by Sean Ryan
Although its seven months later and 90 degrees hotter, not a lot has changed since the Vikings and Seahawks met in the postseason last year. If you DVR’d the game, then I recommend skipping to the fourth quarter unless you want to sit there bashing the TV remote against your head.
Opening drives from both teams (Minnesota 37 yards, Seattle 59) showed promise and sparked the initial thought that we may be in for a treat. The next six drives combine, featuring only 2 first downs, quickly answered that question.
Minnesota opened up the scoring with a 78 yard, 4 minute drive capped off by a one-yard Jerick McKinnon TD run with just over 2 minutes remaining. Their big play came from a 32-yard pass to Kevin Rudolph, who beat FS Steven Terrell down the middle of the field. Jarran Reed’s roughing the Passer penalty tacked on an additional 15 yards bringing Minnesota into the redzone. Four plays later McKinnon waltzed in.
Seattle tried to respond, but couldn’t muster much. After a quick first down, Russell Wilson got sacked for 18 yards while trying to provide some of his traditional magic in a collapsed pocket. It’s clear that the offensive line woes haven’t been solved and the only hope is for receivers to create space quickly or Wilson to impersonate Mike Vick from his Falcon days.
Minnesota took the ball, marched 69 yards in 1:09 and drilled a chip shot for an 11-0 lead as time expired. One positive for the Seahawks in the first half were two pass completions between Wilson and Lockett, including a 31-yard pass perfectly slotted between two Vikings. Besides that blossoming partnership and Christine Michael showing glimpses as a viable starting RB, nothing went right for Seattle. Six total first downs, six penalties for 68-yards and four sacks for a net loss of 41-yards emphasize the same old problems, slow starts and offensive struggles.
The second unit, led by Trevone Boykin, opened up the third quarter with a solid 40-yard drive featuring work from fellow draft picks RB Alex Collins and WR Kenny Lawler. Hauschka’s 53-yard FG attempt fell short, which is rare for the kicker, especially on a hot summer night. The next five drives (Minnesota-3 and Seattle-2) were sloppy and uneventful (welcome to preseason football tryouts).
The Seahawks finally got on the board early in the fourth to make it 11-8 after a 65-yard drive. The highlight play came from Troymaine Pope breaking for a 27-yard before getting tackled deep in the redzone. After Pope finished off the drive, Boykin did his best Elway impression as he flew just past the pylon to complete the two-point conversion.
Minnesota went three and out and the Seahawks tied it up with 5:50 remaining. After a Blair Walsh missed FG (20 yards longer than last year’s postseason blunder), Seattle looked poised to win the game. Three plays later Boykin threw a pick six.
With zero momentum and 40 seconds remaining, Boykin took a deep shot to Tanner McEvoy who drew a 53-yard pass interference call. Another quick gain of 20 brought the Hawks to Minnesota’s 5-yard line. The final three plays went like this: 1) incomplete pass 2) 10 yard sack 3) incomplete pass.
Although the Seahawks lost and the first unit on offensive struggled, there are still a few silver linings. First, Christine Michael averaged 4.5 yards per carry and looked confident running through small holes. Second, Kenny Lawler and Tanner McEvoy continue to show glimpses of being viable options at wide receiver. Third, Trevone Boykin will be a solid backup QB.
The Seahawks have a week before they take on the Dallas Cowboys next Thursday night at Century Link. Hopefully, Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell hit the film room to try and solve these offensive calamities.