A recap of the Seahawks’ 30-20 victory over the Vikings at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Russell Wilson. With all due to respect to Adrian Peterson, who ran for 182 yards, Wilson wins this one 3-2 – as in touchdown passes to rushing touchdowns.
Every time Peterson scored – on 1- and 4-yard runs in the first half – Wilson answered. The Seahawks’ rookie quarterback threw TD passes of 6 yards to Golden Tate and 11 yards to Sidney Rice in the first quarter, after Peterson scored his 1-yarder. After Peterson’s 4-yarder pulled the Vikings even in the second quarter, Wilson gave the Seahawks the lead for good with his 11-yard TD pass to Tate with 44 seconds left in the first half.
“We talked about that during the week, being able to try and contain him,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said of Wilson. “That’s what happens when he scrambles, he is able to make some plays. He made some plays today when he scrambled out of the pocket.”
That Wilson did. He scrambled for 4 yards and also picked up a yard on keeper on a fourth-and-1 play in the 12-play, 80-yard drive to his third TD pass. In the third quarter, Wilson had back-to-back plays where he ran for 8 and 2 yards on the nine-play, 72-yard drive to a 3-yard TD run by Marshawn Lynch. As the Seahawks were running out the clock in the fourth quarter, Wilson scrambled for 13 yards.
But his bottom-line contributions were the three TD passes, giving him nine in four home games – with no interceptions.
“Russell played really well, did a great job of handling all the situations and the different players and the thing that we did,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He fit us together nicely.”
And that makes it fitting for Wilson to get this honor, even on a day when Peterson ran wild in the first half.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: There was Peterson’s 74-yard run on the second play of the game, but cornerback Brandon Browner pulled him down a yard short of the goal line. So let’s go with the second TD pass from Wilson to Tate, as style points put it over the top. And speaking of over the top, that’s how Tate got the ball across the goal line – by going up and over Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson and then extending an arm.
“He made a spectacular play,” Wilson said. “He has a great desire to get into the end zone, which is pretty awesome. Luckily, the ball was across the line there before it got knocked out.”
Luckily, indeed. “I’m just glad we got the ball,” Tate said. “On the way back (to the sideline it was), ‘Congratulations.’ ‘Good job.’ ‘Make sure you’re on the ball.’ That’s one of the things we really stress in this organization – protect the ball. It’s all about the ball. Defense. Offense. Special teams. We always want to get the ball, or maintain possession of the ball. So that was very important. And I’m going to practice on a pad.”
Defense: While Browner had an interception with 5½ minutes to play to seal the deal, nickel back Marcus Trufant turned in a two-fer play when the Seahawks really needed it in the first quarter. The Vikings already had scored on the opening possession of the game, and then forced the Seahawks to punt. But on third-and-10, Trufant forced Percy Harvin to fumble and then recovered the ball. Three plays later, Wilson passed 6-yards to Tate for a game-tying TD.
“He made a nice cut, I was coming across the middle and just trying to make a tackle,” Trufant said. “I ended up getting my shoulder, hand or something on the ball. I saw it pop up and I was just trying to get on the ball before anybody else got to it.”
It was the kind of play that dominated the conversation during the week in the meetings rooms at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
“All week, it’s been about getting the ball out,” Trufant said. “So you’ve got to take the practice plays and bring them to the field.”
Special teams: Steven Hauschka’s 40-yard field goal with 6½ minutes to play. Yes, Vikings’ rookie Blair Walsh kicked a 55-yarder. And yes, the Vikings’ Kevin Williams blocked Hauschka’s PAT after Wilson’s third TD pass. But Hauschka’s late kick gave the Seahawks a 10-point lead.
Linebacker and leading tackler K.J. Wright went out in the first quarter with a concussion and did not return. He was replaced by second-year ’backer Malcolm Smith in the base defense and veteran ’backer Leroy Hill in the nickel defense.
Center Max Unger went out with a hand injury in the third quarter, but returned on the Seahawks’ next possession. Lemuel Jeanpierre stepped in for Unger on the final five plays of the drive that ended with Lynch’s TD run.
John Moffitt, who had missed the past five games with a knee injury, started at left guard because James Carpenter was ruled out for Sunday’s game on Saturday. Carroll said that Carpenter had not been feeling well all week, and they didn’t know if it was caused by him getting a flu shot on Monday or a concussion he got in last week’s game or Wednesday’s practice.
“It’s usual the way it came about,” Carroll said. “I’m glad we held him out. We’ll figure out what it is by next week and see where we stand.”
The Seahawks held Harvin to 73 combined yards – 24 on four carries, 10 on two receptions and a 39-yard kickoff return. He had been averaging 159.3 in his triple-threat role.
The Seahawks have scored 24 and 30 points in back-to-back games, and 24, 24 and 30 in three of their past four games. The 30 points against the Vikings were a season high.
The Seahawks held the Vikings to 3 of 10 on third-down situations, after allowing their first eight opponents to convert 43.9 percent.
The Seahawks scored touchdowns on their first four red-zone possessions, and added a field goal on their fifth. In last week’s loss to the Lions in Detroit, they had two touchdowns and a field goal in three red-zone possessions.
Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner had a team-high 10 tackles to take over the club lead from Wright. Wagner also had his second sack of the season.
Safety Jeron Johnson and rookie lineman Greg Scruggs also had sacks, while Hill and rookie rush-end Bruce Irvin each had half a sack.
Because they held the ball for more than 12 minutes in the fourth quarter and nine minutes in the third quarter, the Seahawks had a hefty advantage in time of possession – 36 minutes to 24 minutes. The Seahawks also ran 18 more plays than the Vikings with a season-high 71.
YOU DON’T SAY
“There were a couple of times I said to myself, ‘Nice move, nice cut or whatever.’ He does a great job of being physical, and that’s what I’m all about. So he has my utmost respect.” – Peterson on Lynch