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Seahawks 37 Vikings 30: Winners and Losers from another exciting Monday night win

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Minnesota Vikings v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

I admit, I actually yelled “GAME OVER!” when the Seattle Seahawks increased their lead to 34-17 against the Minnesota Vikings.

Should’ve known better.

But they hung on. They threatened to blow the game but they didn’t blow the game, and now they’re 10-2 after an incredible 37-30 win. More importantly, they lead the NFC West for the first time since October 2017. They can clinch a playoff spot against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, while (almost certainly) simultaneously sending the Rams out of playoff contention for good.

But before we look ahead to the Rams, let’s get to Winners and Losers.

Winners

Offensive Line

Wilson was seldom pressured and both of his sacks were clearly coverage sacks. They also dominated that vaunted Vikings defensive line for the second year running, gashing them for north of 200 yards on the ground. It was smashmouth football that worked superbly. Awesome work by Mike Solari’s group. Mike Iupati and DJ Fluker in particular were outstanding, while Duane Brown was killing it on those toss plays.

Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny

This has gone from Late Night With Chris Carson to a dynamic duo. Carson gives you power, Penny gives you speed and shiftiness. I am not afraid to admit I might be wrong about Penny, and he could be turning a corner. These two combined for 176 yards on the ground and 40 yards through the air, as well as three total touchdowns. Carson also didn’t fumble, which is a relief. Penny is getting his touches and he’s making them count, and it’d be a huge development if he’s more involved in the offense. We’ve seen Carson have good games, but this is the best Penny we’ve seen to date.

Russell Wilson

The silly looking pick-six craziness aside, Wilson did well to put up a 21/31 for 240 yards, 2 TD statline despite (a flu-stricken) Tyler Lockett’s goose egg on the stat sheet. It’s certainly a much better game than his previous two against Minnesota. At this point, ignore the MVP stuff and let’s just see Wilson continue to play well even if he’s not putting up gaudy numbers.

Travis Homer

Big Balls Pete logged on and gave Travis Homer the opportunity to demoralize Minnesota with a 4th and 2 fake punt. I’m so happy for the rookie, who’s also getting kick return duties. Maybe he’ll be the 3rd down back next season after the team presumably moves on from C.J. Prosise.

David Moore

Really he’s only on here because of the 60-yard touchdown, as Xavier Rhodes was left wondering who was supposed to help him out while David put him in the toaster. It was a big moment in the game and it should overshadow his drop in the end zone on the previous possession.

Run Defense

Minnesota has one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL. They were held to 51 yards on 13 carries between Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. Al Woods, Poona Ford, Rasheem Green (who forced a fumble on Cook), Jadeveon Clowney (tackle for loss on Mattison), Jarran Reed, and a host of others were terrific on that front.

Tre Flowers

The DPI late was bad but I’ll live with it when you consider the insane interception he had covering Diggs in the 4th quarter. Flowers was a liability to start the year but he’s been playing better, and he’s looking the part of a prime Byron Maxwell.

Quandre Diggs

Just for this hit.

Bobby Wagner

That felt like one of Wagner’s best games all season. The stats say a team-leading 10 tackles but he was covered to pass-catchers like glue and prevented any big plays from happening. On a night when K.J. Wright had some struggles, Wagner reminded everyone that he’s a future hall-of-famer.

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Losers

Decaf DK Metcalf

That fumble was a potential 14-point swing and it’s his third lost fumble of the season. I can forgive the one against the San Francisco 49ers, but the fumbles and drops he’s dealt with in recent weeks are some bad rookie moments that needed to be eradicated as soon as possible. He finished with 6 catches for 75 yards but the turnover puts him in the losers column.

Branden Jackson

I can’t find the GIF but I can assure you do not want to see Jackson getting faked out badly on the Stefon Diggs jet sweep on the opening possession. That was ugly. As was the tackling for the rest of that drive.

K.J. Wright

As mentioned earlier, rough night for K.J. Missed a tackle on C.J. Ham and that led to a big scamper for the fullback, and he looked a step slow on some other plays. He also gave up a touchdown to Kyle Rudolph, albeit admittedly a cool one-handed grab.

Timeout management

Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson need to sort this out. They used all of their timeouts in the 2nd half, twice with the clock running down to avoid a delay of game. These playcalls need to be faster and the alignment changes and audibles need to be faster. They are super fortunate this wasn’t costly.

Clete Blakeman and his crew’s very bad calls on the field

This was a clean game. There were only four accepted penalties this entire evening, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t err. DK Metcalf clearly fumbled and they ruled it incomplete. Stefon Diggs personally spotted the ball at the first down marker when he was clearly short of it, and the refs obliged. Less egregious, but Kirk Cousins had an incomplete pass that was wrongly ruled a fumble. Pete Carroll and Mike Zimmer used three challenges when at least two of them should’ve been no-brainers on the field. That’s unacceptable when it’s “clear and obvious” you screwed up.

Oh yes, and I know Seattle got away with one here. Wasn’t super impactful but it’s a bad miss.

San Francisco 49ers

You ain’t in first-place anymore.

Final Notes

  • Josh Gordon only catches slants. All four of his catches with Seattle have been first downs on slant routes. I’d like for him to be more involved in the offense.
  • Bradley McDougald plays so much better with Quandre Diggs alongside him. He had a fumble recovery and some clutch tackles, although he gets docked points for the busted coverage touchdown.
  • The Seahawks are 4-2 at home and still have a negative point differential at CenturyLink Field. That’s insane.
  • ESPN’s broadcasts are borderline unlistenable. Monday Night Football used to be a staple of NFL culture. Instead it’s just Booger McFarland washing away good points and in-game analysis with narrative-driven talking points and claiming the Minneapolis Miracle went against the Vikings (!!!). Joe Tessitore also talks about momentum a lot.
  • Pete Carroll should’ve gone for it on that opening drive 4th and 1. It’s a distant memory thanks to the fake punt, but that still should’ve been a thing.
  • The job is obviously not done yet. In an ideal world, the Seahawks are two games up on the 49ers and Saints entering Week 17 and resting players. We know it won’t be that easy, but we can start to believe. Close wins over bad teams is worrisome; they’ve gotten close wins against two of the best teams in the NFL. They are Super Bowl contenders, no doubt about it.
  • Bring on the Rams!