MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Though they finished November on a terrible
note, the Minnesota Vikings know this: Finish strong, and the slump
Question on the Seahawks: What happened to Hasselbeck and the offense today?
What a poor performance by Seattle's players. Coming into this game, most people thought it'd be a shootout, but instead the Seahawks shot themselves in the foot. This team didn't look good in any aspect of the game and its poor play on the road is dooming it to a potential early playoff exit.
Question on the Vikings: Given the Vikings' recent skid, how big of a win is this?
Because of the Bears-Packers game, this game was a must-win for the Vikings. Coach Mike Tice should be proud of his team for coming out and playing exceptionally well against a seemingly tough foe. It also must be very encouraging for him to see how well QB Daunte Culpepper and WR Randy Moss played together.
Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.
Daunte Culpepper threw three long touchdown passes, two to Randy
Moss, and a suddenly stingy defense shut down the powerful Seattle
Seahawks on Sunday in a 34-7 victory.
"We want to win in December," Culpepper said. "We've just got
to take this momentum into next week. I have no doubt in my mind it
will carry over."
In a critical game for both clubs' playoff chances, the Vikings
(8-5) reverted to their early season form -- before five losses in
six games wiped out a 6-0 start and placed their NFC North lead
over Green Bay in serious question.
"I don't think we achieved excellence, but we certainly played
fast and we were loose," said Minnesota coach Mike Tice, enjoying
a victory over the team he played 10 seasons for as a tight end.
The Seahawks (8-5) were stymied by a defense that fell to 29th
in the league after a 48-17 loss at St. Louis last week. After
scoring 110 points in the last three games, Seattle continued to
struggle on the road and fell further behind the Rams (9-3 entering
Monday) in the NFC West.
The Seahawks are 1-5 away from home, with a make-or-break game
at St. Louis next week.
"I'm angry about how we played," quarterback Matt Hasselbeck
said. "The true test of this team will be how we bounce back from
Culpepper, who shared some responsibility with the defense for
the Vikings' recent struggles, was 21-for-33 for 274 yards, three
touchdowns and no turnovers.
Moss had eight receptions for 133 yards, including scores of 47
and 45 yards. Kelly Campbell caught a 43-yard touchdown pass in the
fourth quarter and rookie Mike Nattiel later returned an
interception 80 yards for a score, keeping Minnesota a game ahead
of the Packers in the division race.
Believe it or not, the Vikings didn't plan to throw so many deep
balls. Culpepper said two of the touchdowns came on audibles after
a running play was called.
"Our goal was to run the ball -- we had no other goal," Tice
said. "We just got some extra gravy there."
Though nearly flawless offense played a big part, the Vikings'
performance on the other side of the ball was more impressive --
especially since Seattle won this meeting last year 48-23 behind an
NFL-record five first-half touchdowns from Shaun Alexander.
"It was like the defense saying, 'Offense, hurry up and score
so we can get back out there," said middle linebacker Greg
Biekert, who shared time with rookie E.J. Henderson in one of
several shuffles the Vikings have made to their defense over the
last few weeks.
The Vikings held the ball for more than 21 of the first 30
minutes. Moss beat Reggie Tongue and Ken Lucas and hauled in
Culpepper's 47-yard pass over his shoulder -- Willie Mays-style -- to
put Minnesota up 7-0 early in the second quarter.
Aaron Elling kicked field goals of 36 and 35 yards, after
missing from 40, to make it 13-0 at the half.
Following their only scoreless first half this season, the
Seahawks quickly climbed back with a 56-yard kickoff return by
Maurice Morris to open the third quarter.
Bobby Engram led Seattle with 93 yards receiving before leaving
with a concussion. He caught a 29-yard pass to set up a tough
1-yard touchdown run by Alexander that pulled Seattle to 13-7.
For the rest of the game, though, everything went Minnesota's
"We didn't do anything today to change the momentum," Seahawks
center Robbie Tobeck said. "We did things to help their
Hasselbeck, who had eight touchdown passes in his last two
games, didn't throw any. He was 17-for-34 for 218 yards and two
interceptions, though his receivers had several drops and penalties
"For whatever reason, we were making all of the mistakes we
talked about not making," Hasselbeck said. "I don't think we
could've beat many teams today playing like that."
Michael Bennett carried a season-high 25 times for 103
yards for the Vikings before spraining his right ankle in the
fourth quarter. He was held out as a precaution. ... Alexander was
held to 56 yards rushing on 14 carries.