Sunday, November 17, 2013
Seattle defense holds Peterson in check
By Terry Blount
SEATTLE -- Quarterback Russell Wilson threw two touchdowns passes. Running back Marshawn Lynch had three scores -- two rushing and one receiving. And Percy Harvin had an impressive debut that included a 58-yard kickoff return.
Even with all that firepower, this was a day for the Seattle defense. When a defense holds Adrian Peterson to 65 yards on 21 carries, it can do a little boasting.
Keeping Peterson is check was a big reason the Seahawks coasted to a 41-20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings Sunday.
"The guys did a fantastic job on Adrian," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "We thought our biggest challenge was slowing him down. We handled him well and tackled well."
Peterson had one of his best games of the season at Seattle last year, rushing for 182 yards in the 30-20 loss to the Seahawks.
"We talked a lot about that this week," said Seattle defensive tackle Clinton McDonald. "We knew we couldn’t let [Peterson] get off to a fast start. We did a great job today of coming up and hitting him early. We were staying in our gaps and hitting him when we needed to hit him."
Peterson said after the game that his sore knee was bothering him more than anything else, but whatever the reason, he wasn’t the dominant running back people are accustomed to seeing.
And the Minnesota passing game wasn’t much better once they got behind and were forced to throw. The Seahawks had three interceptions, including a 29-yard pick-six by cornerback Walter Thurmond, who was starting for an injured Brandon Browner.
"The ball came right to me," Thurmond said. "It fell in my lap and I capitalized on the opportunity."
Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner also had an interception, and could have had two if not for dropping one right in his hands that might have been another pick-six. Even McDonald had an interception off a deflection from defensive end Chris Clemons.
"That my first interception in the NFL," McDonald said. "Actually, it was my first since high school when I had two as a linebacker. I wanted to score, but I was juggling to control the ball and I go tackled [at the Minnesota 15] before I could get there."
Minnesota’s only touchdown in the first three quarters came on a rare blown coverage by cornerback Richard Sherman that became a 38-yard score to receiver Jarius Wright. Long after the outcome was decided, Wright caught a meaningless 21-yard touchdown with 2:18 to go.
On a day when everyone will talk about Harvin’s return, the Seattle defense controlled the game by forcing turnovers, including a sack/forced fumble by defensive end Cliff Avril on quarterback Christian Ponder.
"We have a mindset that we’re playing for each other," said Seattle free safety Earl Thomas. "It elevates everybody's game. Guys are giving everything they have, so we know no one can beat us because the effort is there."