NFL fans were just treated to yet another classic prime time game during the 2019 season. On "Monday Night Football," the Seahawks — on the strength of four consecutive second-half scores — rallied to defeat the visiting Vikings, 37-30.
With the win, the Seahawks are now 10-2 and in front of the 49ers for first place in the NFC West. Conversely, the Vikings — who lost starting running back Dalvin Cookduring the third quarter — fall to 8-4 and a full game behind the Packers in the NFC North division race. The Vikings, if the playoffs started today, would make the playoffs as the NFC's sixth seed.
Trailing 17-10 at intermission, 24 unanswered points by the Seahawks gave them a seemingly insurmountable lead less than two minutes into the fourth quarter. One play after the Seahawks tied the score on Rashaad Penny's one-yard touchdown run, Seattle defensive end Rasheem Green's forced fumble of Cook was recovered by Bradley McDougald just outside the Vikings' red zone. The turnover set up Jason Myer's second field goal.
Russell Wilson's Seahawks won again in primetime while Kirk Cousins and the Vikings fell short, and there's a lot to go over. Luckily, Will Brinson and the Pick Six Podcast Superfriends are here to break everything down, size up the top five coaches and more. Listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
Seattle stretched its lead to 10 points on their next possession, with Wilson hitting David Moore on a 60-yard touchdown pass. Two plays after Moore's touchdown, an interception by Tre Flowers set up Rashaad Penny's second touchdown of the night to stretch Seattle's lead to 34-14. The pick was Cousins' first in 202 pass attempts, a franchise record.
Cousins took advantage of blown coverage moments later, hitting Laquon Treadwell for a 58-yard score. Cousins would then make it a four-point game after connecting with tight end Kyle Rudolph for a three-yard score with just over seven minutes left.
After Seattle's defense forced a turnover on downs, an 11-yard run by Chris Carson -- who rushed over 100 yards on Monday night set up Myers' 36-yard field goal while icing the Seahawks' sixth straight win over the Vikings.
Let's take a deeper dive into how Seattle pulled it off:
Why the Seahawks won
Quite simply, they made more plays. Minnesota started pretty well, getting a big chunk of yardage on a C.J. Ham dump-off and stealing momentum with their pick-six off Russell Wilson's batted pass, but the Seahawks one-upped them, forcing two turnovers and scoring 17 points in a six-series span in the second half. That's called resiliency, with Wilson leading the way, never once losing his cool after the early turnover and consistently extending plays with his trademark elusiveness. Pete Carroll's group was also just smart, creative and aggressive, from the fake-punt conversion to the methodical ground game fueled by both Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny (176 combined yards). The defense may have got away with a few penalties, but its physicality was also apparent, particularly when the Vikings attempted to mount a comeback in the game's waning minutes.
Why the Vikings lost
It certainly wasn't because of Kirk Cousins, despite the QB's infamously winless "Monday Night Football" record. He took a while to start taking shots against a vulnerable Seattle secondary, and his receivers dropped too many targets, but otherwise, Cousins looked calm and collected, especially as he pulled Minnesota within four, guiding the team to 13 unanswered points, in the final quarter. They lost because of their costly mistakes -- Cook's fumble during a tie game, Diggs' bobbled ball that led to a late pick, Dan Bailey's missed extra point during their rally, a kick-return fumble to end their comeback attempt. Poor tackling also exacerbated a frequently victimized secondary, while Xavier Rhodes also did his best to hand Seattle points, save for a late forced fumble that came after an apparent benching.
When we look back at the 2019 Vikings season, you have to wonder if we'll look back at this moment as the one that changed the course of the playoff run: Cook's lost fumble with 8:56 left in the third. Not only did the turnover, which came on the very first play of the Vikings' drive and right after a 4:20 TD series from Seattle to knot the score at 17, ensure the Seahawks would get a prime chance at taking the lead, but it also forced arguably Minnesota's offensive MVP to the sidelines, with Cook sustaining a shoulder injury on the play and never returning. After the fumble, Seattle rattled off 17 straight points to go up 34-17 and bury Minnesota just enough.
Play of the game
Wilson's perfect 60-yard floater to a wide-open David Moore was pretty to look at, and so was the Seahawks receivers' post-score celebration. Kyle Rudolph also made a heck of a one-handed snag of Cousins' fourth-quarter TD to pull the Vikings within one score. But Tre Flowers' pick while covering Diggs probably tops them all. Flowers was a little handsy along the sideline but still deserves all the credit in the world for his awareness, stealing the ball from Diggs' juggling hands to give Seattle possession deep in Vikings territory.
"Kirk Cousins simply cannot allow 400-plus yards on defense and expect to be considered an elite quarterback."
Those words are courtesy of Minnesota-area reporter Brian Murphy. And they do ring true, as long as you get the joke. This night was all about the Seahawks continuing their climb in the West, but we all know the headlines are coming: Cousins still winless on Monday night! And you know what? If there's one thing Vikings fans should take solace in moving forward, it's that their guy under center actually looked really good in this game. If Minnesota fails to win the division and Cousins keeps playing as he has for much of the year, it's not going to be anywhere near his fault, no matter what the critics say.
The Seahawks (10-2) are now on a campaign for the NFC West title, and they'll have another chance to boost their standing in Week 14, when they travel to Los Angeles for a Sunday night showdown with the Rams (7-5) on Dec. 8. The Vikings (8-4), meanwhile, will be desperate to rebound to keep pace with the Green Bay Packers (9-3) in the NFC North, and they'll be up against another rival in the Detroit Lions (3-8-1), at home on the same day.
Relive all the action from Monday night's shootout right here: