Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 37-30 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday at CenturyLink Field:
The Seahawks obviously came into the game looking to run the ball, and they were able to do so effectively, gaining 218 yards on the ground. Chris Carson (23 carries, 102 yards, one TD) and Rashaad Penny (15 carries, 74 yards, one TD) are starting to look like the best running back tandem in the NFL. Quarterback Russell Wilson was solid (21-for-31, 240 yards, two TD passes), and the offense was nearly perfect in a 17-point third-quarter. But a few hiccups — Wilson’s batting of a tipped pass that turned into a Vikings touchdown, and D.K Metcalf’s fourth-quarter fumble that let Minnesota back in the game — drop this grade a couple notches.
Other than Minnesota’s opening drive, when a slew of missed tackles allowed the Vikings to march down the field for a touchdown, the Seahawks defense played well through the first three quarters, limiting Minnesota to just 10 points. The line was able to get pressure on quarterback Kirk Cousins, which kept the Vikings from throwing deep, and Seattle held Dalvin Cook, one of the most dangerous running backs in the game, in check, But the fourth quarter was a disaster as a blown coverage resulted in a 58-yard touchdown pass and a 30-yard pass-interference penalty set up another TD, helping Minnesota climb back in the game. The defense had a chance to close this one out early, but didn’t get the job done.
A good night for the special teams, and especially for Travis Homer. The rookie ran 29 yards for a first down on a fake punt that kept the ball in Seattle’s hands right as the momentum was starting to swing in the Vikings’ favor in the fourth quarter. He also recovered a fumble on the game’s final kickoff to seal the win. Punter Michael Dickson repeatedly pinned Minnesota inside the 20-yard line, and Jason Myers made all three of his field-goal attempts.
The decision to play a significant part of the game with six offensive linemen was one of the keys to Seattle’s big game on the ground. The fake punt in the fourth quarter was perfectly timed. The game seemed to be slipping out of the Seahawks’ grasp and Homer’s 29-yard run allowed Seattle to regain the momentum and use up some more clock. Pete Carroll won a challenge in the first half, turning what was ruled a Vikings’ first down into a third-and-one. Unfortunately, the Seahawks gave up a first down on the next play. Seattle had only one penalty in the game, which is the mark of a well-prepared team.
You can’t argue with a win over one of the best teams in the NFC, even if the fourth quarter — when Seattle nearly squandered a 17-point lead — made Seattle fans squirm. If the Seahawks continue to run the football with this much authority, and play defense like they did over the first three quarters, they are going to be a dangerous team come playoff time.