The Seahawks absolutely should not have won Sunday night's game against the Minnesota Vikings.
But this is the Seahawks we're talking about. They win games they have no business winning all the time. The 27-26 win over the Vikings was just the latest chapter in Seahawks' lore.
The defense stopped the Vikings short on a fourth-and-inches with two minutes left to play and Russell Wilson spun the opportunity into yet another fourth quarter comeback. A 6-yard touchdown pass on fourth down from Wilson to D.K. Metcalf lifted Seattle to their fifth straight victory to open the season. It's the first time in franchise history the Seahawks have opened a season 5-0.
"It is so much friggin' fun," Carroll said. "But it's way more than that. ... We're making memories. These are memorable situations. Another thing is the experience that these guys have, it just fortifies why they believe. It just adds on, adds on, adds on to why they should keep hanging and fighting tough and outlasting people that we're playing. Because when you finish you've got to outlast the other guys and that's what our guys understand and they know it and they're developing a discipline based on the experience and the confidence we're getting because that's all we're been doing for five weeks now. It's just going to make us that much stronger facing whatever the odds are, the issues are coming down the road."
The Seahawks were outclassed by the Vikings for most of the night in many areas. They were gashed by Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison in the running game, they held the Seahawks without a single third down conversion offensively all night (0-for-7), they held Wilson to just 217 total passing yards on the night. All of that went for naught as the Seahawks made just enough plays to escape with a win on a rainy night at CenturyLink Field.
"I believe this is one of the top three or four most impressive things I’ve seen this team do," linebacker K.J. Wright said. "And I knew that once we made that fourth down stop, I was like, we’re about to win. You guys should see the confidence that we have on the sideline. Everyone was just so positive and optimistic and we knew, even when it was fourth and 10, it was like, we’re going to find a way. We just have to believe as a team, if we have Russell at quarterback, anything is possible."
It's a win they can savor for the next week as they head into their bye undefeated and able to heal up before they head into the start of divisional games after the break.
Here are the takeaways from the win over the Vikings:
-- D.K. Metcalf has completely and fully arrived as one of the league's best wide receivers.
The Seahawks don't win if a string of 50-50 outcomes all don't go their way. Two of those instances were vital fourth down catches by D.K. Metcalf to keep the final drive alive and deliver the game-winning points.
Metcalf hauled in a rainbow throw from Wilson on fourth-and-10 from their own 23-yard line for a 39-yard gain. Metcalf made a leaping grab after finding some separation from cornerback Cameron Dantzler to haul in the throw amid a pouring rainstorm. After having a second down pass at the goal line dislodged late by cornerback Mike Hughes, Wilson went back to Metcalf with the game on the line. Fourth-and-goal from the 6-yard line and Wilson zipped a ball by the oncoming pressure of defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo and into Metcalf's arms as safety Anthony Harris draped over his back.
"When the ball is in the air, that's what Russ keeps harping on, there's going to be a game-changer when the ball is in the air. It's always mine. That was my thought process that whole drive," Metcalf said.
Metcalf is becoming a star for the Seahawks. He's second in the NFL through five weeks with 496 yards on 22 catches and is on pace to shatter the team's single-season receiving record of 1,287 yards held by Steve Largent in 1985. Metcalf becomes one of just 15 players in NFL history to have compiled over 1,300 receiving yards and at least 12 touchdowns in the first 21 games of a career. Metcalf has 1,391 yards on 80 catches with 12 touchdowns over that span for Seattle.
"In my mind I feel like I'm getting to that point," Metcalf said when asked if he believes he's one of the league's best receivers. "There's still people in the league that I still look up to like DeAndre Hopkins, Julio (Jones), Mike Thomas, OBJ (Odell Beckham Jr.), they're still great players in this league. Just to be up there with them and I know my work ethic and how I am as a player, I believe I'm in that realm but I still got a lot of work to do."
The offense wasn't sharp in the rain. They couldn't convert any third downs. Wilson was limited to just 217 yards passing even with the late touchdown drive that accounted for 77 yards alone. Wilson also tossed a really bad interception that nearly ended the team's chances in the fourth quarter.
Seattle only ran 52 plays compared to Minnesota's 83 as well and they were shut out for the entire first half. But Wilson and Metcalf were able to create magic again to keep the team undefeated into their bye week.
"It didn't matter, you know," Carroll said. "I mean give Russ four downs and he's gonna find a way to make a first down. And he's got some drama in him now. The fourth-and-10 was huge, obviously, and then coming through on fourth down to win it with D.K."
-- K.J. Wright continues his fantastic season with an interception and fumble recovery
While the defense as a whole may be struggling, Wright is reminding everybody just how good of a player he can be.
With injuries from previous seasons further in the rear-view mirror, Wright is having a stellar campaign. He made several critical plays for the defense
"To make that catch and do the full Spider Man thing you know that he does, that was remarkable and just so classy a play and again he had another big night," Carroll said of Wright.
Wright didn't have as many tackles as Bobby Wagner or Cody Barton, who was playing Wright's traditional weakside linebacker spot. However, he made a stellar one-handed interception of a pass intended for Justin Jefferson and recovered a fumble caused on a strip-sack of Cousins by Damontre Moore. He also knocked down another pass on Cousins' first attempt of the game.
The fumble recovery set up a 13-yard touchdown to D.K. Metcalf to give Seattle a 14-13 lead. Then Wright's interception led to a 29-yard barreling touchdown run from Chris Carson to push the lead to 21-13 as the Seahawks scored 21 points in a 1:53 span in the third quarter. Wright's hand in two turnovers were a big part of that.
The team's longest-tenured player, Wright is having the best season of any player on defense through five weeks.
-- Run defense shows its warts as well against Vikings
The Seahawks defense has been bad through five games and Sunday night was no exception.
Prior to the Vikings game, it was almost entirely the pass defense that had been an issue. Seattle ranked third in the league against the run allowing less than 80 yards per game on the ground. However, that didn't hold against Minnesota as Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone combined to rush for 201 yards against the Seahawks defense.
"We didn’t play things as clearly as we need to," Carroll said. "They were running plays that we had practiced and all that, but we got blocked. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to fit them up right. We’re usually really good at that stuff and then tonight we had some problems and some issues."
Cook was looking like the league's best rusher through the first half as he gained 65 yards on 17 carries and scored the first touchdown of the night on an 8-yard run. But Cook would exit the game in the third quarter due to a groin strain sustained while catching a screen pass. Mattison replaced Cook and the Vikings didn't miss a beat. Mattison rushed for 112 yards on 20 carries as Seattle's run defense continued to be gashed.
But the defense did make a play when it needed it most. Benson Mayowa crashed through tackle Brian O'Neill. Cody Barton stoned the block of fullback C.J. Ham and then Bobby Wagner joined in to combine for a stop of Mattison on fourth-and-inches from the Seattle 6-yard line with two minutes left to play. A first down would have enabled the Vikings to run out the clock. Instead, the Seahawks had the chance for one final drive that resulted in the game-winning score.
"I believe this is one of the top three or four most impressive things I’ve seen this team do," Wright said. "And I knew that once we made that fourth down stop, I was like, we’re about to win. You guys should see the confidence that we have on the sideline. Everyone was just so positive and optimistic and we knew, even when it was fourth and 10, it was like, we’re going to find a way. We just have to believe as a team, if we have Russell at quarterback, anything is possible."
The Seahawks are 5-0 in spite of their defense. The Seahawks have allowed over 415 yards of offense to every team they've played this year. They have allowed at least 25 points at home in 10 straight games, which is the longest streak in NFL history, per ESPN. They're allowing an average of 471.2 yards per game and 27.0 points per game.
Yes, Jamal Adams was out and Quinton Dunbar remains slowed by a bothersome knee and first-round pick Jordyn Brooks missed a second straight game and Bruce Irvin is out for the season. Some of the offenses they've faced have been legitimately good units as well. There are some reasons to explain why the defense has struggled to slow opposing offenses through five weeks this year. However, it is difficult to foresee the Seahawks being able to keep winning games like this, to be able to make a run to the Super Bowl at the end of the year with a defense that is having these kind of problems.
It's up to them to find some way to get better and take some of the load off Wilson and the offense for the remaining 11 games of the season.
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 11: DK Metcalf #14 of the Seattle Seahawks is congratulated by teammates after scoring the game winning touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings during the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field on October 11, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)