Minnesota Vikings Suffer Agony Of Defeat As Russell Wilson Leads Seahawks Comeback
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – OCTOBER 11: Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks rolls out to pass … [+]
In the end, it was exactly what you would expect when the Vikings go to Seattle to face Russell Wilson. Heartbreak, as usual, this time by a 27-26 margin. Russell Wilson finished the Vikings off by throwing a fourth-down touchdown pass to D.K. Metcalf with 15 seconds left on the clock.
The Vikings clearly played their best game of the year against the undefeated Seahawks, but they were unable to avoid the pain of yet another brutal prime-time defeat. The Vikings had been brilliant for much of the night, and were the better team for all but the last 1:57 and the first seven minutes of the third quarter.
They were the better team for 51 of the 60 minutes, but that was not good enough, and Minnesota is a 1-4 football team. The chances of making the playoffs in this COVID-impacted season seem remote, but the Vikings may not be a terrible football team despite their record.
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But after taking a 26-21 lead in the fourth quarter, and then driving the ball to the Seattle six-yard line with two minutes left in the game, head coach Mike Zimmer opted to go for it on fourth-and-1 rather than have Dan Bailey kick a field goal that would have extended the lead to eight points.
Don’t call it an error on Zimmer’s part. An eight-point lead would have forced the Seahawks to connect on a two-point conversion following a touchdown, but Seattle would have presumably had a much more advantageous starting position than the six-yard line following a Minnesota kickoff.
On the decisive stop by the Seahawks, running back Alexander Mattison was stopped inches short of his goal. Mattison had taken over as the team’s primary ball carrier because Dalvin Cook appeared to injure his groin or upper thigh on the first offensive snap of the second half.
Minnesota’s running game had been dominant throughout the game. Cook had 17 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown in the first half, while Mattison had 20 carries for 112 yards on 20 carries. The Vikings had gotten great push from their offensive line throughout, but Seattle’s Bobby Wagner and Benson Mayowa would not allow Mattison to get the yard he needed to clinch the victory.
That’s when Wilson took over, and he led the Seahawks on their 13-play, 94-yard drive. Wilson ran for 17 yards on the first play of the drive, but he was in deep trouble after three incomplete passes. With Zimmer mixing up his defensive alignments, he appeared to have gotten the best of Wilson. However, on the fourth-and-10 play, Wilson threw a desperation pass that Metcalf caught for a remarkable 38-yard gain.
After that conversion, the Vikings had to know that it would come down to Wilson working his magic once again. The Seattle quarterback appears to hold the early lead for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award, and he kept his poise in the final stages of the drive even though Minnesota’s defense had forced him into three incomplete passes from the Minnesota six-yard line.
The fourth try was decisive for Wilson as he held onto the ball long enough for Metcalf to cross in front of him. The pass was perfect, and the receiver launched himself towards the ball, caught it, hit the ground and maintained possession.
Kirk Cousins simply did not have enough time to work any miracle of his own. Cousins had been quite impressive in completing 27-of-39 passes for 249 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, and he nearly outdueled Wilson in the quarterback battle.
The defense, which had been so vulnerable throughout the first three games before bouncing back in the Week 4 win over the Houston Texans, was solid against Seattle.
The Seahawks were blanked in the game’s first half, and while the Seahawks scored three third-quarter touchdowns, two came on short fields after Minnesota turnovers.
The Vikings saw their 13-0 halftime lead turn into a 21-13 deficit midway through the third quarter, and it appeared the Seahawks would turn the game into a blowout.
But the Vikings countered with consecutive Cousins TD passes to Adam Thielen, giving the Vikings a 26-21 lead.
After stopping Seattle on the following possession, the Vikings would end up inches away from securing the victory.
But these are the Vikings, and painful defeats are a way of life. They are a cellar-dwelling team in the NFC North, miles behind the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.
The winless Atlanta Falcons are next, and that should be an opportunity for a victory. The true test will come with three consecutive games against Green Bay, Detroit and Chicago. Their talent should be good enough, but the Vikings must show they have the mental fortitude to overcome their heartbreaking start.