O’Neil: The closer — Russell Wilson delivers a most improbable Seahawks comeback win over Vikings
The Seahawks were down to their final chance.
Russell Wilson threw to D.K. Metcalf.
This time, Metcalf made a sliding catch in the end zone between Minnesota’s pair of excellent safeties, scoring on a 6-yard reception with 15 seconds left.
“He throws a freaking strike to win the football game,” Pete Carroll said of his quarterback.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 12, 2020
If coffee is for closers, Russell Wilson will have two cups. Wilson completed two fourth-down passes on a 96-yard drive as Seattle beat Minnesota 27-26, and the final score doesn’t even begin to tell you just how improbable Seattle’s victory was.
“These games are crazy, man,” Carroll said. “It’s really something.”
Seattle won this game in spite of going scoreless in the first half, only the second time that has happened since 2017. The Seahawks trailed 13-0 at halftime, making this the largest halftime deficit Seattle had overcome to win a game since it came back to beat Tampa Bay in overtime in 2013 after being down 14 at halftime.
Even that doesn’t tell you how improbable it was for Seattle to win this game. Minnesota had five scoring drives of more than 10 plays. The Vikings held the ball for almost twice as long and outgained Seattle by 135 yards.
Seattle’s only real offensive success came in the first half of the third quarter when the Seahawks scored three touchdowns and forced two turnovers in one singularly eventful 2-minute span that included two touchdown passes from Wilson, a one-handed interception by K.J. Wright and a 29-yard touchdown run by Chris Carson that was so ferocious no Viking player appeared all that interested in doing anything more than futilely grabbing at the ball.
What do good halftime adjustments look like?
— Sunday Night Football (@SNFonNBC) October 12, 2020
Yet, once that flurry subsided, the Vikings got back to dragging the Seahawks defense around the field. Dalvin Cook battered the Seahawks for 65 yards on 17 carries in the first half, and when a groin injury forced him out of the game in the third quarter, Alexander Mattison started running with impunity. He finished with 112 yards.
Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins threw a pair of touchdown passes to Adam Thielen, the second one putting the Vikings ahead midway through the fourth quarter.
That was the set up for what turned out to be the nail-bitingest of Seattle’s nail-biters this season, which is saying something. Each of Seattle’s three home games has come down to the final minute. All have been decided in the north end zone at CenturyLink Field. In Week 2, the Seahawks stopped New England’s Cam Newton from the 1-yard line on the game’s final play. In Week 3, safety Ryan Neal picked off Dak Prescott in the end zone on the second-to-last play to seal a five-point win.
This time, it was the Seahawks who needed a touchdown. Actually, they needed more than that. With 2 minutes to play, Minnesota led 26-21 and faced a fourth-and-1 on the Seattle 6. The Vikings decided to go for it, which is understandable considering Minnesota had run for approximately a country mile in the game. But after gaining 201 yards through the first 58 minutes, the Vikings couldn’t gain that one single yard that turned out to matter most. Seahawks linebacker Cody Barton stuffed the block of the fullback, pushing C.J. Ham back into Mattison, who was then wrapped up.
So then, all Seattle had to do was drive 94 yards in 1:56 with just a single timeout. Oh yeah. And it was pouring rain.
But this is Wilson we’re talking about.
Wilson scrambled for 17 yards on the first play of the drive, but then threw three straight incompletions, bringing up the first of what would be two fourth-down plays on the drive. All Wilson did on that play was stare down a blitz and complete a 39-yard pass down the sideline to Metcalf.
Two more completions put Seattle at the Minnesota 6 with 41 seconds to go. Time was no longer a factor. Getting into the end zone was. Seattle appeared to have a touchdown on second down as Metcalf caught a pass and turned into the end zone only to have it knocked loose as he fell to the ground. After an end-zone fade fell incomplete in the end zone, Seattle had one more shot.
“He’s got drama in him,” Carroll said of his quarterback.
And on fourth down Seattle’s quarterback fired a strike to Metcalf, who was diving between Minnesota’s pair of excellent safeties, scoring the game-winning touchdown.