For all the talk of a balanced offense that can run and pass the ball, the real culprit in the resurgence of the Seattle Seahawks (8-5) as a legitimate playoff team is the play of its defense. Yes the Seahawks have the number one rushing attack in the NFL, and their defense was tied for 19th best in the league, but the team’s ability to make big plays has made it one of the top defense in the league when you throw stats aside and count the wins.
On Monday night in front of a televised audience the Seahawks defense was stifling, dominant and opportunistic. The Seahawks defense held the Minnesota Vikings (6-6) high powered passing offense to just 199 yards, seventy of those yards were accrued during the Vikings only scoring drive of the game which was on their last possession of the game. Vikings Quarterback Kirk Cousins tossed a six-yard TD pass to Delvin Cook with 1:17 left in the game. The 199 passing yards was well below the Vikings season average of 274.8 passing yards per game.
The Seahawks held the Vikings to just 77 rushing yards due to the effectiveness of the defensive line. Once the Vikings were made one dimensional, the Seahawks defense was able to dictate the game.
SEAHAWKS OFFENSIVE STUGGLES
While the defense was dominating the Vikings offense the Seahawks offense was stalling due to self-inflicted wounds. A Sebastian Janikowski 37 field goal was all Seattle had to show in the first half after a Jordan Simmons unnecessary roughness penalty stalled one drive and a Russell Wilson interception right before halftime stymied the Seahawks other scoring threat.
The Seahawks doubled their lead on Janikowski 35 yard field and the defense literally rose to the occasion when Bobby Wagner split two defenders and blocked a 47-yard field goal attempt by the Vikings Dan Bailey midway through the fourth quarter.
Wagner’s defensive gem inspired the offense as Wilson engineered a seven play 63-yard drive that was capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Chris Carson. Wilson’s 40-yard scramble was the key play in the drive. Wilson completed the offensive resurgence when he connected with Tyler Lockett for the two yard Point after try to expand the Seahawks lead to 21-0 with a 2:43 left in the game.
A Jacob Martin strip sack of Cousins on the Vikings next offensive possession resulted in a Justin Coleman 29 yard fumble recovery for a touchdown that sent Seahawk Nation into absolute bedlam as the played sealed the team’s fourth consecutive win. The Seahawks are now the front-runner for the NFC Wildcard fifth position.