Seahawks clinch playoff spot with statement victory over Chiefs
The Seattle Seahawks clinched a playoff spot with their most impressive victory of the season, handing the Kansas City Chiefs their second straight loss for the first time since last year.
Seattle’s 38-31 win on Sunday was fueled by a strong keep-away run game, timely defense and the magic of Russell Wilson, who made more big plays than his counterpart, Patrick Mahomes.
The Seahawks are now 9-6 and will find out next week whether they’re the fifth or sixth seed in the NFC playoffs. The Chiefs missed on a chance to cement the No. 1 seed in the AFC and will need to win next week (or have the Patriots lose) to ensure not having to leave Arrowhead Stadium in the playoffs prior to the Super Bowl.
Wilson threw for three touchdowns and ran for 60 yards, escaping a few would-be sacks for big gains. He found Ed Dickson all alone in the end zone for the game-capping TD midway through the fourth quarter, and Seattle’s defense did the remainder of the heavy lifting.
The Seahawks did a good job of making Mahomes and the Chiefs work for every yard they earned, pressuring him relentlessly early and keeping him mostly under wraps. LT Eric Fisher especially seemed to struggle in pass protection a week after being named to the Pro Bowl.
The Chiefs kept it close thanks to a solid run game early, and Mahomes started making MVP-caliber plays in the second half, including a beautiful across-the-body connection with Charcandrick West for a 25-yard touchdown that tied the game at 17-all in the third quarter.
After the Seahawks moved back in front when Wilson hit Doug Baldwin on a 27-yard score at the end of the third quarter, the Chiefs marched down the field and had a chance to even it back up. But after reaching the Seattle 4-yard line, they couldn’t convert a first-and-goal into a touchdown following a false start and two incompletions thrown toward Kelvin Benjamin.
A field goal cut Seattle’s lead to 24-20, but the Chiefs couldn’t hold on defense. Their secondary committed four penalties for 46 yards and had trouble covering Baldwin, who hauled in seven catches for 126 yards. The Chiefs also were guilty of three false starts in what likely was their loudest road game of the season.
Mahomes hit Demarcus Robinson for a tremendous TD catch to make it a field-goal game once he ran in the ensuing two-point conversion with 4:36 remaining. But the Seahawks ground down the clock with Wilson hitting on late conversions to David Moore and Tyler Lockett. Chris Carson scored his second TD with 2:29 left to effectively ice the game.
Mahomes finished the game 23-of-40 passing for 273 yards with three touchdowns. Only the Ravens (18) forced more incomplete passes from Mahomes in a game this season, as the Seahawks did about as well as they could have hoped to keep the prospective MVP selection relatively in check for long stretches Sunday night.