Notebook: Vikings' defense allowed 34 points despite season-low T.O.P.
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The Minnesota Vikings defense has often fallen victim to lengthy stretches of play produced by an offense consistently producing three-and-outs and 31st in the league in time of possession.
But during Sunday's loss at the Seattle Seahawks, the Vikings allowed 24 points in 11:43-of-30:00 as quarterback Russell Wilson completed on passes of 27-, 34- and 44-yards en route to a two-score lead by halftime.
The Vikings' defense spent just 25:51-of-60:00 on the field, a season low, but still allowed 34 points when discounting the Seahawks' defensive score. The Vikings now allow 32 points per game, which leads the NFL.
The Seahawks' quick scores related to the time of possession, but the Vikings still forced five punts, but four touchdowns on five redzone trips.
Despite holding the Seahawks to three total yards on their first two drives, the Vikings were plagued by missed tackles and seemingly broken coverages as Wilson's targets were often open.
Wilson tossed for 230 yards and two touchdowns even though he attempted only 18 passes. Both Vikings starting safeties Andrew Sendejo and Jamarca Sanford led the team in tackles as Wilson averaged 12.8 yards per attempt.
Cornerback Xavier Rhodes fell down on a 44-yard completion to receiver Doug Baldwin, which help set up a Lynch' four-yard touchdown run just two plays later in the first quarter.
Wilson only needed to go 4-for-6 for 57 yards and a touchdown in the second half before Christian Ponder sealed the Seahawks' victory with two interceptions in five throws. Former Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson stepped in relief of Wilson for the fourth quarter.
The Seahawks averaged 6.5 yards per play as a whole and scored five touchdowns, four offensively, in the rout. On three of the four touchdowns, running back Marshawn Lynch wasn't touched until he reached the goal line.
Even after allowing the Seahawks to march down the field in five plays for 46 yards and a touchdown with 16 seconds left before halftime, the Vikings were right where they were supposed to be: 11 points down on the road against a team that hasn't lost at home since 2011.
The Vikings defense forced three straight Seahawks punts to start the second half, holding them to 50 total yards in that stretch. That was before Ponder's first of two interceptions set Seattle up at the 18-yard line. In a little over two game minutes, the Vikings went from three straight stops to a 38-13 deficit in the fourth quarter.
Overall, 17 of the Seahawks' 41 points came off turnovers. But they were cooked following the Seahawks' 24-point first half that the Vikings never overcame.
Running back Toby Gerhart gained more yardage (67) than running back Adrian Peterson (65) in garbage time against second and third-string defenders for the Seahawks, despite having 14 fewer carries.
Peterson saw his second-lowest yards-per-carry this season with 3.1 as the Seahawks crowded the line of scrimmage and successfully swarmed any play going his way. His longest runs of the day, eight and 13-yard gains, came in the third quarter.
Coach Leslie Frazier reportedly said Peterson, who sat out practice this week with a groin injury, is not healthy.
Frazier on AP: "He is not 100%. That groin is bothering him. It definitely affected him."— Ben Goessling (@GoesslingESPN) November 18, 2013
Center John Sullivan left the game with a concussion and did not return. Reserve lineman Joe Berger took his place.
• Receiver Jarius Wright's first career multi-touchdown day was one of a few silver linings in an otherwise tumultuous performance for the Vikings. Wright's 38-yarder off of play-action came from Ponder in the first half while Matt Cassel found Wright for a 21-yard score with 2:18 left in the game.
• Rookie linebacker Michael Mauti removed Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse from the game with a concussion after a hit he delivered in the first half on kickoff coverage. Mauti later corraled receiver Golden Tate for another special teams tackle on punt coverage.