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Seahawks beat Vikings, take over first place in NFC West

UPDATED: Mon., Dec. 2, 2019

Seattle Seahawks' Rashaad Penny (20) carries against the Minnesota Vikings during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Seattle. (John Froschauer / Associated Press)
Seattle Seahawks' Rashaad Penny (20) carries against the Minnesota Vikings during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Seattle. (John Froschauer / Associated Press)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

It wouldn’t be the 2019 Seahawks if it came easy. So why should the win that got them into first place be any different?

Seemingly on the verge of a blowout with a 17-point fourth-quarter lead, Seattle allowed the Vikings not only back in the game but gave them a chance to win it.

But as they have so often done this season, the Seahawks made the plays at the end to hold on.

With the Vikings getting the ball back and a chance to take the lead, Seattle got the defensive stop it needed and then a first down and field goal that ran out the clock, all resulting in an ultimately celebratory 37-30 win over Minnesota.

Seattle is 10-2 and moved into first place in the NFC West, ahead of the San Francisco 49ers thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker, and the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

Until the out-of-nowhere Minnesota comeback, this was a win that felt right out of coach Pete Carroll’s playbook – accomplished with a punishing rushing attack on offense that softened up the Vikings for the big-play kill, an opportunistic defense that forced two turnovers that got Seattle into the lead and the trademark resilience to not let an early first-half deficit get in the way, or wilt when the Vikings made it interesting at the end.

Trailing 17-10 at halftime, the Seahawks dominated the final 30 minutes, scoring the first four times they had the ball in the second half to first take the lead, and then – or so it seemed – control. They also got turnovers on a fumble forced by Rasheem Green and recovered by Bradley McDougald, and an interception by Flowers that each led to points.

The dagger appeared to come on a 60-yard pass from Russell Wilson to David Moore on a third-and-five play that put Seattle up 27-17 late in the third quarter and served as some redemption for Wilson, who batted a tipped pass forward for one of the odder pick sixes in NFL history and an early Minnesota lead.

Wilson then hit Rashaad Penny on a screen pass for a 13-yard TD a few minutes later and a 34-17 lead that signaled the rout was on.

But the Vikings then got a gift, a 58-yard TD pass from Kirk Cousins to Laquon Treadwell on a blown coverage.

And then, after a DK Metcalf fumble when the Seahawks were poised to get a score to put the game away again, a pass-interference penalty on Flowers led to another Cousins TD pass to Kyle Rudolph that made it 34-30 with 7:14 left.

A 13-yard sack taken by Wilson then forced Seattle to punt, and the Vikings took over at their own 16-yard line with 3:27 left.

But after Minnesota got to its 35 the drive ended. K.J. Wright tipped a pass on third down, and Akeem King smothered tight end Irv Smith Jr. to force an incompletion on fourth and three with 2:27 left.

Seattle took over at the Minnesota 42 and got a first down and one last field goal,and fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and victory, finally, was officially theirs.

The Vikings came in allowing just 94.2 rushing yards per game, sixth in the NFL. But Seattle more than doubled that with 218 that was a season high, as well as the most allowed this year by Minnesota.

Many came behind a line bolstered by extra lineman George Fant, who played the most he has all season in his eligible tackle role.

And Seattle held the Vikings to just 78 rushing yards – almost half of the Vikings’ average of 142.5 – and for most of the second and third quarters stifled the Minnesota offense until the couple of breakdowns that led to the two late touchdowns.

Seattle also sort of had only itself to blame for Minnesota’s two first-half TDs.

Seattle drove to the Vikings 47 to start the game where it faced a fourth and one.

But eschewing the recent trend around the league to go for it in such situations, Seattle decided to punt.

That backfired when the Vikings got the ball at their own 17 and then needed only six plays to move 83 yards to take a 7-0 lead thanks in part to some shoddy tackling by Seattle.

A missed tackled by Wright on a short pass to fullback C.J. Ham turned into a 36-yard gain that kicked off the series.

And receiver Stefon Diggs then gained 27 yards on a play in which both Quandre Diggs and Tre Flowers missed tackles.That took the ball to the 2-yard-line where Dalvin Cook scored on the next play.

Seattle came right back to tie it on a 75-yard, 14-play drive that took eight minutes and one second, the second-longest drive in terms of time for the Seahawks this year.

Seattle converted two third downs on the drive each on slant passes – the first of 10 yards to Josh Gordon and the next of 19 yards to Metcalf that took the ball to the 1.

Chris Carson ran it in to tie the score at 7.

The score was still tied when on a second-and-nine play, Wilson threw a pass over the middle, apparently trying to hit tight end Jacob Hollister. Instead, Minnesota tackle Armon Watts batted the ball back to Wilson, who then took his right hand and slapped the ball forward, maybe hoping it would go incomplete instead of catching it and losing yards, or maybe even hoping a teammate might get it.

Instead, the ball went right to Minnesota safety Anthony Harris, who had an easy path to a 20-yard TD that made it 14-7.

Wilson rallied himself quickly from what was officially his second pick six of the season – and second in the past three home games – leading Seattle to the Vikings 11.

But the drive ended there on a third down incompletion to Tyler Lockett, and Jason Myers kicked a field goal to make it 14-10 with 58 seconds left.

The Vikings, though, had all three of their timeouts and used them wisely to move into range for a 47-yard field goal by Dan Bailey to make it 17-10 as time ran out.

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