The Seattle Seahawks’ third game of the 2018 NFL preseason ended in a 21-20 loss vs. the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Seattle fell to 0-3, while Minnesota improved to 2-1, but it’s not like any of the records matter. It was “dress rehearsal” for both teams, with many first-unit players seeing action into the third quarter.
Russell Wilson (11/21 for 118 yards) played roughly 2 1⁄2 quarters, but the biggest story of this game was the performance of the first-team offensive line. Wilson was not sacked once, seldom pressured, and running backs Mike Davis and Chris Carson combined for 49 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown in the opening half.
Minnesota was able to march the ball down the field on the game’s opening drive, converting three third-down plays, but the fourth attempt was broken up nicely by Shaquill Griffin. Daniel Carlson missed his field goal, and for the most part, Seattle’s defense minimized big plays and pressured Kirk Cousins on multiple occasions. The Seahawks offense failed to capitalize on the miss, but Michael Dickson made the three-and-out suddenly worthwhile, as he managed a 57-yard punt that was downed at Minnesota’s 3.
Unfortunately, the Vikings offense had little problem driving about 90 yards into the Seahawks’ 10, with a long throw from Cousins to Stefon Diggs among the standout plays. After a Shaquill Griffin holding penalty negated a Bobby Wagner sack, Latavius Murray was able to score from a yard out. Minnesota went for two and Barkevious Mingo was able to break up the pass.
With Minnesota having run 27 of the first 30 offensive plays, the Seahawks needed to at least make some attempt to sustain a drive, and they did that and then some. Keenan Reynolds had a couple of nice catches, while Brandon Marshall made a leaping grab over Xavier Rhodes for a 20-yard gain. Chris Carson finished the drive with a six-yard touchdown run, as Ethan Pocic pulled to the right side and Germain Ifedi helped pave the way for a walk-in, and the Seahawks took a 7-6 lead.
Kirk Cousins got the ball back and promptly went three-and-out, as the Seahawks defense looked pretty stout. Wilson engineered a short drive from near midfield, with both Mike Davis and Chris Carson making positive contributions, and it led to a Sebastian Janikowski field goal.
To close out the half, Mike Zimmer’s team again got into field goal range, only for Carlson to miss for the second time. Rough one for the rookie.
Wilson played two more series in the 2nd half, and his final drive ended with Janikowski splitting the uprights from 55 yards out. He’s still got the leg!
Minnesota put its backups in before the Seahawks, and once we were treated to the scintillating Austin Davis vs. Trevor Siemian showdown, the quality of the game tanked like any other preseason game. Davis was awful, Siemian was much worse, and the Seahawks’ second- and third-string defenders dominated.
When Davis got pulled following a 2/3, -1 yard showing, Alex McGough didn’t fare a whole lot better, throwing an interception on his first drive. The Vikings tied it up at 13-13 with Jake Wieneke catching a slant at the goal-line from third-stringer Jake Sloter. Trevon Reed was beaten in coverage.
McGough bounced back nicely, scrambling on a few occasions and making defenders miss. He engineered a 10-play, 75-yard drive and capped it off with a terrific strike to David Moore for a 36-yard catch-and run score to put the Seahawks on top 20-13 late in the 4th quarter. Moore almost got a punt return touchdown, but Trevon Reed was penalized for a questionable holding. The offense failed to close the game out, and a big punt return (but a terrific tackle by Michael Dickson!) meant the defense had to stop Minnesota one final time.
After Erik Walden sacked Sloter on a critical 3rd down, Sloter answered with a 4th and 15 touchdown to Chad Beebe with 47 seconds left. Minnesota went for two, and Wieneke got across on the second-effort to go up 21-20.
McGough tried to rescue the cause, but his Hail Mary was caught by Caleb Scott just three yards short of the end zone. I won’t lie. That was kind of fun.
FS Tedric Thompson hurt his right arm on the game’s opening possession, but returned to the field.
RB Mike Davis injured his leg in the 2nd quarter after an awkward tackle by LB Eric Kendricks. Like Thompson, Davis returned to the game.
Next week’s opponent
The Seahawks wrap up preseason at home against the Oakland Raiders on Thursday, August 30th at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT.