Carolina Panthers

Seahawks escape Vikings after late missed field goal

Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh (3) watches as he misses a field goal during the second half of Sunday’s NFL wild-card football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Minneapolis. The Seahawks won 10-9 and will play the Carolina Panthers next Sunday in Charlotte.
Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh (3) watches as he misses a field goal during the second half of Sunday’s NFL wild-card football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Minneapolis. The Seahawks won 10-9 and will play the Carolina Panthers next Sunday in Charlotte. AP

The Seattle Seahawks escaped frigid Minneapolis with a 10-9 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in an NFC playoffs wildcard game on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium

The sixth-seeded Seahawks (11-6) are now headed to Charlotte for a date with the top-seeded Carolina Panthers in the divisional round next Sunday.

The Seahawks, who trailed 9-0 entering the fourth quarter, had to rely on a missed 27-yard field goal by the Vikings’ Blair Walsh with 22 seconds remaining to earn their rematch with the Panthers, who beat them 27-23 on Oct. 18 in Seattle.

Walsh’s miss wasn’t the only bit of good fortune the Seahawks picked up in a game that was the coldest (minus-6 degrees at kickoff) in Vikings history. Things turned early in the fourth quarter when Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson turned a bad snap from center Patrick Lewis into a 35-yard pass completion to rookie Tyler Lockett to the Vikings 4.

Two plays later, Wilson hit Doug Baldwin on a 3-yard scoring pass and the Vikings lead was cut to 9-7 with 11 minutes, 37 seconds left.

The Seahawks would get what turned out to be their winning points moments later after Vikings running back Adrian Peterson fumbled. Wilson led Seattle down the field, where former N.C. State kicker Steven Hauschka hit a 46-yard field goal with 2:33 left.

The Vikings appeared to be set up to win on their final possession. After a pass interference call on Seattle’s Kam Chancellor and a 24-yard pass from Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to tight end Kyle Rudolph, Walsh lined up for a short field goal.

But Walsh, who had hit earlier from 22, 43 and 47 yards, hooked this one wide left.

“It was so quick, I have no idea what happened,” said Walsh. “I can tell you this, it was my fault. It didn’t feel good coming off my foot and I kind of knew right away. It’s ridiculous. You have to do much better than that and I didn’t.”

Three who mattered

Russell Wilson: The Seahawks quarterback threw for just 142 yards and was sacked twice, but he also kept the game alive when he kept the ball in play after Lewis’ bad snap. That might have saved the game for the Seahawks.

Adrian Peterson: The NFL’s rushing leader was held to 45 yards on 23 carries and had a critical fumble in the fourth quarter after he made one of his two pass receptions.

Blair Walsh: He made three early field goals on a day when kicking wasn’t easy, but then missed when the Vikings really needed him to come through.

Observations

▪ The brutally cold conditions made everything difficult for both teams. Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said he knew it was really cold when he said his eye lashes froze after he came out for pregame warmups.

▪ Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph caught the only pass he was officially targeted for, a 24-yarder in the fourth quarter that helped set up Walsh’s final field-goal attempt. Rudolph was also Bridgewater’s target on the previous play, but Seattle’s Chancellor was called for pass interference.  

Worth mentioning

▪  Temperature at game time was minus-6 degrees with a wind-chill factor of minus-25. It was the coldest in Vikings history and third coldest in NFL history. That’s saying a lot for Minnesota, but remember, the Vikings played in the Metrodome for 31 seasons. They move into a new dome for the 2016 season.

▪  The Vikings’ 11-5 record entering the game at TCF Bank Stadium is the best in NFL history at a temporary stadium. Second are the Panthers, who were 5-3 when they played their first season at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium in 1995. The Vikings will move into a new downtown dome nezt season

They said it

“This sport is so challenging and that just shows young people that anything can happen.” – Seahawks safety Earl Thomas on Walsh’s miss.

“At first it was a shock of how cold it was, but you get over it and focus on the task at hand.” -- Sherman.

“I have never experienced anything like that before.” – Lockett on watching Walsh’s miss.

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