According to ESPN Stats & Information, 45 playoff teams since the merger have entered the final 15 minutes of a game without having scored; 43 of them ended up losing. The Seahawks, with their 10-9 victory, are one of two exceptions.
How'd they do it? Below are the three plays that made the difference.
1. Russell Wilson's 35-yard pass to Tyler Lockett: With 13:02 left, Wilson set up in shotgun with the ball at the Minnesota 39. He was trying to change the play at the line of scrimmage, but center Patrick Lewis thought Wilson was calling for the snap. Lewis fired the ball back, and it flew over Wilson's left shoulder. Wilson had to retreat roughly 11 yards and even dropped down to the ground to pick the ball up at one point. He had five defenders closing in, but rose to his feet, scrambled to his right and bought some time. He then fired downfield to a wide-open Lockett near the Vikings' 28-yard-line. Lockett raced to his left and got all the way down to the Vikings' 4 yard line. The Seahawks scored their only touchdown of the game two plays later. It's the type of play that might be forgotten had the Seahawks lost. But now it will be considered one of the greats in franchise history.
2. Kam Chancellor's forced fumble vs. Adrian Peterson: On the Vikings' ensuing offensive possession, they ran a play-fake to Peterson, and then Teddy Bridgewater dumped it off to him in the flat. Linebacker K.J. Wright charged forward and grabbed a hold of Peterson's left arm. Chancellor then lowered his shoulder, got both hands on the ball and ripped it out of Peterson's hands. Perhaps the part about this play that Pete Carroll will most appreciate is that defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin ended up making the recovery. The coaches have praised Rubin for his hustle in recent weeks. He's normally charged with stopping the run, but hustled downfield and was in the right place at the right time. The Seahawks ended up kicking what turned out to be the game-winning field goal on their next possession.
3. Blair Walsh's missed 27-yard field goal: According to ESPN Stats & Information, on attempts from 27 yards or closer, NFL kickers were 189-of-191 this season before Walsh missed to the left. The drive was a disaster for the Seahawks' defense. Chancellor was called for a 19-yard pass interference penalty and then got beat by TE Kyle Rudolph for a 24-yard completion. Everything was set up for the Vikings to celebrate a home playoff victory in the frigid temperatures, but Walsh was unable to finish. Throughout the course of a 16-game season and additional playoff contests, luck plays a role. And it was on the Seahawks' side in the closing seconds of this one.