A recap of the Seahawks’ 24-13 loss to the Vikings in Minneapolis on Saturday night:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Earl Thomas. The rookie free safety turned in the play of the game with his 86-yard interception return for the Seahawks’ only touchdown. But he also broke up another pass – or dropped a second interception, as veteran strong safety Lawyer Milloy ribbed Thomas after the game.
Thomas also had a big hit on Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin to break up a pass in the third quarter and forced a play that led to defensive end Chris Clemons stopping running back Adrian Peterson for a 1-yard loss in the second quarter.
It was just a Saturday night sampler of the skills that prompted the Seahawks to select Thomas with the 14th pick in April’s NFL draft.
“We drafted him because he’s a playmaker,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He was the best playmaker in the country.”
On this Saturday night in Minneapolis, Thomas also was the best playmaker in a game filled with players who have fashioned Pro Bowl, All-Pro and even Hall of Fame careers by making big plays.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Faced with a fourth-and-4 play in the fourth quarter, the Vikings not only went for it, Sage Rosenfels went to the end zone. Rookie cornerback Walter Thurmond had Javon Walker covered, but the just-signed wide receiver still came up with the ball for proved to be the game-winning score.
Defense: Thomas’ interception return, of course. But there were so many others, let’s give some love to the first of Clemons’ two sacks. Brett Favre had completed a 34-yard pass to a wide open Harvin on the Vikings’ first play of the game. But two plays later, Clemons not only got to Favre he forced a fumble that recovered by defensive tackle Colin Cole.
In looking to answer that nagging how-will-the-Seahawks-generate-a-pass-rush quandary, start with Clemons, who now has three sacks in as many preseason games.
Special teams: On the kickoff following Thomas’ TD return, the Vikings’ Darius Reynaud broke a 73-yard return to set up a game-tying touchdown.
Middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, making his preseason debut after sitting out the first two games because of a sore hamstring, had five tackles and broke up a pass.
Wide receiver Deion Branch and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck hooked up on a 41-yard pass play, when Hasselbeck noticed the Vikings in a coverage the Seahawks had worked against all week in practice and alter the play call before the snap.
Jon Ryan continued what has been an impressive preseason by averaging 55.2 yards on six punts, and could have improved on his net of 41.7 if his 67-yarder had not skipped into the end zone for a touchback.
Leon Washington got the start at running back, after Julius Jones and Justin Forsett started the first two games. But he averaged only 2.7 yards on six carries.
The Seahawks converted three fourth-down situations, but were only two of 15 on third downs.
The Vikings had a huge advantage in time of possession – 37:08 to 22:52 – because they had the ball for almost 21 minutes in the first half.
Rookie tight end Anthony McCoy sprained an ankle during the second quarter and did not return.
Carroll said any other injuries were only bumps and bruises.
Ten injured or on-the-mend Seahawks did not play: offensive linemen Russell Okung, Ben Hamilton, Ray Willis and Chester Pitts; linebackers Leroy Hill and David Hawthorne; tight end Chris Baker; defensive linemen Kentwan Balmer and Nick Reed; and cornerback Josh Pinkard.
YOU DON’T SAY
“We accomplished a lot of stuff we needed to accomplish tonight. Unfortunately we don’t get the win to have fun with it.” – Carroll