Suddenly strong defense leads Seahawks to sloppy win over Eagles

PHILADELPHIA -- They committed 12 penalties, dropped a sure touchdown pass and missed an open receiver on another.

But in the end, the Seattle Seahawks did what they've done so many times throughout another season that is headed towards the playoffs: they won despite playing nowhere close to their best football.

It's rarely pretty with the Seahawks (9-2) and it certainly wasn't Sunday in their 17-9 win over the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

They have their defense to thank for this one. It got five takeaways and more than enough pressure on Carson Wentz, even though Jadeveon Clowney was inactive with a sore hip and Jarran Reed missed the second half with an ankle injury.

According to ESPN's Football Power Index, the Seahawks entered Week 12 with a 95% chance to make the playoffs with a win over the Eagles. It would have been 76% with a loss.

The Seahawks are 6-0 on the road this season and head home to face the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football.

Promising trend. The Seahawks' defense has allowed a combined two touchdowns and four field goals over the last two games. That covers nine quarters, if you count overtime of their win over the 49ers two weeks ago (San Francisco scored a defensive touchdown in that game), and includes a garbage-time touchdown by the Eagles. That streak coincides with safety Quandre Diggs' insertion into the starting lineup. The Seahawks' offense had to carry their defense over the first half of the season, but it was the opposite Sunday. The ensuing possessions after the Seahawks' five takeaways produced only three points, with two of those drives resulting in turnovers by Seattle. The Seahawks finished with three sacks and nine official QB hits.

Buy/sell on a breakout performance. I'll buy that Rashaad Penny will get more opportunities after his monster game. The 2018 first-round pick ripped off a 58-yard touchdown run and finished with a career-high 129 yards on 14 carries. It has sounded like lip service every time Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer have talked about getting Penny more involved. They've said that more than once this season, yet Penny remained buried behind Chris Carson. That might not be the case anymore after what Penny did Sunday while Carson (57 yards on 12 touches) fumbled again.

QB breakdown. This was not a game that will do much for Russell Wilson's MVP candidacy. He finished 13-of-25 for 200 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The pick wasn't really his fault, coming on a throw to David Moore that was tipped. Wilson had Jacob Hollister wide open in the end zone but airmailed the throw, something you rarely see. The wind that gusted through Lincoln Financial Field for much of the afternoon might have been a factor. Wilson delivered a perfect throw into that wind on his touchdown pass to Malik Turner, which came on a trick play that had Carson pitching the ball back to the quarterback.

Troubling trend. The Seahawks fumbled twice Sunday and lost one on a botched handoff between Wilson and Carson. That makes 12 lost fumbles this season, already their most in a season under Carroll, with five games still to go. Hard to assign blame on a botched handoff, but the other fumble was on Carson, continuing what's been an issue for him. He has seven fumbles this season. Carroll has stuck with him to this point, but there has to be a breaking point for a coach who stresses the importance of possessing the ball as much as he does.