MINNEAPOLIS — Somehow, someway, the Seattle Seahawks’ march to a third consecutive Super Bowl remains alive.
Seattle, the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs, rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Minnesota Vikings 10-9 at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday.
Vikings kicker Blair Walsh had a chance to send Minnesota on to the Divisional Round, but his 27-yard field goal sailed wide left with 22 seconds remaining.
Instead, it’s the Seahawks who will play the top-seeded Carolina Panthers next Sunday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina
The missed chip shot was only the latest bit of good luck for the Seahawks, who overcame potential disaster earlier in the fourth, kick-starting just the second rally of its kind since the NFL merger; Seattle became the first team since the Atlanta Falcons in 1978 to rally for a playoff win when being shut out through three quarters.
Seattle also overcame a game-time temperature of minus-6 degrees, which was tied for the third-coldest playoff game in NFL history. The temperature and minus-25 wind chill were the coldest in Vikings history.
“This was really a survival game for both teams,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “It was an amazing defensive effort on both sides; it was one of those all-day jobs.”
For most of the afternoon, the freezing temperatures kept both offenses cold.
But early in the fourth, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson made the play of the game, retreating to pick up a snap that sailed by his head. He scooped up the ball and rolled to his right about 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage and found wide open receiver Tyler Lockett in the middle of the field for a gain of 35 yards down to the Vikings’ four-yard line.
“The football gods were with us today,” Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said.
“He just had to make something happen,” Carroll said.
Two plays later, Wilson hit receiver Doug Baldwin on a quick out-route near the pylon for a 3-yard score, narrowing the Vikings’ lead to 9-7.
On the second play of the ensuing drive, Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson converted a screen pass into a first down but had the ball ripped out of his hands by Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor. Seattle recovered the ball at the Vikings 40-yard line.
Seven plays later, Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka connected on a 46-yard field goal to give Seattle its first lead of the day.
After trading punts, Minnesota got the ball back with one final chance at the win. With 1:42 to go, the Vikings started at their own 39-yard line; taking advantage of a 19-yard pass interference penalty and a 24-yard catch and run by tight end Kyle Rudolph to move the ball to the Seattle 18.
Minnesota gained nine more yards on three consecutive runs to set up Walsh on the left hash. The snap appeared good, but holder Jeff Locke couldn’t spin the laces away from Walsh and his kick was never close.
“I can tell you this: It’s my fault. I don’t care if you give me a watermelon (to kick), I should be able to put that through,” Walsh said. “Jeff did his job, (long snapper) Kevin (McDermott) did his job. I’m the only one who didn’t do my job there. That’s on me.”
The miss is yet another chapter of postseason heartache for Viking fans still haunted by Brett Favre’s across-the-body interception in the 2009 NFC Championship and Gary Anderson’s missed 38-yard field goal in the 1998 NFC Championship. That kick also missed wide to the left.
“It’s a chip shot, he’s gotta make it,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.
Packers 35, Redskins 18
WASHINGTON — Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes, the Green Bay offense scored on five consecutive drives, and the Packers advanced to the NFC divisional playoffs with a 35-18 win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday at FedEx Field.
Green Bay, which had lost two straight while totaling 21 points, rallied from an 11-0 deficit. The Packers travel to face the second-seeded Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night for a divisional playoff game.
Running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks had second-half touchdown runs as the Packers picked up 124 of their 141 rushing yards after halftime.
After starting 1-for-8, Rodgers finished 21-for-36 for 210 yards with no interceptions.
Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, who was sacked six times, finished 29-for-46 for 329 yards. He passed for one touchdown and ran for another, and he wasn’t picked off.
Tight end Jordan Reed had nine catches for 120 yards and a touchdown for the Redskins, who had won four straight to capture their first NFC East title since 2012.
Trailing 17-11 at halftime, Washington took the second half kickoff and then took the lead.
On fourth-and-1 at the Green Bay 24, Cousins hit Reed, who pinballed his way to the 7. On third-and-goal from the 3, Cousins scored on a draw for an 18-17 lead.
Rodgers and Lacy then led Green Bay back.