A resilient Seattle Seahawks (9-6) team returned to the postseason after a one-year hiatus with a defiant 38 to 31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs ( 11-4) Sunday night at CenturyLink Field. Defiant in that the ailing Seahawks took some heavy blows from the NFL’s number one ranked offense and remained upright when the final whistle blew.
The Seahawks philosophy of next man up was thoroughly tested Sunday as the team was missing starters Tackle German Ifedi ( groin issue) and Tedric Thompson ( chest and ankle issue). Bradley McDougald started at his normal Free Safety position despite being away from the team all week due to treatment. Delano Hall started at strong safety for Thompson while George Fant stepped in for Ifedi at right tackle.
With a playoff birth on the line, the last thought on the Seahawks players and coaches was sympathy. The goal and mission was simple, slow down the high flying Chief with disciplined defense and a bruising rushing attack. The Seahawks defense set the tone of the game when it forced a Chiefs punt after three plays.
The Seahawks offense showed its gratitude with an 11 play, 78 drive that was capped by a Chris Carson four-yard touchdown run. Carson finished the game with 116 rushing yards on 27 carriers. The 116 rushing yards brought his season total to 1,029. It is the first time the Seahawks have a had running back rush for over 1000 yard in a season since 2014.
The Chiefs offense found it’ s footing on its next offensive possession when Harrison Butker made good on a 54-yard field goal attempt. Seattle placekicker Sebastian Janikowski was unable to return the favor as he hit the right upright from 36 yards out on Seattle’s offensive possession.
Patrick Mahomes wasted no time in seizing the opportunity when he hit Damien Williams with a two-yard pass to give the visitors the 10-7 lead to begin the second quarter.
As has been the case all season, the Seahawks defense bowed its neck, dug in and went to work. The Seahawks defense forced two fumbles in the quarter. Wilson cashed in on one of the gifts when he hit Nick Vannett for a one-yard touchdown that gave the Seahawks the 14-10 halftime lead.
For some unexplained reason, both teams decided to leave their defenses in the locker room to start the second half. Janikowski’s 28-yard field goal gave the Seahawks a 17-10 lead. Mahomes showed why he was picked for the ProBowl when he hit Charcandrick West with a 27-yard pass to tie the game at 17 all.
Wilson was not to be shown up in his house as he engineered another long drive( 8 plays, 75yards ) that ended with a 27 yard TD catch by Doug Baldwin that put the Seahawks up 24 to 17 with 45 seconds left in the third quarter.
A Butker 29 yard field brought the Chiefs within four points at 24 to 20 and brought some consternation to the Seahawk faithful. The 12’s faith in their team was restored when Wilson flipped a two-yard pass to Ed Dickson for his third touchdown of the day and put the Seahawks up 31 to 20.
Mahomes continued to add to his resume when he threw an 11-yard pass to Demarcus Robinson for his third touchdown of the day. Mahomes ran in the two-point conversation to bring the Chiefs within four at 28 to 31. It was then that the Seahawks showed why they deserve a playoff berth.
The Seahawks marched 75 yards on eight plays and Carson scored his second touchdown of the day from a yard out. The bend and don’t break Seahawks defense held Mahomes and company to a late field as the Seahawks were able to hang on and join the postseason party.
The Seahawks have now made the playoffs seven of thier nine years under Pete Carroll.