The Minnesota Vikings are out of the season’s playoffs, and whilst the wounds are still open, we here at RealSport NFL are going to conduct a post mortem of the game. What happened? We called the match at RealSport, with a win for the Vikings at home. I made that call, and was bolstered personally, when Lynch self declared himself out. This is why I love this sport, because I was wrong. With temperatures as low as -29C in Minnesota, so cold that people’s beer was freezing in their cups, so cold that it looked like half the players had taken up Vaping. We knew that this was going to be a game dominated by the running game. So did the defences. Adrian Peterson, the highest rated running back for yards this season, was well and truly shut out. Each team knew what was going to happen, and the first quarter resulted in only 3 points for the home team. That, and a bloody nose for Ryan, their punter. Both teams experimented with long throws in the first half, with nothing coming out of it, as you would expect with blocks of ice for hands. The Vikings defence did what they have been doing all season, and completely shut the Seahawks out for the whole first half of the game. With only 3 points from a field goal on the board, and half the game done. It was clear that both teams had the measure of each other. Seattle weren’t showing weakness with Lynch back at home, and were still trying to throw some deep balls to catch up in the game. Going into the second half, not much changed in the gameplan for either team. The third quarter awarded the Vikings with their second field goal of the game. Pushing them up to a six point lead, on a completely shut out Seattle, going into the third quarter. This was swiftly followed by another field goal for the Vikings, in what appeared to be an “if it works, go with it” approach to the game. 9 points on the board. This game went from potentially being one of the most physical games of the season, to being one of the slowest. With neither team being able to break through a solid wall of defence, and more failed passes than you could shake a stick at, this game looked like locking out entirely on special plays. Then the fourth quarter happened. Seattle came back in the fourth quarter, and those long throws finally paid off. From what seemed to be a fumbled snap, Seattle managed to throw a deep ball into the Vikings half. This gave them enough momentum to then push on the drive for what would proceed to be the only Touchdown scored in the entire game. This took the Seahawks into within touching distance, and re-invigorated the game. The Seahawks came out hard, and drove for another field goal. Taking them ahead to 10-9. This is the sort of score I was expecting to see in the first quarter, and it took all game for Seattle to find the gap, but they finally put some points up on that board. In the dying seconds of the game, the Vikings pushed for one last drive. They got to within kicking distance, and went with what had worked all game. Kick the ball, get the 3 points, win the game. Some people will blame the snapper, some will blame the placer, some the kicker. Whichever way you cut it, no matter which direction the laces faced, the kick went wide. Just like that, the Vikings went out, and the Seahawks went through. With Minnesota losing at home, in what looked like it could have been a comfortable win, the field is opened up again for Seattle to take a shot at the Super Bowl. I am genuinely surprised that Seattle won the game, and the way that it played out showed exactly how unpredictable this game can be. With so many long passes going over heads, you’d expect the Hawks to step back to the running game, but the Vikings had that locked down. In the final quarter, that dogged determination to connect with your wide receivers paid off, and Seattle turned what looked to be a grinding loss into a kinetic win in the final quarter. They are very fortunate that Minnesota botched the final play, but without those ten points going on the board, that kick would have been irrelevant. The missed field goal didn’t win the game for the Seahawks, it lost the game for the Vikings. Minnesota fans shouldn’t be disappointed though. That was a game that showed exactly what they could do. It really showed off their defensive capabilities, in what has been a great season for their defence, and it highlighted that in the face of an engineered opposition defence, their offensive players could still gain yards on the field. Ultimately this was a showcase for the special team players, and really reinforced how every player on the 53 man roster is just as vital to the game as any other. The Seattle Seahawks will go on to face the Carolina Panthers next week. I originally picked the Panthers to beat the Vikings, so let’s see if they can get my predictions back on track, or if the Seahawks will continue to surprise me, as they push for their third consecutive Super Bowl shot.