Originally created 09/07/98

Seahawks prey on Eagles, 38-0



PHILADELPHIA -- The defeat was so dismal for the Philadelphia Eagles that their fans got tired of booing ex-Eagle Ricky Watters on Sunday. They have plenty of other things to worry about.

Watters, returning to Veterans Stadium with the Seattle Seahawks, wasn't even the focal point in their 38-0 victory over Philadelphia -- the worst home opening loss in Eagles history. He took a mini victory lap before the game, hugged a few of his former teammates and got a good look at why leaving Philadelphia might have been his best move yet.

Joey Galloway had a career-high 142 yards receiving and scored two touchdowns as the Seahawks handed Philadelphia its first shutout in a home opener since 1941. Fans who packed Veterans Stadium to boo Watters, who left the Eagles as free agent after three years in Philly, lost interest in a hurry.

Decimated by injuries to key players, including running back Charlie Garner, the Eagles opened a season of crucial importance with a thud. The improved Seahawks have reason for optimism after giving coach Dennis Erickson his first victory in a season opener as the Seattle coach.

After proclaiming that the Eagles had the worst preseason he'd ever seen, Ray Rhodes suffered his worst loss as Philadelphia's coach. The Eagles lost 48-17 at Oakland in 1995, but recovered to win 10 games and earn coach of the year honors for Rhodes.

Warren Moon, the Seahawks' 41-year-old quarterback, was 13-for-21 for 204 yards and three touchdowns. Watters, who led Philadelphia to the playoffs twice in three stormy years with the Eagles, rushed 16 times for 67 yards, doing most of his damage in the first quarter.

By the time Seahawks reserve Ahman Green ripped off a 64-yard run to set up his own 6-yard TD run that made it 38-0, nearly all the occupants of the Vet had gone home to watch Mark McGwire chase the home run record on TV. Green finished with 100 yards on six carries -- all in the second half.

Bobby Hoying was sacked nine times and had a 24-yard interception returned for a touchdown by Shawn Springs in the first quarter. Hoying, who took over as starting quarterback late last season, was 9-for-23 for 63 yards. Irving Fryar did not catch a pass in the first game of his 15th season.

Duce Staley provided a rare bright spot for the Eagles, rushing 20 times for 95 yards in a performance that could relegate Garner to the role of backup and third-down back when he returns from a sprained left ankle.

The sellout crowd of 66,418 booed Watters loudly at the start, but it only seemed to spur him on. Watters handled the ball on Seattle's first four plays, but it was the defense -- or a mistake by Hoying -- that started the scoring.

Hoying tried to hit Fryar on an out-and-up pattern, but Springs stepped in front and sprinted 24 yards to the end zone to make it 7-0 with 6:04 left in the first quarter.

Hoying's first sack resulted in a strip by Michael Sinclair and fumble recovery by Sam Adams. On the next play, Moon zipped a TD pass to Galloway for a 14-0 lead.

Galloway had receptions of 34, 18, and 19 yards on Seattle's first drive of the third quarter. Moon passed to fullback Mack Strong for an 11-yard TD, and the rout was on.

The Seahawks hardly missed All-Pro defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, who did not play due to a sprained right ankle.

Already without star cornerback Bobby Taylor (shoulder), center Steve Everitt (foot) and Garner, the Eagles also lost cornerback Troy Vincent with a quadriceps injury. He left after tackling Strong about seven minutes before halftime and didn't return.