Seahawks seal playoff spot, halt Chiefs' AFC West title bid
The Seattle Seahawks secured their NFL playoff berth by upstaging the Kansas City Chiefs 38-31 on Sunday.
Look out NFC playoff field, the Seahawks have joined the party. And they are peaking at just the right time.
Russell Wilson threw for three touchdowns and Chris Carson rushed for 116 yards and two scores to key Seattle to victory over the Chiefs at CenturyLink Field.
While the victory clinched a playoff spot for the Seahawks (9-6), it fouled up the Chiefs' plans.
Psssst.— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) December 24, 2018
WE'RE PLAYOFF BOUND. pic.twitter.com/xSsaSx4OKK
Kansas City (11-4) could have clinched the AFC West and the AFC top playoff seed with a win. Instead, the Chiefs will have to reach those goals next week against the Oakland Raiders at home.
We interrupt the Mahomes 2018 tribute tour with a reminder: Wilson is still really good.
Patrick Mahomes is one of the most exciting players to enter the NFL, not just in recent years … but ever. Not trying to add to the hype surrounding the second-year Chiefs quarterback, because there has been plenty of that this season. Mahomes started off slow against Seattle — CenturyLink Field is an intimidating place — but he finished with 273 yards and three touchdown passes and no picks.
Respect. pic.twitter.com/zGmRADEVsA— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) December 24, 2018
But veteran Seahawks star Wilson outduelled him. Wilson had 271 yards, three TD passes and no interceptions while rushing for 57 yards. He kept the Seahawks going on drive after drive, and when they needed a big play, he delivered, as on this beautiful pass to Tyler Lockett.
While Mahomes will be a serious contender for NFL MVP, Wilson is once again showing why he is one of the best quarterbacks of this generation. And with plenty of postseason experience, including a Super Bowl championship, if you had to pick between Wilson and Mahomes to lead your team in the playoffs this year, who would you choose?
Carson, Williams are diamonds in the rough
Chris Carson does not have the pedigree you expect out of lead running backs. A seventh-round pick in 2017, he was only four spots away from being "Mr. Irrelevant," the last player chosen in the draft.
Carson has been plenty relevant for the Seahawks this season, never more so than Sunday night. Those 116 yards came on 27 carries, a nice 4.3 yards per carry. And on that second touchdown — what turned out to be the winning score just before the two-minute warning — he was stopped short of the end zone, but powered his way past two would-be tacklers.
Carson now has 1,029 yards and eight touchdowns this season, and will be a big factor for the Seahawks in the postseason.
The Chiefs have their own diamond in the rough in Damien Williams, who had 140 total yards and a touchdown in the loss. He had 123 total yards and two touchdowns in week 15 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Not bad for an unheralded fifth-year player who was an undrafted free agent. The Chiefs scheme makes everyone look great.
Chiefs don't look invincible anymore
On the morning of November 19, the Chiefs were 9-1 and looked virtually invincible. That night, they lost that epic 54-51 game to the Los Angeles Rams on "Monday Night Football."
Since then, the Chiefs are 2-2, including a loss to the Chargers last week. Mixed into that streak, Kansas City gave up 33 points to the Raiders in a victory.
This is still a very good team, and they will be even tougher playing in Arrowhead in the postseason. But as they showed once against Sunday, they can be beat. Their defense has had many suspect moments. They are really struggling against the run, entering week 16 averaging an NFL-worst 5.0 yards per carry.
When that happens, the other team can string together long drives and eat up the clock, keeping that high-powered Chiefs offense on the bench. Seattle dominated the time of possession, holding the ball for 35:02 and running 75 plays to the Chiefs' 60. That is not a good omen headed into the postseason, where most teams have a potent offense and rushing attack.