The Vikings gave up their nine-point lead in the fourth quarter and were down to their final chance to grab it back after forcing a punt with less than two minutes to play on Sunday afternoon.
A pass interference penalty on Kam Chancellor was followed by a 24-yard gain on a pass to Kyle Rudolph, who shrugged off a tackle attempt by Chancellor to get that far down the field. Three Adrian Peterson runs later, the Vikings brought on Blair Walsh for a 27-yard field goal that would win the game.
The spirit of Gary Anderson could have been in the air, a memory of Richard Sherman nearly blocking a previous kick may have entered Walsh’s mind or maybe it was having the laces in (although Walsh made two other kicks with the ball set up that way), but something caused him to hook the kick wide left. The miss means the Seahawks are on to Carolina as 10-9 winners in a game that won’t be going on their highlight reel.
It was the fourth time that the team has rallied from at least nine points down in the playoffs under Pete Carroll, but this was a case of surviving and taking advantage of opportunities on a day when very little went right. The biggest of the opportunities they grabbed was when Chancellor stripped Adrian Peterson of the ball in the fourth quarter to create a turnover that the Seahawks turned into a game-winning field goal. The other big play of the fourth for Seattle came when a bad snap forced Russell Wilson to scramble long enough to find Tyler Lockett for a 35-yard gain.
Wilson ended the day 13-of-26 for 142 yards, a touchdown and an interception and the Vikings defense did all you could ask for from a team trying to win a playoff game. The offense wasn’t quite up to that level, struggling to move the ball for the majority of the afternoon and punting twice after Peterson’s fumble in the fourth.
The Vikings had just 183 yards of offense overall on the day and employed a conservative game plan heavy on runs and short passes on that side of the ball. It made for a sluggish effort, albeit one that matched with the defense’s performance to give the team a chance to win in the final seconds.
Walsh missed, though, and it is the Seahawks who get another chance to show they are capable of a better performance while trying to advance to a third straight NFC championship game.