It’s fourth-and-one from the 1-yard line. Seahawks are ahead 6-0 with just over nine minutes left in the game. Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins lofts a ball into the end zone towards tight end Kyle Rudolph but Seahawks’ Bradley McDougald bats it away. A big play for both teams, but it was Seattle that managed to win the possession.
Seattle’s defense was solid on Monday night in the 21-7 win over the Vikings and this play was one of a few that stand out.
“I keep telling these guys [that] they don’t have to make once in a lifetime plays,” linebacker Bobby Wagner said after the game. “Just go out there and do your job.”
Seattle made a competent Vikings offense look incompetent on a national stage. In another fourth-down stand, Wagner and Frank Clark stopped running back Latavius Murray from converting the first down.
Vikings’ Adam Thielen had been a monster so far this season, but this proved to be a brutal matchup for him. Coming into the Week 14 matchup, Seattle had allowed one slot touchdown the entire season, while giving up the second-fewest yards to slot receivers. Thielen averaged 9.3 receptions and 115.6 receiving yards in the first eight games of the season. In his last four games, he has averaged 6.0 receptions and 60.3 receiving yards. Monday night, he caught five of seven targets for 70 yards, but 47 of those yards came on the final drive of the night when his team trailed 21 points. Cousins did not even look in Thielen’s direction in the first half.
The Seahawks had been crushed by running backs of late, allowing more than 100 yards from scrimmage and a top-12 running back scorer in each of their past five games. Those statistics look like they could be a recipe for disaster against a player like Dalvin Cook. But the Seahawks held Cook to just 55 yards on 13 carries.
To cap off the defensive performance, Justin Coleman swooped up a Cousins fumble forced by Jacob Martin for a 29-yard fourth quarter touchdown. While this defense is not the official Legion of Boom, Coleman says they are finding success within their own identity.
“We don’t talk about that [becoming the Legion of Boom again],” Coleman said. “We are going to play our own style of defense. They left a legacy though and we are going to continue it. Everyone is all in and everyone is playing for each other.”
What does all of this mean? Well, for starters, if the Seahawks win next weekend, they are locked in a playoff spot. As it stands now, Seattle will play on the road either at Chicago or Dallas, who both feature young quarterbacks and solid running backs. If their performances the past two weeks are any indication, the Seahawks are in a good spot to make a splash in the postseason.