Russell Wilson threw for a career-low 72 passing yards and threw one of the worst interceptions of his career, but his team won — and remains a dangerous club in the postseason hunt.
Kirk Cousins more than doubled Wilson's passing output and played turnover-free ball for the first 57 minutes, but he and his team are in some real trouble suddenly.
In a game dominated by defense, the Seattle Seahawks out-slugged the Minnesota Vikings, 21-7, on Monday night, with the Seahawks scoring twice in the final three minutes to slam the door. The Vikings avoided getting shut out for the first time since 2007 by scoring a late touchdown in garbage time.
Wilson mostly struggled. His previous low for passing yards in a game he started was 93 yards, last season at Dallas. He was picked right before the half on a blind throw under pressure that he never should have made. It cost the Seahawks points and a chance to build on what would be a 3-0 halftime lead. But the Seahawks never gave up the lead and put the game away late.
A controversial non-call certainly helped matters out.
But no matter how you spin it, in a season that was supposed to be Super Bowl or bust, the Vikings are now 6-6-1 — an average football team by most measures. That means the Chicago Bears' magic number for winning the NFC North is now one, and they can clinch by beating the Green Bay Packers at home Sunday (or with a Minnesota loss vs. Miami). So the Vikings almost certainly are now playing just to get into the playoffs. They're still sitting in the No. 6 spot, with three 6-7 teams — Carolina, Philadelphia and Washington — nipping at their heels.
The Seahawks are now 8-5. They can't win the NFC West but are currently the top wild-card team and getting hot now with four straight victories after losing two in a row at the start of November.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Vikings only had crossed midfield twice. Cousins had hit Stefon Diggs on a 48-yard pass play, and it represented about a third of the team's yards at that point, with the Seahawks only leading 6-0. But Seattle was backed up and had to punt from its own 1-yard line, leading to a short field for the Vikings.
They inched toward the goal line, but stalled again on another key third down. Vikings head coach Mike ZImmer opted to kick the field goal to try to cut the lead in half, but Bobby Wagner — who is having an All Pro season — blocked it. That was the game-shifting play.
It appeared, however, that Wagner should have been called for leveraging on the block, as he vaulted his way over the Minnesota line to block it by launching on the backs of his own players. That should be a penalty, but there was no flag.
The Seahawks took over again on offense and put together their longest drive of the game to seal it. Chris Carson capped the drive and the game with a 2-yard TD run on third-and-goal, with Wilson hitting Tyler Lockett for the two-point conversion.
Carson finished the game with 90 yards on the ground, and the Seahawks' other two talented backs, Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis chipped in on an impressive run game. Wilson also added a 40-yard scramble on that final offensive scoring drive, as Seattle gained 216 yards on the ground.
The Vikings' offense punted on their first five possessions, not counting the end-of-half kneeldown, and then were stopped twice on fourth downs in the third and fourth quarters. Cousins completed only 4-of-8 passes for 28 yards in the first half, and WR Adam Thielen didn't have a catch until midway through the third quarter.
The Vikings now must keep fighting next week for their playoff lives with a tough game against the Miami Dolphins, another team that's still mathematically in the race. The entire season has been a grind for the Vikings, and it appears it will finish just that same way.