From the moment Tyler Lockett ran back the opening kickoff 49 yards, the Seahawks dominated the Minnesota Vikings. The game mercifully ended for the Vikings by a final of 38-7.
After a Thomas Rawls fumble ended their opening drive, the Seahawks went on to score touchdowns on five of their next six drives, punting only twice on the day. It was a masterful performance by Russell Wilson, Rawls, Doug Baldwin, the offensive line and the entire Seattle defense. The only lapse came when Cordarrelle Patterson returned a kickoff 101 yards for the Vikings' only score of the day.
It was the kind of performance that Seahawks fans have been waiting for all season. The offense was moving the ball at will and the defense was shutting down anything and everything the Minnesota offense attempted. The Seahawks have traditionally been a dominant, second-half-of-the-season team, and it appears that they are re-discovering the massive potential they hold within them at the perfect time.
1. Russell Wilson keeps it for his first rushing touchdown of the season.
Shake and bake...#Seahawks #russellwilson @Seahawks @DangeRussWilson pic.twitter.com/M9TFWDdkkE— kris emnace (@kemnace206) December 6, 2015
One criticism of the Seahawk offense in 2015 has been the lack of rushing attempts near the goal line by Russell Wilson. It was good to see him get one on the board on Sunday, and will give opposing defenses one more thing to think about when defending Seattle inside the red zone.
2. Earl Thomas goes into tip-drill mode to grab an interception.
Interception!!!!! @Earl_Thomas! #GoHawks #SEAvsMIN pic.twitter.com/zVwad1fhsh— Bender (@TheBenderNation) December 6, 2015
Earl had a rough week against the Steelers just a week ago, so it was good to see him flying around like a rocket on Sunday. He also had this beautiful interception, which was way more difficult than it looked.
3. Russell Wilson finds Doug Baldwin for his second touchdown, breaking the backs of the Vikings.
Russell Wilson + Doug Baldwin = 53-yard Touchdown. #SEAvsMIN https://t.co/vr0UgRP2sH— NFL (@NFL) December 6, 2015
In reality, this game was over long before this touchdown strike to Doug Baldwin (his second touchdown catch of the day), but this still had the feel of a demoralizing, morale-crusher for Minnesota. The play before, Russell Wilson had a 53-yard touchdown run called back due to a penalty, which was a huge relief for an exhausted, beaten and injured defense. So what happened on the next play? Yeah, you know what happened.
Russell Wilson: 21/27 for 274 passing yards, 3 TD, 51 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD
The stats speak for themselves. Wilson has kicked into another gear lately as a passer, and today we saw the return of the true, dual-threat aspect to his game. When he is throwing the ball and running the ball the way he is right now, he is one of the very best players in the entire NFL.
Adrian Peterson: 8 carries for 18 yards
The Seahawks defense got embarrassed last week by Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers. They did not allow such embarrassment to take place two weeks in a row. Seattle clamped down on arguably the best running back in football, and didn't allow Peterson to get anything going. The star running back would finish the day with a long run of just five yards. This was the No. 1 rushing attack in football before Sunday.
Minnesota Vikings: 125 total yards
Not much commentary is needed on this one. Just a lights-out, suffocating performance by the Seattle defense. Could this be a sign of what's to come for the rest of the season?
-Yes, the Vikings were without three of their best defenders. The Seahawks were without Marshawn Lynch and Jimmy Graham. Injuries suck, but you have to overcome them if you want to become champions in the NFL.
-The Seahawks wide receiving corps has traditionally been a fantasy football wasteland since Marshawn Lynch came to Seattle and the identity of the new era of the team was forged. However, Doug Baldwin has quietly been one of the NFL's most prolific receivers over the past few weeks. Baldwin went for five receptions for 94 yards and two more touchdowns on Sunday, and is becoming a "must-add" player in fantasy football formats.
-The defense as a whole was outstanding for Seattle, but this was one of the quietest games I can remember out of Kam Chancellor. Normally that's a good thing for a safety, and it was for Kam (7 tackles), but it was odd not having a game with a signature, huge hit from No. 31.
-The football world is currently infected with "dabbing fever". Thankfully, the Seahawks stick to their own dances.
Strumming my pain with his fingers.. #LOB @Earl_Thomas #SEAvsMIN pic.twitter.com/q2Rwo8K2eQ— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) December 6, 2015
-The Vikings ran six (SIX) plays inside Seahawks territory. One of those plays was a punt. The furthest they got was the Seattle 39-yard line.
-The Vikings had nine (NINE) first downs.
-It's probably a coincidence, but...
In Drew Nowak's 7 starts, SEA averaged 20.6 pts. In Patrick Lewis' 4 starts, SEA averaging 30.2 pts, and they're not done today.— Vincent Verhei (@FO_VVerhei) December 6, 2015
-The Seahawks just scored again.
What it Means
It means that THE HAWKS ARE BACK BABY. Maybe. They certainly looked like the team that went to back-to-back Super Bowls on Sunday. Seattle now sits at 7-5, and comfortably in second place in the NFC West, with the Rams and 49ers crumbling away (note- this means the Rams will beat the Seahawks 35-10 when they play again in a few weeks). The Seahawks currently occupy the second wild card spot, and are one game behind the Vikings for the No. 5 seed (although they obviously now own the head-to-head tie breaker there). If the playoffs started today, the Seahawks would face the Packers in Lambeau. If they can make their way to the five seed before the divisional round, they will likely travel to play the NFC East winner.
Up next, the Seahawks will travel to take on the lowly Baltimore Ravens, in what was scheduled to be the Sunday Night Football game, but has been flexed to a 1:00 P.M. ET start time instead. On a personal note, this will be the first ever Seahawks game I will be attending in person, since I grew up on the east coast, and I can hardly contain my excitement. Go Hawks.