The Seahawks' secondary stood up, the Seattle defense stiffened when it needed to and Russell Wilson and Co. left too many points on the field.
The Seahawks nearly produced their first shutout since 2015.
It was ugly. But, more importantly, it was a win.
Here are three impressions from the Seahawks’ 21-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
Fourth down stops make a difference
The Vikings had first-and-goal from the Seahawks’ 4-yard line early in the fourth quarter on Monday.
They gained three yards in their next four plays.
After two rushes and an incomplete pass, Minnesota’s offense lined up on fourth down from the Seahawks’ 1-yard line. Quarterback Kirk Cousins lofted a pass into the back of the end zone in the direction of tight end Kyle Rudolph, but safety Bradley McDougald managed to bat it away.
That wasn’t the Seahawks’ only fourth-down stand. In the third quarter, Frank Clark and Bobby Wagner combined to turn away Vikings running back Latavius Murray on fourth-and-1. Combine that with Wagner’s fourth quarter field goal block, in which he leaped over the entire offensive line to swat away Dan Bailey’s 47-yard try, and the Seahawks’ defense made multiple critical plays to carry its incompetent offense over the finish line.
Seahawks’ secondary steps up
The Seattle secondary allowed 49ers undrafted rookie quarterback Nick Mullens to throw for 414 yards last week, albeit in a blowout win.
They responded impressively on Monday.
Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 20 of 33 passes and threw for just 208 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Adam Thielen — who arrived in Seattle with 98 catches for 1,166 yards and nine touchdowns — finished with five catches for 70 yards (but none in the first half). Besides a 48-yard deep ball to wide receiver Stephon Diggs, the Seattle secondary answered the call.
It’s true, the Seahawks produced just two sacks and running back Dalvin Cook averaged 4.2 yards per carry. But the secondary didn’t flinch. Cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin, Tre Flowers and Justin Coleman — who returned a Cousins fumble forced by Jacob Martin 29 yards for a fourth-quarter score — saved the day for the low-scoring Seahawks on Monday night.
Missed opportunities mar Seahawks’ offense
The Seahawks outgained the Vikings in the first half, 175-61.
They scored just three total points.
There was a trio of plays that ultimately submarined Seattle’s early opportunities. Midway through the second quarter, Russell Wilson overthrew Tyler Lockett on third-and-5 from the Vikings’ 35-yard line. Instead of lining up for a 52-yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal attempt, right guard Jordan Simmons was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that drove the Seahawks out of field goal range.
On the following Seattle drive, Wilson appeared to hit second-year wide receiver David Moore in the corner of the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown, but Moore failed to tap a second foot in bounds.
But the Seahawks’ half-ending debacle was by far the most egregious. With 16 seconds left, zero timeouts to work with and the ball at the Vikings’ 1-yard line, Wilson rolled to his right, found nobody to throw to, circled back to the middle of the field, slipped, attempted to throw the ball out of bounds and instead tossed an interception right to Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks.
In all, the Seahawks dominated statistically but still left at least 10 points on the field.