a fourth down play with just eight seconds left before the intermission.
Reid could have gone for an easy field goal, but opted to go for a momentum-swinging touchdown after Feeley's nearly disastrous start.
Tatupu's first interception, on the game's very first play, led to a two-yard touchdown run by Shaun Andrews. The second set up Matt Hasselbeck's 12-yard touchdown pass to Engram with 7:21 left in the first quarter that gave Seattle a 14-7 lead.
Playing in cold, freezing rain at Lincoln Financial Field, Feeley had trouble getting warmed up, but he did hit Kevin Curtis for a 47-yard gain that set up a 31-yard field goal to make the score 14-10 with 5:14 remaining in the opening period.
Hasselbeck made it 21-10 when he hit a wide open Nate Burleson for a 43-yard touchdown pass with 11:16 remaining in the second quarter.
Feeley finally got untracked in the second period by driving the Eagles 60 yards in just four plays and hitting Curtis on a 24-yard touchdown pass to bring the Birds within 21-17 with 9:05 left before halftime.
Tatupu returned his second interception, on a pass intended for Greg Lewis over the middle, 49 yards to the Eagles 8-yard line. Hasslebeck found Engram over the middle three plays later, after the Eagles defense had risen to drive the Seahawks back for -4 yards on the first two downs.
Correll Buckhalter scored on a 30-yard touchdown run as the Eagles pulled into a 7-7 tie three minutes into the game.
Buckhalter gave the Eagles good field position with a 29-yard kickoff return to the 35-yard line after the Seahawks took a quick 7-0 lead. Feeley then hit receiver Reggie Brown for a 16-yard gain on a third-and seven play before Brian Westbrook ran for 15 yards to the Seattle 30.
Buckhalter then took a handoff, broke into the secondary and was gone, tying the game with 11:56 still left to play in the first quarter.
Feeley threw an interception on the Eagles' very first play and Alexander turned it into a 2-yard touchdown run as the Seahawks took a quick 7-0 lead.
Feeley tried to hit tight end Smith over the middle on first down from the Eagles 38-yard line, but Tatupu stepped in front of the throw and returned the pick 33 yards, all the way to the Eagles 18.
Philadelphia almost got the ball right back when Hasselbeck threw a first down pass right into the hands of Eagles linebacker Takeo Spikes, but Spikes dropped the ball in the cold, wet conditions.
Alexander scores three plays later, after tearing off a 16-yard run on second down, to give the Seahawks a 7-0 lead just 1 minute, 12 seconds into the game.
Defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley missed today's game with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, an injury he suffered late in the fourth quarter of the Eagles' loss at New England a week ago.
Bunkley, listed as questionable on Friday's injury report, had practiced only in a limited capacity during the week and, according to coach Andy Reid, also had suffered hamstring spasms that were related to the knee injury.
It was the first time this season Bunkley missed a game and the first time in his NFL career that he missed a game because of an injury. Bunkley missed one game as a rookie last season when he was benched for missing the team charter to Indianapolis.
Kimo von Oelhoffen, a 14-year veteran, started in Bunkley's place, which was surprising because he had not dressed for a game since Week 3 when the Eagles played the Detroit Lions.
As expected, McNabb (sprained right ankle) and safety Quintin Mikell (sprained right knee ligament) were also inactive because of injuries.
Running back Tony Hunt, guards Max Jean-Gilles and Scott Young, defensive end Victor Abiamiri and defensive tackle Montae Reagor were also among the Eagles' inactive players.