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Seahawks 21 Vikings 7: Winners and Losers from an ugly yet beautiful Monday night victory

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NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, a win is a win. It’s been a good while since the Seattle Seahawks had to rely overwhelmingly on the defensive side of the ball to win a game, especially with the passing offense rendered toothless. Pete Carroll loves great defense and running the ball, and whether or not you agree with that philosophy, those two things were essential in Seattle toppling the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football.

As things stand, a win over the San Francisco 49ers and some other favorable results could mean that they’d have the #5 seed secured before Week 16. Isn’t that amazing?

Let’s get to Winners and Losers.

Winners

The entire Seahawks defense

Collectively, this was the most complete showing by the Seahawks defense I’ve seen all season. Starting with the secondary - Tre Flowers and Shaquill Griffin each balled out, with Griffin in particular having one of the best games of his career. they were great both in coverage and open-field tackling. Justin Coleman had a fumble return for a touchdown, Bradley McDougald had a pivotal 4th and goal breakup. Hell, Akeem King generated pressure on a blitz up the middle on the opening series.

You get to the linebackers, and Bobby Wagner was Bobby Wagner. Nine tackles, a 4th down run stop, and a pivotal blocked field goal that may or may not have been legal, but I don’t really care. The Vikings offense was so dismal that I reckon they’d have found a way to not score anyway.

On the front line, Frank Clark added to his sack total, rookie Jacob Martin had the exclamation mark with a strip-sack of Kirk Cousins, Dion Jordan was very good in run defense and had at least one hurry of Cousins. Jarran Reed chased Cousins out of the pocket, Shamar Stephen had a good tackle for minimal gain on what could’ve been a big play when two Seahawks players overran a Dalvin Cook handoff.

That looked like a vintage Seahawks defense, except almost everyone I mentioned just now was not even on the 2014 team. Kudos to Ken Norton Jr for an excellent gameplan and to the players for an outstanding performance.

Chris Carson

22 carries for 90 yards and the game-sealing touchdown. He looked fast getting around the edges, where the Vikings were decidedly weak for a normally outstanding run defense. On a night when the Seahawks passing game was struggling, Carson was churning and churning and powering his way for extra yards.

Rashaad Penny

I’d rather the slalom run not be a thing, but if he’s going to do it, do it well! This wasn’t quite the craziness of the winding dash against the Green Bay Packers, but he had to do a ton just to get 17 exhilarating yards. He’s looking better each week, I just want to see him (and other running backs) be more involved as receivers.

Tyler Lockett

Five catches for 42 yards doesn’t sound like much, but he also drew an (iffy) pass interference penalty, converted on a two-point try, and was the only good Seahawks receiver on the night. Also, I recommend checking out his block on Xavier Rhodes on that aforementioned Penny pitch.

George Fant

THEY THREW IT TO GEORGE FANT.

Honorable mention to Booger McFarland for his genuine laughter. That’s what most of us were surely thinking.

Losers

Russell Wilson

That end-of-half interception was one of the worst plays he’s ever made. If he was uncomfortable with that sprint out and no one getting open, throw it out of the end zone. Instead he avoided a clock-draining sack by throwing an interception that was lucky not to be a pick-6 had Eric Kendricks not fallen. Overall, 10/20 for 72 yards and that turnover was simply brutal, but he made up for some of it with his best running day in a long time with 61 yards, including that 40-yard gallop late in the 4th. He has to be better against quality defenses though, because several of his worst games this season have not coincidentally been against some of the top defenses by DVOA.

The other wide receivers not named Tyler Lockett

I hope Doug Baldwin gets healthy soon, and beyond that, the Seahawks need to improve the WR group in 2019. David Moore should’ve had a touchdown and instead couldn’t drag his second foot in-bounds at the end of the 1st half. He also had a 3rd down drop on a pretty simple pass that also required him to get YAC for a conversion. Zero catches on five targets for Moore, one catch for no yards for Jaron Brown, and no targets to any other Seattle WR all night.

The All-22 will reveal more, but I suspect some of Wilson’s hesitancy to throw the ball involved “no one getting open.”

End-of-half timeout management

The Wilson interception came about in part because the Seahawks essentially had no choice but to pass. With :16 to go, they burned their last timeout after Wilson ran to the 1-yard line. No timeouts means the Vikings know you’re gonna throw it. I understand not wanting to give the Vikings the ball back late, but letting this much time elapse is not smart.

Of course, the Seahawks wasted a timeout after the Penny run because they couldn’t get lined up in time. We just have to live with it.

Brad Allen and his crew

Let’s see, an “illegal grasp of the helmet opening” by Bobby Wagner, a penalty I don’t think I’ve ever seen called before or knew existed. The replays were inconclusive. Wagner then gets away with a clear face mask later in the drive. Germain Ifedi was wrongly flagged for an unnecessary roughness call that took the Seahawks out of FG range, then they switched it to Jordan Simmons, who did instigate some shoving but that’s a weak penalty to begin with. Even crazier is that the penalty was originally called on the Vikings.

I didn’t really agree with the DPI on Xavier Rhodes on Tyler Lockett, as the ball looked uncatchable and Lockett pretty much flopped. However, Rhodes did hold the arm, so I can see why it was called. Tre Flowers’ “hold” on Stefon Diggs? Meh. Then you had the blocked field goal controversy with Bobby Wagner.

They weren’t good, and now we have to (in all likelihood) once again hear the stupid nonsense about how the Cheathawks got away with another ref-aided win on MNF. Whatever.

The Monday Night Football broadcast

I have a soft spot for Joe Tessitore since I’m a longtime boxing fan. Booger McFarland isn’t afraid to speak his mind and be critical of players other analysts seem to shield from criticism. He’s also capable of many terrible takes, such as thinking turning a 6-0 game to 6-3 makes it a “one possession game.” IT ALREADY IS, BOOGER!

Jason Witten is a disaster up there, and so is the overall broadcast. I don’t want to listen to them be buddy-buddy in the booth, call the damn game. The Genesis halftime show is a waste of time. I listened to the pre-game show by accident and half my brain melted. And then there was this:

Final Notes

  • Kirk Cousins isn’t terrible, he’s rarely great, he’s not an $84 million guaranteed quarterback. And John DeFilippo might be in over his head as offensive coordinator. Minnesota is in trouble.
  • Everything does stick to Stefon
  • Action Green is 3-0, so I will not speak ill of the jerseys ever again.
  • Matt Hasselbeck raised the flag, which was pretty awesome. End-of-career Hasselbeck was sad to watch, but don’t ever forget that he was one of the catalysts for Seattle’s first Super Bowl team, along with the other NFC West titles. Those days were fun too, just in a different way.
  • I’m pretty damn excited that the Seahawks are just about on their way to the playoffs again, and potentially with room to spare.
  • See you for Enemy Reaction on Tuesday.