Seattle Seahawks advance with a 10-9 road victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Next up: the Carolina Panthers.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Seahawks barely avoided sliding off the road to the Super Bowl in freezing Minnesota on Sunday by the barest of margins, as Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal with 26 seconds left, allowing Seattle to beat the Vikings here, 10-9.
The ending was as stunning as the weather in a game played in minus-six degree temperatures, tying for the third-coldest game in NFL history.
Minnesota moved from its own 39 into position for the kick thanks to two plays — a pass interference call on Kam Chancellor against Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph that gave the Vikings the ball at he Seattle 42. On the next play, Teddy Bridgewater hit Rudolph for a 24-yard gain, with Rudolph making the catch under close coverage by Chancellor and then breaking free to the 18.
The Vikings then used three runs to get to the 9 and set up Walsh’s field goal.
But the Minnesota kicker who had earlier made three field goals simply shanked it left, also kicking the ball at its laces.
Seattle trailed 9-0 entering the third quarter and appeared dead until finally putting together a drive to get back into the game.
The key play of the game came as it often does with Russell Wilson — extemporaneously.
On a first down at the Minnesota 39 early in the fourth quarter, a shotgun snap got past Wilson — who didn’t appear ready for the play. Wilson had to kneel down to control it at about the Seattle 45. But with the rush closing in and disaster looming, Wilson got up and evaded the pressure, then found Tyler Lockett wide open in the middle of the field.
Lockett took it to the 4 and the Seahawks scored two plays later on a 3-yard pass from Wilson to Doug Baldwin to cut Minnesota’s lead to 9-7 with 11:37 to play.
Adrian Peterson fumbled at the 40 on Minnesota’s next possession after picking up 10 yards on a short pass. Chancellor helped pull the ball out as Peterson was also being held up by K.J. Wright.
Seattle used one first down to move into field goal range to set up a 46-yarder by Steven Hauschka with 8:04 left to take the lead for the first time in the game.
But one of the biggest plays may have come a few plays earlier when Wilson evaded a sack at the 45 yard line by throwing the ball out of bounds as he was tackled.
Seattle evaded disaster on its next drive when Minnesota’s Andre Senedejo dropped a possible interception around midfield.
Minnesota then got the one more chance, leading to the Walsh field goal attempt.
The Seahawks have now won at least one playoff game in four straight seasons.
The Seahawks move on, however narrow the margin, to play at Carolina next Sunday in an NFC Divisional playoff game at 10:05 a.m. PST.
A botched punt, a failed fourth down and an interception off a tipped pass contributed to Seattle being scoreless through the first three quarters.
The temperature was announced as minus-six degrees at kickoff, making it tied for the third-coldest game in NFL history. The windchill was announced as minus-25.
Many Seattle players, though, followed through with their pregame promises not to wear sleeves, part of a week-long stance of downplaying the potential impact of the weather.
But the conditions definitely seemed to have an impact throughout.
Most notably, the weather appeared to be why Seattle did not attempt a 48-yard field goal into a 12 mph wind in the second quarter. Seattle was stopped short on fourth down leading to its first scoreless first half of the season, trailing 3-0.
The Seahawks moved past midfield twice in the first half but didn’t score either time.
One ended on the bypassed field goal attempt — the Seahawks were facing fourth-and-13 at the 30 when they decided to go for it with a pass to Fred Jackson picking up just 7.
Late in the half, a pass-interference penalty helped Seattle move to the Vikings 38. Doug Baldwin appeared open in the end zone on third down but Wilson’s pass — possibly impacted by the cold — fluttered and allowed the Vikings to break it up.
Michael, getting the start at tailback in place of the absent Marshawn Lynch, had 28 yards on eight carries in the first half.
Wilson was just 6 for 11 for 39 yards working against a Minnesota defense that was fortified by the return of four starters who had missed the first game between the two teams, including safeties Harrison Smith and Sendejo.
The Seahawks trailed 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, getting just one first down.
But the Seahawks’ defense held firm after the Vikings got the ball at the Seattle 29 when a bad punt snap led to a Jon Ryan run that came up short of a first down. Ryan took the low snap and after initially delaying his punt, then took off, but was upended and landed face first, injuring his nose.
The Vikings moved to the 4 but were stopped there when K.J. Wright broke up a pass intended for Jerick McKinnon, forcing the Vikings to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Walsh.
The Vikings did what was suspected early, giving the ball often to Peterson after he had been held to 18 yards on just eight carries in the first game between the two.
Peterson almost doubled the amount of carries in the first half alone with 14, but managed just 31 yards.
A promising Seattle drive to start the second half ended in disaster when a Wilson pass on third down was tipped by tight end Chase Coffman and into the hands of Trae Waynes, who returned it to the Minnesota 46.
Seattle had a third-and-one at the Vikings 38 but Michael was stopped for two yards setting up the failed fourth down attempt.
The interception led to a 43-yard field goal by Walsh that put the Vikings ahead 6-0. The Seattle offense then went three-and-out — with Wilson sacked on the first two plays.
That set up the Vikings in good field position and led to another short drive and a 47-yard field goal by Walsh to put Minnesota ahead 9-0 with two seconds to go in the third quarter.
Bridgewater was sacked on third down to make the field goal 6 yards longer. But Walsh’s kick had just enough to clear the goalposts.