Whenever temperatures dip below 0, you cannot go into a game expecting much offense. This game was no exception, as the Seahawks barely hung on to defeat the Vikings 10-9. The cold was definitely a factor as both offenses started slow, and stayed slow throughout the game. However, even with the cold weather, the Vikings had a chance to seal the deal, but they hooked it left.
Vikings kicker, Blair Walsh, had previously made 3 field goals in a row, 2 from more than 40 yards and accounting for all 9 of the Vikings points. As we've learned, it's always the last one that's most important. With 26 seconds left and down by 1, Blair Walsh had the game all but wrapped up, pending a 27-yard, game winning field goal. Walsh hooked the kick well left of the goal post, sealing the Vikings' fate and sending Seattle onto Charlotte to face the Panthers.
Devastating for Vikings fans, but almost comical when you look back at how crazy these first 3 wild card games have been. A shutout in Houston, trash reigning down from the stands in Cincinnati, and now a heartbreaking game winner missed in Minnesota.
Coming into this game, you would expect a lot from the rushing game of Minnesota, but Adrian Peterson would probably want another shot at this game. Peterson rushed for only 45 yards on 23 carries,and lost a game-changing fumble. These numbers aren't usually associated with one of the best backs in the league. In a game where the temperatures played a huge role, and Lynch was out, the Vikings needed to take advantage of having the superior ground game, and they failed.
It's easy for fans to blame the weather when their team is doing bad, but you can't blame everything on the -10 degree temperatures today. Both teams seemed to shoot themselves in the foot several times throughout the game. Seattle and Minnesota had multiple opportunities to put this game away, but failed to do so.
The Seahawks were forced to use multiple timeouts because they ran into play clock trouble. One time is frustrating enough, but when it is multiple times, something needs to change. Other than communication mistakes between a coach and QB, there's no reason the offense shouldn't be able to get to the line and snap the ball on time. Many sources claimed the Seahawks were having serious radio equipment problems, but we all know that only happens at Gillette.
The Vikings also benefited when punter Jon Ryan bobbled a low snap and tried to run for the first down. Ryan was well short of the first down marker, and to add insult to injury, was flipped onto his head and broke his nose. This gave the Vikings great field position, which eventually turned into one of the three field goals that Walsh would make.
Probably the biggest mistake of the game, besides the Walsh field goal, was committed by Adrian Peterson, when he fumbled on his own 35 yard line. Seattle recovered and took advantage with a Steven Hauschka field goal, giving Seattle its first lead of the game, 10-9. Peterson may be one of the best backs in the league, but he has struggled this year with fumbles. The star running back fumbled 8 times this year, 5 of them lost, which led the league.
Now onto what felt like the most dramatic shift in emotion so far this post season. There's no doubt this year has been a bad year for kickers, but that's no excuse to completely whiff on a 27-yard field goal. Yes it was very cold outside, but even the extra point is longer than 27 yards this year. After Walsh missed the kick, we all saw the famous saying "laces out, kid" repeated to no end, but Walsh took all the blame after the game. You have to respect him for not blaming the cold, or his place holder, but it still doesn't make up for the damage done.
Had he made the kick, Walsh would have unanimously won MVP of the game, scoring all 12 points for the Vikings, but he missed. Like I said before, it must have been heartbreaking for Vikings fans, but I couldn't have asked for anything more in terms of entertainment. A loss for Vikings fans, a win for everybody else.
Twitter is always the place to go when something dramatic happens, and I couldn't miss out on having a little fun of my own.
By Matt Watts