Three impressions from the Seahawks’ 37-30 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night at CenturyLink Field:
Three in one
This was really three games in one – a seesaw battle into the second half, a surge by the Seahawks into a 17-point fourth-quarter lead, and then a furious comeback by the Vikings that put a major scare in Seattle before falling just short.
Out of nowhere, a tight game turned into a seeming rout in the second half on a Seahawks flurry of 24 points in the span of 10:29. It was set up by two huge defensive plays: A fumble recovery by Bradley McDougald after Rasheem Green stripped Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins, and an interception by Tre Flowers. The latter led to a 13-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Rashaad Penny that put the Seahawks ahead 34-17 early in the fourth quarter.
The Vikings proceeded to make them sweat with two consecutive touchdowns – a 58-yard pass from Cousins to a ridiculously open Laquon Treadwell and, after a costly DK Metcalf fumble, a 3-yard connection to Kyle Rudolph. The Vikings missed the extra point, however, and then turned the ball over on downs with just over two minutes left. The Seahawks added a field goal with 21 seconds left and then recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to ice it, once and for all.
Wilson up and down
Wilson had a rollercoaster game. In the first half he was saddled with a bizarre pick-six – just his fourth interception of the season but the second to be returned the distance. Wilson’s pass intended for Jacob Hollister over the middle was batted back to him by a Vikings defender. Wilson promptly deflected it forward – right into the hands of Minnesota safety Anthony Harris, who bolted 20 yards into the end zone. The five defensive touchdowns allowed by Seattle this year are the most in the NFL.
That score gave Minnesota 14-7 lead with 5:09 left in the half. But Wilson came back to throw two touchdown passes in the second half, including a beautiful 60-yard strike to a wide-open David Moore. Overall, Wilson was 21 of 31 for 240 yards.
The Seahawks amassed a season-high 218 yards on the ground with a highly effective one-two punch of Chris Carson (102 yards) and Penny (74 yards). They also had a beautifully executed 29-yard run by Travis Homer on a fake punt.
The victory had huge implications for the Seahawks in terms of playoff positioning. Had they lost, they would have been a game behind San Francisco in the NFC West and the No. 6 (and final) seed in the NFC.
But by virtue of the victory, they moved into the lead in the NFC West and are the No. 2 seed in the NFC. The Seahawks and 49ers have 10-2 records, but the Seahawks have the edge in the division because of their overtime win over San Francisco in Santa Clara, California, in the season.
New Orleans is also 10-2, but it has the No. 1 seed ahead of the Seahawks because of its win over Seattle.