The Seahawks did what they do.
With a smothering 21-7 defeat Monday night of the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field, Seattle is on the cusp of returning to the playoffs after missing the postseason last year.
The dominant prime time victory looked familiar. It was a classic Seahawks victory under coach Pete Carroll: A stout of defense, a tough running game and a few memorable moments.
Here’s what some in the media are saying:
Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr said games like this might help pump the brakes on the recent offensive revolution around the league.
“While the game featured all the trappings of an offensive boon taking place around the league,” he wrote, “(both teams have either been funneling collegiate concepts into their system for years, or are making up for it of late), two teams built around a stout, physical defense thudded into one another for the better part of 60 minutes.”
He later concluded that, “this is good.” Even, “necessary.”
“The NFL needs defensive headhunters to cloud the narrative,” he said.
CBSSports.com’s Sean Wagner-McGough offered a different take. He wasn’t as impressed with the defenses as he was more sickened by the lack of offense.
“It was an ugly game, and the defenses weren’t entirely responsible for the lack of points,” he wrote. “At halftime, the Seahawks led 3-0 even though they were outgaining the Vikings 175 to 61. (Kirk) Cousins and Russell Wilson both struggled to complete passes downfield, going a combined 11 of 20 for 71 yards in the first half, which ended in hilariously awful fashion when Wilson threw one of the worst interceptions of the season to Eric Kendricks.”
Lending more weight to the lack-of-offense narrative may be what the Vikings did after the game, firing offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.
Wilson Brinson of CBSSports.com looked back at DeFilippo’s short time on the job.
“It’s been a wild ride for DeFilippo, who drew praise for his early-season work with Cousins,” he wrote. “The former Eagles quarterbacks coach was on the short list for potential head-coaching opportunities. That won’t be the case now, with ‘Flip’ being tossed on the scrap heap with just three weeks remaining in the season.”
Monday’s win was not without a few curious calls by the referees, none more so than a non-call on a blocked field goal by Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner.
Wagner leaped the line of scrimmage and appeared to touch two teammates on the way to the block, which is not allowed, as former vice president of officiating Mike Pereira pointed out on Twitter.
“Lots of talk about the Wagner block,” Pereira tweeted. “The wording in the rule book is NEW this year and is clear. The new wording states, ‘May not place a hand or hands on a teammate or opponent in an attempt to jump through a gap to block an opponent’s kick or apparent kick.’ Case closed. Foul.”
Frank Schwab with Yahoo Sports saw two teams heading in different directions.
“The Seahawks have overachieved,” he wrote. “From top to bottom, the Vikings probably have more talent than Seattle. But the Seahawks are the superior team. That was never in doubt on Monday.”
What also is not in doubt, is the Seahawks chances of making the postseason.
ESPN’s Nick Wagoner pointed out Seattle is now a virtual lock.
“Mathematically, the Seahawks have not yet clinched a playoff berth,” he wrote. “But barring something catastrophic, the Seahawks will be playing in the games that matter most come January. At 8-5, Seattle’s chances of reaching the postseason jumped to 99.6 percent, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index calculations.”
NFL.com’s Jeremy Bergman also looked ahead to the postseason, where he said the Seahawks’ swaggering defense could be on display again.
“At 8-5, Seattle is all but assured a spot in the postseason,” he said. “The Seahawks can’t win the West, but they are 1.5 games removed from the morass surrounding the NFC’s sixth seed. Seattle ends the year with one tough test, a home game against Kansas City, sandwiched by two divisional cupcakes (at SF, ARI). In the wild-card round, the ‘Hawks will likely play another stout defense in Chicago or Dallas. If you don’t like points and had a grand ol’ time watching Monday night’s masterpiece, get yo’ popcorn/seaweed snacks ready for Seattle’s first playoff game.”