Seahawks escape frigid Minnesota with 10-9 victory

Seattle advances in Super Bowl quest after come-from-behind win over Vikings

The Seahawks were shut out by the Vikings in the first half before stitching together a 10-9 victory in the final quarter.

By Gregg BellBlack Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Shank you very much.

Richard Sherman just collapsed on the turf, too shocked to do anything else. All around him, Seahawks ran around like they’d just stolen something.

Minnesota had driven down the field with the season on the line to get into position for Blair Walsh to win Sunday’s NFC wild-card playoff game with a 27-yard field goal. That’s 6 yards shorter than an extra point. And Walsh had already made all three of his kicks, including one from 48 yards, in the subzero air.

But this time, with his holder Jeff Locke failing to spin the laces away as kickers prefer, Walsh shanked it wide left with 26 seconds remaining.

That’s how Seattle rallied with 10 points in the final quarter then held on for 10-9 victory over some stunned Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium.

The improbable – almost impossible – finish sends the Seahawks (11-6) on to top-seeded Carolina (15-1) in the divisional round next Sunday at 10:05 a.m. Pacific Time.

Sunday game-time temperature was minus-5, with a 12-mph wind creating a wind chill of minus-25.

That made it the third-coldest playoff game in NFL history, behind the 1967 “Ice Bowl” NFL title game between the Cowboys and Packers in Green Bay in 1967 and the Chargers-Bengals 1982 AFC championship in Cincinnati (minus-9, with a wind chill of minus-59).

Russell Wilson struggled all day in almost inhumane temperatures, endangering the Seahawks’ season. Then he made two, immortal plays to save it.

Wilson stayed almost miraculously poised after a shotgun snap for which he wasn’t ready sailed over his head early in the fourth quarter Sunday in this NFC wild-card playoff for the ages. Seattle’s unflappable quarterback saved that ball, then found Tyler Lockett for a 35-yard catch and run that set up his 4-yard pass to Doug Baldwin for this frozen game’s first touchdown.

Then, down 9-7, Wilson kept his wits with a Vikings pass rusher pulling him down for what was about to be a sack that could have pushed Seattle out of field-goal range. Wilson dragged the defender outside the tackle box before he chucked the ball into the sideline, avoiding an intentional-grounding foul that would have made a field goal impossible.

Instead, Wilson’s grit allowed Steven Hauschka to kick the go-ahead field goal from 46 yards with just over 8 minutes left.

Safety Kam Chancellor set up the winning points by stripping Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson of the ball after a catch. Defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin recovered the fumble.

Chancellor then got flagged for pass interference on Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph then allowed Rudolph the long catch and run to get the Vikings in position for their final, fateful field-goal miss.

The Vikings started drives at or past midfield three times as the result of Seahawks mistakes. That’s how Minnesota got all of its points.

The third came late in the third quarter. Derrick Coleman had Minnesota punt returner Marcus Sherels corralled in Vikings territory. But then Coleman grabbed Sherels’ face mask. That 15-yard foul resulted in Minnesota starting its drive at the Seattle 48.

And that resulted in the Vikings’ third field goal, from 48 yards by Walsh that sliced through the subzero air.

The game’s only score of the first half, a short field goal by Walsh, came after Seattle’s only huge mistake of the first two quarters. Clint Gresham dribbled a grounded snap back to Jon Ryan. The athletic Ryan deftly avoided the only punt-rusher in the backfield and had time to reload and punt. Instead, the contestant on television’s fit “American Ninja Warrior” last spring boldly tried to run the 7 yards for the first down. He got 4 then face-planted into the turf hurdling a Viking.

Seattle’s defense held again on the turnover on downs at its own 29, forcing the field goal.

The extreme cold was why coach Pete Carroll decided not to try a 48-yard field goal on fourth and 13 from the Vikings 30 in the second quarter with Minnesota leading 3-0. He chose to pass instead, and Fred Jackson caught a short one then got tackled well short of the first-down line.

The cold also affected Wilson on what would have been the Seahawks’ go-ahead touchdown just before halftime. The Seahawks got to the Minnesota 39 on a third-down pass-interference call when cornerback Xavier Rhodes tackled Tyler Lockett well before Wilson’s long pass arrived. On the next third down, Doug Baldwin broke free to the goal line 5 yards behind any Viking. But Wilson’s throw skewed oddly up as it left his hand then fluttered. That allowed two Vikings to get back to Baldwin and break up the pass. Seattle punted and the half ended with the Seahawks still down 3-0.

It was the first time the Seahawks had been shut out in a first half since the 2014 regular-season finale against St. Louis. Seattle had 86 yards at halftime, to 99 for the Vikings.

Previously published at heraldnet.com. Find more Black Press coverage of the Seattle Seahawks playoff run as well as NFL video highlights at http://www.bclocalnews.com/sports/nfl/

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

HarbourCats players celebrate winning the North Division Championship Series in 2019. (Christian J. Stewart/File Photo)
Victoria HarbourCats locked out of team Facebook page

Management hires legal team to solve issue

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan Bui (left) and Kairry Nguyen at the end of the trial that found Tanessa Nikirk guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Nikirk is back in court for her sentencing hearing. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATED: Court hears letter from driver convicted of hitting Saanich girl

Leila Bui has been in a non-responsive state since she was hit in 2017

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Victoria police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

Victoria police are looking for high-risk offender Douglas McPherson. (Courtesy of VicPD)
UPDATED: Victoria police arrest high-risk parolee with history of bank robbery

Citizen alerts cops after spotting parolee on Pandora Avenue

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest suspect in Saanich liquor store break and enters

Windowpane removal key component in string of thefts

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

Freighter drags anchor towards Boulder Point Oct. 22. It came within 730 metres of the shore, according to maps from the Port of Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)
MacGregor introduces bill to address freighter anchorages along the South Coast

Concerns about the environment, noise, pollution and safety abundant

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Harvesters participating in the extended commercial halibut season will need to land their catch in either Prince Rupert (pictured), Vancouver, or Port Hardy by Dec. 14. (File photo)
B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks

COVID-19 market disruptions at the root of DFO’s decision

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

Most Read