The Seattle Seahawks took a step closer to securing home field advantage in the playoffs with a 37-30 win over Minnesota on Monday Night Football.
Mark down this December night at CenturyLink Field as the time the Seattle Seahawks solidified their claim to be the team to beat in the NFC.
The Seahawks scored 24 consecutive points after trailing by seven at halftime on their way to beating the Minnesota Vikings 37-30 on Monday for their fifth straight victory. Now 10-2, Seattle jumps over the San Francisco 49ers and into the lead in the NFC West by virtue of their head-to-head win over the 49ers last month.
Seattle has an MVP candidate at quarterback in Russell Wilson, but they found a new way to win against the Vikings. Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny formed a formidable tandem at running back, combining to rush the ball 38 times for 176 yards. Penny earned a season-high 15 carries and responded with both a touchdown on the ground and through the air. The Seahawks as a team ran for 218 yards and gained more than five yards per carry.
That’s not to say that Wilson didn’t play his usual part in leading Seattle to victory. He had another solid game, passing for 240 yards and two touchdowns. And while he did throw only his fourth interception of the season that was returned for a touchdown by Anthony Harris, it came as a result of a batted ball that Wilson himself then knocked back right in the arms of Harris.
With the Seahawks holding a fragile three-point lead near the end of the third quarter, Wilson connected with David Moore on a 60-yard touchdown to give Seattle a two-possession advantage. With 13 minutes remaining in the final quarter, he threw his second touchdown of the game on a screen pass to Penny from 13 yards out.
With four weeks remaining in the season, the path for the Seahawks to earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs is wide open. Off to the third 10-2 start in franchise history and first since 2005, Seattle is tied with San Francisco and New Orleans for the best record in the conference. The 49ers and Saints play next week in New Orleans in a game that could potentially eliminate one of them from contention for the No. 1 overall seed. San Francisco also has to play the Los Angeles Rams before traveling to Seattle to close out the regular season.
The 49ers remaining opponents have a combined record of 30-18, compared to 25-22 for Seattle who still has games left against the 5-7 Panthers and 3-8-1 Cardinals. New Orleans, meanwhile, in addition to their game against San Francisco, still has to go on the road to play a red-hot Tennessee Titans team in two weeks.
Seattle has shown the ability to pull off close wins when it matters most. They are now 7-1 this season in games decided by seven or fewer points. Head coach Pete Carroll also showed his willingness to take risks by calling for a fake punt in the fourth quarter from Seattle’s own 32-yard line. Then there is the home-field advantage.
The Seahawks like to call their fans at CenturyLink Field the “12th man” for their ability to change the course of a game through deafening cheers. With that crowd behind them in January, the road to the Super Bowl for any team that has to make the trip to the Pacific Northwest will only be that much tougher. Seattle took a big step toward making that a reality on Monday.