The Seattle Seahawks remained undefeated over the weekend with a 27-26 victory over the Minnesota Vikings at home, advancing to 5-0. This was largely an expected result, but the journey there was not quite the same path to victory that the Seahawks have enjoyed so far this year.
Rather than overwhelm Minnesota with their offensive capabilities, Seattle found themselves behind on Sunday. In fact, they were down 13-0 heading into halftime. They didn’t even manage 100 yards of offense, compared to Minnesota’s 200. As Seahawk fans have come to know over the last several years, their second-half form is frightening beyond belief. Early in the third quarter, the Hawks struck with three touchdowns in under two minutes of game time. They then almost squandered their newfound lead by falling into a 26-21 deficit. A last-minute touchdown put Seattle up 27-26 and the game was won. It was ugly, but the Hawks remain undefeated.
Minnesota played the game as well as they could have. The run game of Alexander Mattison and Dalvin Cook was impressive against an above-average run defense as the Vikings totaled 201 yards on the ground. This allowed the team to nearly double the time of possession of Seattle, forcing them to make plays quickly. It was truly unlucky that the Seahawks could execute on those opportunities. The Vikings were one play away from winning the game altogether, going for it on fourth down with one yard to go. It seemed a safe bet that Mattison could get it done, but he was stuffed at just the right time, giving Seattle the ball. The rest was history.
That seems to be the story more often than not. Most people will tell you that this style of nail-biting play just isn’t sustainable, that one-score games have to go the other way eventually. Head Coach Pete Carroll disagrees. He loves the feeling of being in those moments. It’s comfortable with him. When it’s comfortable for the team, it opens it up as a game plan. The Seahawks knew going into the half that they were going to win, and they did it. It’s part of the culture within the team and has transcended what lots of people would consider a sign of a mediocre team that’s getting lucky.
Russell Wilson finished the day with 217 yards, three touchdowns and a fourth-quarter interception, a pedestrian night by his standards. Two of those touchdowns went to DK Metcalf who led the team with six receptions for 93 yards as he continued to grow in importance within the Seattle offense. The synergy between the two is vaguely familiar to the same Wilson and Tyler Lockett seem to have, and it’s obvious why. Metcalf is a monster of a human being, too strong for quick defenders and too quick for bigger guys. The leadership of Wilson helped Metcalf go beyond what he was known for in college, as a guy who just tried to outrun the opponent. On Sunday, he caught the game-winner over the middle on a slant route. Nobody could have predicted that.
Seattle’s defense might have given up decent yardage on the ground, but don’t let them fool you. They were incredible in the pass game, sacking Kirk Cousins a total of three times. All three came from defensive lineman. K.J. Wright came away with both Seattle takeaways, a fumble recovery and interception that came on back-to-back drives in the third quarter. Cousins was held to 249 yards, his second-lowest of the season.
While less exciting, props have to be given to the punter Michael Dickson. He is truly gifted on the field. After Seattle punts, the Vikings had to start within their own 20-yard line all five times. They were pinned down within the five-yard line twice. The ball reached the end zone zero times. It sucks to see your punter go out there sometimes, but I’d rather have nobody else do it.
The Seahawks benefit from a week off before having their first intra-division game of the year in Arizona against the Cardinals. Seahawk fans, meanwhile, get a brief reprieve from the usual intensity and get to revel in being undefeated a little while longer.