The Minnesota Vikings’ season-long winning streak of one game, came to an abrupt and dramatic halt, as they dropped a 27-26 heartbreaker to the Seattle Seahawks. The Vikings find unique and soul-crushing ways to lose to the Seahawks, and this was no different.
THE BEST DEFENSE IS A GOOD OFFENSE:
The best way to neutralize Russell Wilson is to keep the ball out of his hands. The Vikings did a masterful job of this in the first half. They took the opening kickoff and drove 77 yards while eating up over six minutes of clock. The drive culminated in Dalvin Cook’s eight-yard touchdown run, marking his fifth-consecutive game with a touchdown.
Later in the half, the Vikings marched 64 yards from their own two-yard line, with Dan Bailey hitting a 52-yard field goal. In all, the drive took 17 plays and 10:13 of game clock. Another Bailey field goal just before the half gave the Vikings a 13-0 advantage at the break.
In total, the Vikings held the ball for over two-thirds of the first half.
BUT THEN, IT HAPPENED AGAIN
Vikings fans have learned that a good first half of football does not necessarily lead to a good second half.
Coming into this game, the Vikings had been outscored 76-56 in the second half on the season. After a Seahawks three-and-out to start the second half, the Vikings took over and would lose Dalvin Cook on their very first play from scrimmage. Cook injured his groin on a completion that resulted in a five-yard loss. The Vikings would then have their own three-and-out, and four plays later, Seattle would have its first touchdown of the game on a Russell Wilson-to-Will Dissly 19-yard pass. The Vikings’ next possession would end in disaster when Kirk Cousins would fumble attempting a third-down pass. After review, Seattle was given the ball at the 15-yard line. D.K. Metcalf would catch a 13-yard dart from Wilson two plays later, as Seattle took a 14-13 lead.
Things would go from bad to worse for the Vikings.
Cook would return for one play as a decoy. The play-action pass Cousins intended for Justin Jefferson was intercepted on a gorgeous one-handed grab by linebacker K.J. Wright, and returned to the Vikings 29-yard line. It would only take one play for Seattle to extend its lead, as Chris Carson ripped through a bevy of Vikings tacklers the way Seattle coffee rips through my stomach lining.
In 3:35 of playing time, the Seahawks had scored three touchdowns. The lead was 21-13 Seattle and the Vikings were reeling.
HELP FROM THEIR COUSINS
At this point the Vikings could have folded and nobody would have blinked an eye, but Kirk Cousins & co. had other ideas. Cousins would lead the Vikings on an 11-play, 77-yard drive that ended in a touchdown pass to Adam Thielen. With the Seattle lead trimmed to 21-19, Mike Zimmer elected to go for two points and the tie. A curious play call by offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, had a Cousins quarterback draw stopped a yard short of the end zone, and the lead remained intact.
With a renewed spark, the Vikings defense forced a punt on Seattle’s next drive and took over on their own three-yard line, just before heading into the fourth quarter. A combination of Alexander Mattison’s rushing and Kirk Cousins’ passing would be instrumental in a 15-play, 97-yard drive that ended in Thielen backpedaling into the end zone on a six-yard reception.
Mattison would have 43 rushing yards on eight carries ,while Cousins would complete 4-of-5 passes for 40 yards on the drive.
ARMED AND ‘DANGE-RUSS’
The Vikings had a 26-21 lead with 7:08 to play in the fourth quarter.
Things looked even better for the Vikings after Russell Wilson threw an interception to Eric Wilson with just under six minutes to play.
The Vikings would move the ball 44 yards in six plays, but were faced with 4th-and-inches as the two-minute warning arrived. The ball sat on the Seattle six-yard line. A field goal would have put the Vikings ahead by eight points. It would have taken a Seattle touchdown and two-point conversion to tie.
Mike Zimmer passed on the points and decided to run one more play in hopes of getting the first down that would have iced the game. Mattison took the handoff and ran right, and was met at the line by Bobby Wagner and Benson Mayoa.
Seattle would have one last chance with just one time out and 94 yards in front of them with 1:57 on the clock.
On 4th-and-10 from their own 23, Wilson threw up a prayer towards D.K. Metcalf. Vikings rookie cornerback Cam Dantzler looked like he was burning from an invisible fire as he twirled around, trying to locate the pass. By the time he figured it out, Metcalf had a 39-yard catch and the drive continued. Wilson was brilliant and got the ‘Hawks to a first-and-goal on the six.
The Vikings defense stiffened, and again, Seattle was down to its final play.
On fourth down from the six, Wilson found his favorite target, D.K. Metcalf, crossing the end zone with Ant Harris trailing behind. Metcalf hauled it in on his way to the ground, and for all intents and purposes, the game was over. The Vikings’ hopes officially ended when an obvious forward pass from Cousins was ruled a fumble and time expired.
Russell Wilson had done it to the Vikings again.
TIME IS ON MY SIDE BUT THE SCOREBOARD ISN’T
The Vikings dominated time of possession in this one. They ran 83 plays and took 39:28 off of the clock. Seattle ran a mere 52 plays from scrimmage, holding the ball for just 20:32.
BY THE NUMBERS
Kirk Cousins finished the game 27-of-39 for 249 yards and two touchdowns. He threw one costly interception. Alexander Mattison had an excellent game in replacing Dalvin Cook. Mattison ran for 112 yards on 20 carries. Cook finished the night with 65 yards on 17 carries. Adam Thielen led the Vikings with 80 yards on nine catches, including a pair of touchdowns. Irv Smith, Jr. saw an increased role in the passing game with 64 yards on four catches. Justin Jefferson, coming off of back-to-back 100+ yard receiving games, had just 23 yards on three catches.
Wilson would throw for 217 yards on 20-of-32 passing, including three touchdowns and one interception. He also led the team in rushing with 58 yards on five carries. Chris Carson added 52 yards on eight carries and a touchdown. D.K. Metcalf led all receivers with 93 yards on six catches and two touchdowns.
The Vikings come home to face the 0-5 Atlanta Falcons and new interim head coach Raheem Morris. The Seahawks will enjoy their bye week.
(Featured Image Credit: VIkings.com)