SEATTLE – The Seattle Seahawks are all the way back.
The Seahawks completed a remarkable turnaround Monday night following the season’s disastrous 0-2 start, defeating the Minnesota Vikings 21-7 to put themselves in the driver’s seat for an NFC West wild-card berth. Seattle’s simplest path to clinching would come with a win over the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday, but at any rate they have three weeks left to put it away.
The website FiveThirtyEight says the Seahawks now have a 99 percent chance of making the playoffs.
“It’s available to us,” coach Pete Carroll said. “It’s there now. I’m really excited about that, but talk to me after we’ve accomplished something. We haven’t done anything yet.”
Don’t let that final score fool you – it was a tight one all the way through, and the Hawks didn’t put it away until the final minutes of the game.
It wasn’t Russell Wilson’s finest evening, as he completed 10 of 20 passes for 72 yards and an interception with no touchdown passes.
But the Seahawks did crack 200 yards rushing again, with Chris Carson leading the way with 22 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown and Rashaad Penny carrying eight times for 44 yards.
Bobby Wagner had another stellar game in an already stellar season, leading the team with nine tackles and coming up with a huge field goal block late in the game.
The Seahawks got on the board first, scoring the only points of the first half early in the second quarter. It was a bit of a disappointment, however, as a Wilson absorbed a sack on third-and-9, and the Seahawks settled for a 37-yard field goal from Sebastian Janikowski as the capper to a 13-play, 70-yard drive.
The Seahawks cost themselves points late in the second half, and very nearly gave up six points the other way on an inexplicable play by Wilson. Facing a first-and-goal with no timeouts on the Vikings’ 1-yard line, Wilson dropped back … and back … and back … before attempting to throw it away but instead watching Eric Kendricks intercept it at the 14-yard line.
The Vikings cost themselves a shot at all-but-certain points as well in the fourth quarter. After Janikowski kicked a 35-yard field goal to give Seattle a 6-0 lead, Minnesota took the ensuring possession all the way down to Seattle’s 1.
Coach Mike Zimmer opted to go for it on fourth-and-1, but Kirk Cousins’ pass into the end zone was incomplete and Seattle took over on downs with 9:12 left in the game.
Wagner added to his impressive season midway through the fourth quarter with a Kam Chancellor-esque play. Down 6-0, the Vikings attempted a 47-yard field goal, but Wagner vaulted over the line and got his hands up to block the kick put he ball back in Seattle’s hands with 5:38 left in the game.
Two plays later, Wilson sprinted down the sideline for a 40-yard gain. And five plays after that, Chris Carson plowed into the end zone to set the Seahawks up for a 14-0 lead.
And in two more plays, the game became a laugher. Jacob Martin forced a fumble of Kirk Cousins on second-and-10, and Justin Coleman scooped it up and ran it into the end zone to make it 21-0.
The Vikings got their only points of the game with just over 1 minute left, as Cousins connected with Dalvin Cook on a 6-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-7.
Seattle travels to San Francisco to play the 49ers Sunday at 1:05 p.m. on the official home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX.