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Takeaways: Seahawks defense did just about everything you could ask for in Week 14 win

The Seahawks defense kept the Vikings scoreless through three quarters. (AP)

The Seahawks bounced back from a slow start on offense to defeat the Minnesota Vikings 21-7 Monday night, improving to 8-5 on the season and all but ensuring a trip to the playoffs in January.

Defense’s best game of year | Recap710 reacts | Photos | Stats

Here are a few quick takeaways:

Monday might have been Seattle’s best defensive performance this season…

The Seahawks defense did just about everything Pete Carroll could ask for in the win. Rookie defensive end Jacob Martin forced a fumble that was recovered by cornerback Justin Coleman and returned for a touchdown. Linebacker Bobby Wagner finished with nine tackles and blocked a field goal. Defensive end Frank Clark recorded his 11th sack of the season.

Cornerback Tre Flowers and safety Bradley McDougald broke up passes in the end zone. Quarterback Kirk Cousins was held to his second-lowest completion percentage this season and the Vikings’ offense converted just two of their 10 third-down attempts.

It wasn’t a battle between two high-octane offenses, but that’s just fine for Carroll.

“Just some beautiful football,” Seattle’s head coach said postgame. “Not the kind of football that everybody loves, but the kind of football that we love, and I bet coach Zimmer, he thinks the same thing… when I step away from it, it’s really about the defense tonight. I love the way they played.”

… But Seattle’s passing game fell flat

The final score doesn’t quite tell the story of Seattle’s performance on offense. Quarterback Russell Wilson finished with the lowest passer rating (37.9) and fewest yards (72) of his career. The Seahawks did manage to stay on schedule with their rushing offense, finishing with 168 yards on the ground and a touchdown from running back Chris Carson.

“Every game is different, you never know what it’s going to be like,” left tackle Duane Brown said postgame.

Brown said the Seahawks’ offense entered the game with the mindset that they may have to pass more than usual, given Minnesota’s 7th-ranked rushing defense. But when that failed, a strong performance from the defense allowed Seattle to lean back into the run.

“That’s a testament to how good this team is,” Brown said. “The defense did a heck of a job keeping them out of the end zone with a six point lead to keep us ahead and give the coaches the ability to keep dialing up runs for us even when it wasn’t pretty. We were getting four yards here, five yards there, we knew eventually we’d break open some big ones and that’s what happened for us.”

One of those big ones came from Wilson, who scrambled 40 yards down the sideline during a fourth quarter drive that was eventually capped by Carson’s touchdown.