(Reuters) - The Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions both served up U.S. Thanksgiving Day routs to move atop their divisions while the Seattle Seahawks boosted their playoff hopes with a commanding win on Thursday.
Football is as much a Thanksgiving Day tradition as turkey and pumpkin pie and the Lions served up the day’s first course by mauling the Chicago Bears 34-17 before the Eagles thumped the Dallas Cowboys 33-10.
The defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks (8-4) capped the tasty tripleheader with a 19-3 win over San Francisco to move within a game of the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals and leave the 49ers in danger of falling out of the playoff chase.
As expected the game between the two West Coast rivals was a bruising battle from the start that featured two of the league’s hardest hitting teams.
The Seahawks’ top-ranked defense lived up to its fierce reputation by limiting the 49ers to 164 total yards of offense and a 40-yard Phil Dawson field goal.
An interception by Seattle’s All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman set up the game’s only touchdown, Russell Wilson hitting Robert Turbin with 13-yard strike while Steven Hauschka handled the rest of scoring with four field goals.
“It’s a huge game to win, on their turf it is pretty tough to do,” said Wilson, who completed 15 passes for 236 yards. “One game at a time, we know there are a lot of great teams to play, NFC is not easy to win against, we are excited about the opportunity, championship mindset we’ll see what happens.”
Dallas and Philadelphia came into the game as co-leaders of the NFC East but when time expired it was the Eagles alone atop the division after quarterback Mark Sanchez ran for a touchdown and threw for another while LeSean McCoy rumbled for 159 yards and a score.
The Eagles took control early with Sanchez diving in from two yards out to cap an impressive opening drive before hooking up with Jordan Matthews on a 27-yard touchdown strike on their next possession for a 14-0 first quarter lead.
DeMarco Murray, the NFL’s leading rusher, put Dallas on the scoreboard when he dove over from the one early in the second but the Eagles would answer with three Cody Parkey field goals to take a 23-7 advantage into the intermission.
Dallas converted a LeSean McCoy fumble into a short Dan Bailey field goal early in the third quarter but on the next possession McCoy made up for his drop by racing 38 yards for a touchdown to put Eagles up 30-10.
”It is a team win, that’s all it’s about,“ said McCoy, praising his offensive line. ”We’ve been criticized all year, all the doubters, but no matter who is in there they give 110 percent and that’s what it is about.
“It doesn’t matter what anybody says, it’s all about what goes on in the locker room.”
The Lions (8-4), who entered their game tied with the Seahawks and 49ers for the final NFC Conference playoff berth, are now joint top in the NFC North with the Green Bay Packers.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford completed 34 of 45 passes for 390 yards and two touchdown passes to Calvin Johnson to put the Lions in position to secure their first playoff berth since the NFL’s 2011 season.
Trailing 14-3 after the first quarter, Stafford threw two second-quarter touchdowns to Calvin Johnson sandwiched around a one-yard run from Joique Bell, his first of two scores on the day, that gave Detroit the lead for good.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue