By the time the playoffs arrive, the Seattle Seahawks are going to feel just fine in a close, tight game.
Even when they are comfortably ahead, the Seahawks have a way of making the final minutes more than a little unnerving.
“Close games are cool, aren’t they? I like them,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll joked. “Maybe the 17 points was too much. Maybe we shouldn’t have been ahead by that much.”
Thanks to the combo of Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson, and one big strike from Russell Wilson, the Seahawks on Monday built a big second-half lead, before holding off the Minnesota Vikings for a 37-30 win.
Penny scored one touchdown rushing and one receiving, while Wilson hit David Moore on a 60-yard touchdown pass as the Seahawks scored 24 straight points to take control, before needing to hold on late as the Vikings rallied.
Seattle (10-2) moved into a tie with San Francisco at the top of the National Football Conference (NFC) West, but hold the tiebreaker. The Seahawks have the inside track to the division title with four games left.
“We’re in control and that’s a great thing. We like having that,” Wilson said.
“Just couldn’t be more excited to have that kind of win and put us at 10 wins, that’s a nice spot for this time,” Carroll said. “We kick it into the fourth quarter and now it’s finish time.”
Minnesota (8-4) fell a game behind Green Bay in the National Football Conference North and are only one game ahead of the Los Angeles Rams in the wild-card race.
They lost star running back Dalvin Cook to a shoulder injury when he fumbled midway through the third quarter in what became a major turning point.
Cook said that he believes he should be able to play at the weekend and took responsibility for the fumble.
“Everybody acts like this is the end of the world, we lost one game tonight,” Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said. “We’re 8-4, we have four games left, three division games. This isn’t the end of the world, we still have a lot of good football left to play.”
Wilson was not great, but he came up with key plays as Seattle won their fifth straight game.
He had a forgettable first-half moment trying to bat down a deflected pass, only to watch Anthony Harris intercept the ball and return it for a touchdown.
Wilson was 21 of 31 for 240 yards.
The key was the running of Penny and Chris Carson.
Seattle rushed for 218 yards, the most allowed by Minnesota this season. Carson had 102, including a one-yard touchdown. Penny added 74.
The Vikings had been giving up just 94 yards per game rushing.
“Our running game has been a staple of our offense. That’s our foundation and both of those guys are amazing backs. They’re really coming on,” Seattle offensive lineman Duane Brown said.
Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins was 22 of 38 for 276 yards, but could not connect with Irv Smith Jr on fourth-and-three at the Vikings 42 with 2 minutes, 31 seconds left.
Jason Myers’ 36-yard field goal with 21 seconds left provided the final margin for Seattle.
“I think we have a football team that can go on the road in a tough environment and get a win. I think this is an opportunity we missed. It’s disappointing,” Cousins said.
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