Seahawks just keep getting better with 41-20 win over Vikings

Seattle’s rout of Minnesota stokes good vibes as the team enters the bye week with its first 10-1 record

Staff writerNovember 17, 2013 

There are the grins that children have when opening an anticipated gift and it looks like a prize plucked from their dreams.

Then there’s the postgame look Golden Tate had when asked about fellow Seattle wide receiver Percy Harvin.

Tate smiled, paused and kind of peered into the distance.

“I’m excited,” Tate said. “We’ve got some players.”

The proof of that was on the field Sunday, when the Seahawks moved to 10-1 for the first time in franchise history with a 41-20 beatdown of the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field. It was their team-record 13th straight home victory.

Harvin’s Seattle debut juiced a team that has begun to squelch any opposing unit the past two weeks and zips into the bye week with the NFC’s best record.

Hammering hapless Atlanta on the road last week provided a feeling of progress. Sunday’s thwarting of Minnesota gave a shove to notions that the Seahawks are heading toward full form.

It also spurs the question: If Seattle is 10-1 while getting healthy and into a rhythm, what will it look like afterward?

“We’re in a good spot right now,” safety Earl Thomas said. “We know that. The big thing about that is you have to be consistent. You can’t get too high. You have to stay even-keeled.

“You’ve got to remember what it took to get to this point. I think this week was our best grind week. It’s going to keep getting better if we keep our same mindset.”

The Seahawks’ move to 10 wins was made easier by their defense surrounding Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

Peterson ran for 182 yards on 17 carries when Minnesota came to Seattle last year. He had just 65 yards on 21 carries Sunday. Multiple players hit him. Tackles were helped by linebackers. Linebackers hung on when ends and safeties came to close the play.

The Seahawks crept safety Kam Chancellor up to the same level as the linebackers and inside the edge of the tackles. The box was fully stacked, set to challenge only the Vikings’ running game and double-dog dare Minnesota to throw.

It couldn’t. Starting quarterback Christian Ponder was intercepted twice. Backup Matt Cassel also was intercepted. The Vikings burned cornerback Richard Sherman once on a double-move for a deep touchdown but otherwise did little on offense.

“We know what kind of player he is,” Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril said of Peterson. “I’ve been playing against him for six years. He’s a patient runner. Once he hits a gap, he sees it and goes. I think we did a good job of just playing sound defense.”

For the second consecutive week, Seattle’s offense was powerful.

Even before making his first catch — a juggling third-down conversion in the second quarter — Harvin was causing issues.

The Vikings’ safeties often looked at and cheated toward Harvin. Doug Baldwin was left to beat one cornerback and did so throughout. He made a splendid 19-yard touchdown catch in the back corner of the end zone just before halftime to put Seattle in front, 24-13.

Marshawn Lynch had a 4-yard rushing touchdown to end the first quarter. He pulled in a back-handed flip from quarterback Russell Wilson for an early fourth-quarter touchdown that vaulted the Seahawks to a 31-13 lead.

Steven Hauschka kicked two more field goals. He has missed once all season.

Tight end Zach Miller led the Seahawks in receptions (4) and yards receiving (69).

Linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright shared the team lead with nine tackles.

Avril forced a fumble.

The Vikings came into the game leading the NFL in punt returns. They had zero return yards Sunday.

Playing in place of injured cornerback Brandon Browner, Walter Thurmond had an interception return for a touchdown.

Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald even had a pick.

Coach Pete Carroll had only one gripe.

“We would like to keep playing,” Carroll said.

He won’t have a choice to do that with the bye week coming up. It’s about the only thing slowing down the Seahawks at this point.

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