Expect anything different?
This is what these Seahawks do. They always keep it close, then always close it out.
Thought they might cough it up? Then you haven’t been watching. This team doesn’t shake or rattle in pressure situations; they only seem to roll.
The Seahawks’ 37-30 victory over the Vikings was their latest master class in composure. Their holding off of Minnesota was another chapter in poise.
It doesn’t matter how they do it — only that they do. The intensity may elevate in every fourth quarter they’re involved in, but their heart rate never does.
“We’re used to close games like that. That’s our type of game,” Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin said. “If we get into a close game and the other team is up by 7 and you look at our sideline, you’ll see guys laughing, having fun, knowing we’re going to pull it off.”
The Vikings led by seven at two points Thursday — first after the opening drive that put them up 7-0, and then after a field goal at the end of the half to put them ahead 17-10.
Part of this was due to quarterback Russell Wilson batting his batted pass into the hands Anthony Harris for a pick six, but it was also the result of defensive miscues and an underwhelming offense.
Something about this team, though — perhaps more than any other in the Wilson era — makes halftime deficits seem like mere illusions. The Seahawks coming back feels less like a probability and more like a foregone conclusion.
Monday night’s second half didn’t feature a signature play so much as it did a sampler platter. Whether it was Rasheem Green forcing a fumble that Bradley McDougald recovered, Wilson hitting David Moore for a 60-yard touchdown, Tre Flowers intercepting Kirk Cousins, or coach Pete Carroll calling a fake punt, that earned a first down on fourth and three, there were significant contributions in every phase of the game.
The collective effort spawned 24 unanswered points for the Seahawks (10-2), who led by as many as 17. Perhaps you thought this would be the game when they finally put it all together — when they’d spank the now 8-4 Vikings in front of the entire country.
But the Seahawks don’t take down opponents like that. They’d rather take years off their fans’ lives.
Minnesota scored two unanswered touchdowns — one of which came on 58-yard touchdown pass amid a Seattle breakdown— to cut the deficit to four. The Vikings then got the ball back with 3:27 left in the game but turned it over on downs seven plays later.
The Seahawks tacked on a field goal, then forced and recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. And because they beat the 49ers (10-2) earlier in the month, they are now alone in first place in the NFC West.
“We have that clutch gene and have had it all year,” Wilson said. “We just want to keep that going.”
The clutch gene. There’s gotta be something to that, because they don’t seem to have the dominant gene. Only one of the Seahawks’ victories this year has come by more than one score, and though they are tied with the Ravens, Patriots, Saints and 49ers for the best record in the league, their plus-36 scoring margin is 10th.
But honestly, if they are within one score in the fourth quarter, does victory not seem not like a wrap? I’m not saying it is a wrap, but everything they’ve done to this point suggests victory is imminent.
Very little about these Seahawks resemble that of their Super Bowl teams. For one, there’s the personnel turnover — with Pro Bowlers such as Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Marshawn Lynch, Kam Chancellor, Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett all having moved on. But there was also the obliteration factor, as those 2013 and 2014 teams outscored opponents by a combined 326 points heading into the playoffs.
These Hawks don’t blow teams up. They’re much crueler than that. They make it seem like their foes have a 50-50 shot before busting out their two-headed coin.
After the game, Seahawks offensive lineman D.J. Fluker was asked about all the close wins. He alluded to a quote Carroll has been repeating to them all season long: “Do better longer.”
They’ve been doing just that. The only question is — how much longer can it last?