MINNEAPOLIS — Remember when the Seahawks used to always start slow but then rally late, leading to Pete Carroll’s famous statement about winning games in the fourth quarter?
Those days might have been stressful but they were also a heck of a lot more fun and successful than what fans are seeing from the 2021 Seahawks three games in.
For the second straight game, the Seahawks came out hot and opened up a double-digit lead.
And for the second straight week, they blew it all, with the defense unable to stop much of anything and the offense going cold turkey in the second half as the Vikings stormed to a 30-17 win in Minnesota.
Seattle was outgained 224-66 in the second half and outscored 23-0 after taking a 17-7 lead with 11:12 to play in the second quarter.
Kirk Cousins completed 30 of 38 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns and was rarely touched.
And Minnesota backup running back Alexander Mattison rushed for 112 yards as the Vikings seemed to do whatever they wanted in the final three quarters.
“It’s the best offensive performance that I’ve seen in the eight years that I’ve been here,” Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said.
Add it up and Seattle is now 1-2 and already two games behind in the NFC West. It was the first time Seattle has lost to Minnesota since 2009 and also means the Seahawks already have half as many losses by Sept. 26 as they had all of last season.
Worse, the defensive problems don’t appear easily fixable, though there will undoubtedly be a clamor this week for change somewhere, especially at cornerback.
And it’s hard to know what to make of the offense, which scored on its first three drives Sunday but then never again going just 7, 18 and 17 yards on its first three drives of the second half.
Seattle trailed 30-17 after a 20-yard field goal by Greg Joseph with 4:31 left. A completion and a personal foul penalty led to the momentary thought that Seattle could come back.
But after a sack on first down, Russell Wilson spent three plays scrambling around in vain, throwing deep on third and fourth down in apparent hope of pass interference penalties, at the least, if not a miraculous completion.
But he got neither, with officials deciding not to call anything after two Vikings defenders collided with Penny Hart in the end zone on fourth down with 2:28 left.
And that was that.
“We’ve got to make sure that we get right and get better and improve and make some adjustments so that it doesn’t look the same as it did,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
The Seahawks trailed 21-17 at the end of a first half that featured just one punt and a combined 537 yards.
Seattle scored on its first three possessions to take a 17-7 lead.
But a Jason Myers missed field goal from 44 yards and a leaky defense allowed the Vikings to rally.
After Seattle took a 17-7 lead on a 30-yard run by Chris Carson, the Vikings drove 85 yards for a touchdown on a drive kept alive by a holding penalty on third down by Ugo Amadi.
Rasheem Green had sacked Cousins on the play and Seattle appeared to be getting a three-and-out and the ball back with a 10-point lead.
Instead, the Vikings used the second chance to cut the lead to 17-14 on a 15-yard Cousins pass to Adam Thielen.
Myers then missed from 44 with 3:14 left in the half.
The Vikings converted three third downs to move to Seattle’s 3-yard line where Cousins hit Justin Jefferson with a scoring pass to give Minnesota the lead at the half despite Seattle having gained 308 yards.
The play in the secondary was an issue, but so was Seattle’s pass rush as the Seahawks had just one quarterback hit in the first half, from linebacker Jordyn Brooks.
The Vikings scored the only points of the third quarter on a 43-yard field goal by Joseph, a drive that Seattle was fortunate to stop, doing so in part due to an off-target Cousins pass that Jefferson couldn’t corral near the 10.
But Seattle was then forced to punt for the first time in the game on its ensuing possession.
A penalty on the punt moved the Vikings back to their 15.
No matter. Minnesota methodically drove to the Seattle 15 for another Joseph field goal that made it 27-17 with 13:47 to play.
Disaster appeared to have happened when Tyler Lockett fumbled at Seattle’s own 46 with 12:53 to play in the fourth quarter. As Lockett lost the ball, he grabbed at his knee as he fell awkwardly while tackled by Bashaud Breeland.
But after a few minutes on the turf, Lockett walked off. And after a review, the play was overturned and Seattle kept the ball.
But the reprieve was short-lived.
Two plays later on third-and-7, Wilson threw too high to an open Freddie Swain as he was hit by former Seahawk Sheldon Richardson.
Seattle punted again and the Vikings drove for another field goal.
“We can’t keep letting ones like this and last game slip away when we have opportunities in front of us,” Seahawks defensive lineman Carlos Dunlap said. “Opportunities don’t come twice, so we’ve got to take advantage of each and every one because they count. They matter.”