As Blair Walsh's 27-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left, the Seattle Seahawks danced off of the field, winners over the Minnesota vikings by a final score of 10-9. It was a mostly awful football game, but THE HAWKS ARE MOVING ON Y'ALL.
After a dreadful first half that yielded just three points, things were looking like they had a chance to turn ugly quickly for Seattle. The offense wasn't able to get anything going, and left the defense to fend for themselves for most of the afternoon. Thanks to superb play from Kris Richard's side of the ball, the Vikings were not able to find the end zone, which would have put the game out of reach for Seattle.
Finally, as the fourth quarter clock began to tick, things began to click for the offense. Thanks to an increased push to get Wilson outside of the pocket to make plays, the offense found their way into the end zone on yet another Wilson-Baldwin connection (after a circus play on a fumbled snap). The Seahawks would take the lead after a Kam Chancellor forced fumble gave the ball back and allowed Steven Hauschka to bang home a 46-yard field goal.
As the clock reached the waning seconds, Minnesota found themselves driving for a game-winning field goal. After a highly-questionable pass interference call against Chancellor and a big gain by Kyle Rudolph, it was all set up for Blair Walsh to send the Vikings off to Arizona. Instead, his 27-yard attempt sailed wide left, sending the Seattle sideline into celebration mode.
It wasn't pretty but the Hawks did what they needed to do in the frigid temperatures of Minnesota- survive and advance.
1. Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett improvise to create magic.
Snap goes by Russell Wilson off the busted play finds Tyler Lockett pic.twitter.com/Zh5VZ0x9vf— MarcusD (@_MarcusD_) January 10, 2016
2. Kam Chancellor forces a big-time fumble.
Fantastic play by Chancellor to get Seattle the ball back mid-way through the fourth quarter. It wasn't necessarily Chancellor's best game as a Seahawk, but this play was monumental, as it led to the drive in which Seattle would finally take the lead.
3. Blair Walsh misses the game-winning field goal.
Adrian Peterson- 23 carries for 45 rushing yards, 1 fumble
Peterson clearly has no idea what to do when facing Seattle. Stopping AD is the key to keeping the Minnesota offense in check, and that's exactly what the Hawks were able to do.
Christine Michael- 21 carries for 70 rushing yards. 0 fumbles
Christine Michael, starting running back in the NFL playoffs. Christine did an admirable job filling for Marshawn Lynch, finding holes in the defense to give the offense some balance. He was stopped behind the line on a few separate occasions, but those plays were more on the offensive line than him. All in all, a very solid day for the comeback kid.
Final two Seattle drives- 2 minutes and 10 seconds total, 14 total yards
Yes, the conditions were awful, and played a huge part in this. But in a game like this, the Seahawks need to be able to keep the ball out of their opponents' hands until the final whistle. They were burned repeatedly in the early portion of the season on late-fourth quarter comebacks, and can't afford to give any other playoff teams a chance to win it on the final drive of the game.
-It seems like pretty much everyone underestimated the effects the cold would have in this one. Let's never do that again.
-BRING BACK THE FIRE!
-It should not be understated how phenomenal the defense was for Seattle today. When they needed to step up, they did. Whether it was creating a turnover, holding the Vikings to turnovers or perfectly timing their blitzes, the entire unit was outstanding on Sunday.
-Huge play by Jeremy Lane on Stefon Diggs on the Vikings' fourth down attempt late in the fourth quarter. Diggs has been fantastic this season, and Lane made sure he didn't get a clean look at it. One of the most important plays of the game.
-You have to feel for Blair Walsh, at least a little bit. You're still one of the best in the league, kid. Great game, see you next season.
The final win probability chart from Seattle-Minnesota @Vikings chances peaked at 86% pic.twitter.com/JypNxtcMso— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 10, 2016
-I wish I had one of Jacson's cigars to cool down with right now, because my heart is still beating like I just finished an 800-meter sprint.
-There are more takeaways from this game, but I'll let you get to discussing them in the comments.
What it Means
With the win, Seattle moves on in the playoffs to face the No. 1 seeded Carolina Panthers. If you'll remember, the Seahawks dropped an early-season contest against the Panthers during their "let's lose every game in the fourth quarter" phase, by a final of 27-23.
We'll have infinitely more on the match-up throughout the week here on Field Gulls, but for now, take solace in the fact that it is much warmer in Carolina than it is in Minnesota. Go Hawks.