SEATTLE – “Beast Mode” put on a violent display of throwback football, but “All Day” wasn’t quite himself in the Vikings’ 41-20 loss to Seattle at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.
In a showdown of the two most powerful running backs in football, Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch scored three times, proved unstoppable in some short-yardage situations and broke a game-high 23-yard run on the touchdown drive that gave the Seahawks the lead for good at 17-10. The Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, meanwhile, looked more like a guy whose groin injury caused him to miss practice on Thursday and Friday.
“It was bothering me a lot,” said Peterson, who had 65 yards on 21 carries (3.1 yards per carry). “There were a couple of plays that first half that I knew if I was able to explode the way I normally do, I could have taken it to the house.”
A year ago, Peterson ran for 182 yards and two touchdowns, including a 74-yarder, on just 17 carries (10.7) in a 30-20 loss here. This year, he was outgained by backup Toby Gerhart, who had season highs by far for yards (67) and carries (seven) while taking extra reps early on and then taking over when the score got out of hand early in the fourth quarter.
Now, with the Vikings at 2-8, one has to wonder if they will risk putting Peterson on the field next week at Green Bay. Peterson didn’t like that idea when asked if sitting out next week’s game would be the wise move.
“No, I’m just going to try and get the rest I need kind of like I did this week and just push to Sunday,” he said. “In my mind, I really didn’t know things were going to turn out, leading into the week. But fortunately I came out and was able to play so I’ll just try and do the same thing.”
The Seahawks, as all teams do, geared their defense to stop Peterson. That allowed quarterback Christian Ponder to post one of the better first halves he has had. He completed nine of 13 passes for 114 yards, with a 38-yard touchdown to Jarius Wright and a 122.0 passer rating. Peterson had 35 yards on 14 first-half carries.
Peterson couldn’t get going and Ponder experienced an abysmal second-half free-fall that saw him get benched after two interceptions led to a pair of touchdowns early in the fourth quarter.
“Coming into the game, we knew these guys were going to try and stop the run,” Peterson said. “Their defense had eight in the box no matter what the play. They knew who they were going up against. They were holding on for dear life.”
Meanwhile, the Vikings defense did well against Lynch statistically. He had only 54 yards on 17 carries (3.2). But he was every bit of his nickname, especially when Seattle got near the goal line (three red-zone touchdowns, including two rushing).
“He’s a strong back with a great center of gravity,” Vikings defensive end Brian Robison said. “He’s one of those guys you have to hit and hit and get a bunch of guys wrapping him up. You look at it, a lot of times it’s two and three and four guys hitting him. He’s a tough one to bring down.”