When it comes to playing football games in Seattle, the Seahawks fans are like unwanted party guests for visiting teams. The fans are loud, they're obnoxious and the opposition wishes they would just sit down and be quiet. Coming out of halftime tied 10-10, the Seattle fans – known locally as the "Official 12th Man" of football – were in full throat. It was the process of shutting them up that caused the Turning Point of the Game in the Vikings' 31-13 win.
In one of the most dominating quarters in recent history, the Vikings controlled the Seahawks offensively and defensively to take control of the game. It began with the Seahawks having the ball to start the half and their fans fully behind them. On the first drive of the half, the Seahawks went three-and-out and took exactly one minute off the game clock. On the final play of that abbreviated drive, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was rolled up by E.J. Henderson, who was blocked into Hasselbeck by fullback Mack Strong. The fans were ominously silent at that point as all eyes turned to the sidelines to see the condition of their franchise quarterback.
But there was still a game going on out on the field and the Vikings took advantage of the silence to take care of business on offense. The team drove 68 yards on nine plays, culminating with a gadget play – a 15-yard halfback pass from Mewelde Moore to Jermaine Wiggins for a touchdowns that gave the Vikings a 17-10 lead.
With backup QB Seneca Wallace under center, the Vikings defense came at him like a pack of angry dogs, forcing an incompletion on his first pass and an interception by Cedric Griffin on the next play to give the Vikings the ball on the Seattle 33-yard line – a drive that end in just 53 seconds. While the Vikings didn't take advantage of the turnover – Ryan Longwell pushed a 46-yard field goal attempt wide right – momentum remained firmly with the Vikings.
Not to be outdone, the Vikings defense pulled the trick again, forcing Wallace off the field on another three-and-out series – this time in just 46 seconds. Pinned on their own 5-yard line, Chester Taylor bounced a run outside, found a running seam in the defense and was off to the races for 95-yard touchdown to give the Vikings a 24-10 lead.
Few teams have been able to silence the boisterous 12th Man crowd of the Seahawks, and it has been just a little short of two years since the home fans have gone home quiet in a regular-season game (the last home loss in the regular season being Dec. 16, 2004 vs. Dallas). But, thanks to the Vikings defense forcing Seattle into three drives of one minute or less and some big offensive plays, the Vikings were able to do what few team have done since Seattle opened its new stadium – make their fans pipe down and, in the process, create the Turning Point of the Game.
Turning Point: Stifling Third Quarter
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