What a game last night! Imagine being the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday morning, waking up as the #1 seed in the NFC. Then on Monday night, going to bed as the #5 seed. Well, that’s what happened after the Seahawks defeated the Minnesota Vikings in prime time matchup at CenturyLink.
The Seahawks received the ball to start the game. During their first drive, RB Chris Carson was shaken up and had to leave the field. They ended up punting the ball away to the Vikings who were able to drive the ball 83 yards and score to take the early 7-0 lead.
Russell Wilson and company didn’t panic as they marched down the field on the ensuing possession for a 75-yard touchdown drive. Carson came back into the game and ran the ball in from the one-yard line.
Carson wasn’t the only player to get injured. At the 8:56 mark in the first quarter, Dalvin Cook took a shot to his collarbone that left him out for the rest of the game. During the hit, he fumbled the football, which was recovered by Bradley McDougald. Alex Mattison, who finished the game with 51 receiving yards (primarily screen passes) and 22 rushing yards, replaced Cook.
In the second quarter, things started to start feeling a little sketchy—you know that feeling that the game takes a turn for the worst? That feeling. Wilson threw a pass intended for Jacob Hollister that was batted back to him, where he went to swat it down—directly to Harris who returned it for a score. Vikings took a 14-7 lead.
The Seahawks and Vikings were able to get field goals to take a 17-10 Vikings lead into halftime.
Then the third quarter happened. Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny is a lethal duo. Honestly, they’re probably the best 1-2 backs in the league right now. Sure, I can think of better RBs than Carson, but I can’t think of a better duo on any team other than Carson and Penny. During this third quarter, the Seahawks scored 17 unanswered points with a run by Penny, a field goal, and a 60-yard bomb to David Moore.
To start the 4th quarter scoring, Rashaad Penny took a 13-yard pass to the house to put the Seahawks up 34-17. Things started to crumble for the Seahawks from there. Kirk Cousins linked up with Laquon Treadwell for a 58-yard touchdown in, what appeared to be, blown Seahawks secondary coverage. On the next Seahawks possession, D.K. Metcalf fumbled the football, which resulted in a Kyle Rudolph touchdown to bring the score to 34-30.
After burning through their timeouts, the Vikings turned the ball over on downs to the Seahawks who were able to put up 3 more points to make it a 37-30 ballgame with :21 left. The Vikings special teams fumbled the kickoff to seal the game for the Seahawks.
With this win, the Seahawks are now the #2 seed in the NFC.
Digging deeper: Seattle’s defensive front is stout. They were able to stymie the Vikings’ running game, even when Cook was in the ballgame. They put a lot of pressure on Cousins who seemed inaccurate most of the night. The Vikings success came on screen passes. The Seattle defense is gaining momentum as we move into the winter months of football, where the Seahawks generally flourish. Additionally, the Seahawks secondary is beginning to show more signs of life. The addition of Quandre Diggs was what they needed. Take away the blown coverage of Treadwell’s TD, the secondary limited Diggs to 25 yards and Rudolph to 50 yards.
Coming out of halftime, the Seahawks offense was able to generate 24 unanswered points, 17 in the 3rd quarter and 7 in the 4th. Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson are killing it on the ground. Carson finished with 102 rushing yards and Penny finished the game with 74, while the combo combined for 3 total touchdowns. Carson held on to the rock all night, and I was able to notice him cradling the football with both arms, making it difficult to turn it over. D.K. Metcalf, however, turned the ball over yet again. He seems to do so when he is trying to extend plays. His focus should be ball security, then turning up field.
Looking ahead, the Seahawks take on the Rams in Los Angeles this Sunday night at 5:20 PST. Every game from here on out is of the highest importance to keep San Francisco as the 5 seed in order to get the Seahawks a first round bye.