With two minutes remaining on Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings gambled with a chance to put away the Seattle Seahawks.
And they lost.
Facing fourth-and-1 at the Seahawks 6-yard line while holding a five-point lead, the Vikings decided to go for it. Kirk Cousins handed the ball to Alexander Mattison, who was stuffed on the right side of the line for no gain.
The decision and failure to convert put the ball back into Russell Wilson’s hands. And like he’s done to his opponents all season, Wilson made the Vikings pay.
Wilson leads stunning 2-minute drill
Wilson marched the Seahawks on a 94-yard drive that included a fourth-and-10 conversion and ended with a fourth-and-goal touchdown pass to DK Metcalf with 15 seconds remaining to secure a 27-26 Seahawks win.
With the victory, the Seahawks improved to 5-0 and Wilson’s MVP campaign kicked into overdrive.
Metcalf, as he has been for much of the season, was Wilson’s go-to receiver on the drive. Facing fourth-and-10 at the Seattle 23 with the game on the line, Wilson heaved a deep ball toward the left sideline. Metcalf split a pair of Minnesota defenders and leveraged his 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame to leap and grab the game-saving catch for a 39-yard gain.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 12, 2020
Metcalf hauls in another fourth-down grab
Once Seattle got into scoring position, Wilson called Metcalf’s number again. On second-and-goal from the 6-yard line, Wilson looked to Metcalf in the right-front corner of the end zone. Wilson’s pass hit Metcalf in the hands, but the second-year receiver dropped it.
Wilson didn’t lose faith. Given another chance to call Metcalf’s number with the game on the line on fourth down, Wilson found him streaking left-to-right across the end zone with safety Anthony Harris trailing. He hit Metcalf in the hands.
This time Metcalf held on.
— NFL (@NFL) October 12, 2020
Seattle’s two-point conversion failed but it didn’t matter. The Vikings didn’t approach field-goal range on their ensuing possession, and the Seahawks held on for a thrilling victory.
Vikings dominated early, control clock
From the outset, the Vikings looked ready to pull off the road upset to get their one-win season back on track. Minnesota swarmed and frustrated Wilson in a dominant first half that saw the Vikings control the ball and carry a 13-0 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, the Seahawks offense did what it does best. Score in bunches. Aided by a pair of Vikings turnovers, Seattle scored three touchdowns in a 1:46 span to take a 21-19 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Vikings lost Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook to an apparent groin injury early in the half, and Seattle looked ready to take control. But the Vikings didn’t fold.
Minnesota ground out a 15-play, 97-yard drive in the fourth quarter featuring repeated handoffs to Mattison, the Vikings’ backup RB. The drive took 8:11 seconds off the clock and ended with a Kirk Cousins touchdown to Adam Thielen to take a 26-21 lead with 7:06 remaining.
The drive epitomized a clear Minnesota game plan to keep the ball out of Wilson’s hands. The Vikings dominated time of possession 39:28-20:32 and frustrated Wilson for much of the night.
Should Vikings have kicked field goal?
The late gamble didn’t pay off. Head coach Mike Zimmer declined a 23-yard field goal that would have given the Vikings an eight-point lead with two minutes remaining.
Clearly fearing what Wilson can do on a two-minute drive, Zimmer put the ball in Mattison’s hands as Cook remained sidelined with injury. Mattison needed 1 yard to keep Minnesota’s drive alive. He got none.
Wilson did the rest. Despite the 2-to-1 time-of-possession disadvantage, Wilson produced in the box score, completing 20 of 32 passes for 217 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He ran five times to lead Seattle with 58 rushing yards.
Metcalf hauled in six catches for 93 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Mattison took over Minnesota’s offense after Cook’s injury, rumbling for 112 yards on 20 carries as the centerpiece of Zimmer’s ball-control scheme. It was a game plan built to limit Wilson’s chances to win.
And it almost worked.
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