White-knuckle wins normal for Seahawks with Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Seahawks' latest last-minute victory came down to three fourth-down plays over the final two minutes. They stopped the Minnesota Vikings for no gain on fourth-and-1 to set the stage for another game-winning drive by Russell Wilson.

The quarterback kept it alive by converting a fourth-and-10 to DK Metcalf, then capped it off on their final play Sunday night by hitting Metcalf in the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 6.

It was just the way Pete Carroll likes it.

The Seahawks coach has joked he might be "sick" for preferring games that come down to the wire, even if most fans endure those stressful finishes more than they enjoy them.

"Because it is so much freakin' fun," he said after the Seahawks beat Minnesota 27-26 to improve to 5-0 for the first time in franchise history. "But, it's way more than that."

Carroll also likes how those types of wins make memories and build character.

"Another thing is that the experience that these guys have, it just fortifies why they believe," he said. "It just adds on, adds on, adds on to why they should keep hanging and fighting tough and outlasting people that we’re playing. Because when you finish, you have to outlast the other guys. That's what our guys understand, and they know it, and they're developing a discipline based on the experience and the confidence that they're getting, because that's all we've been doing for five weeks now."

Longer than that, actually.

Ten of the Seahawks' 11 regular-season wins last season came by eight points or fewer, which tied the NFL record for most one-score victories. Of their five wins this season, only their opener against Atlanta was decided by more than eight points. They needed a goal-line stand to beat New England in Week 2, then needed an interception of Dak Prescott's final attempt in the end zone to hang on against Dallas in Week 3.

The Seahawks are 14-2 in one-score games since the start of last season. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, no other team has more than 10 wins in such games over that span.

No wonder the conversation on the sideline between Wilson and fellow captain Bobby Wagner during a second-half PAT sounded like this:

"Bobby and I just kept talking, 'We've been here before. We've been here,'" Wilson said. "We're calm and neutral in the moment. Our mind is not too high, not too low. We're just neutral and just talking about, 'We've been here before, we've been here before, we know what's going to happen.' Sure enough, it worked in our favor."

Wilson practices neutral thinking and neutral behavior, a concept developed by his mental conditioning coach, Trevor Moawad. The idea is to approach adverse situations without being overly positive or negative.

Wilson and Moawad will tell you it's no coincidence the quarterback is at his best in those moments. Including playoffs, Wilson has now led 34 career game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime since entering the league in 2012, the most of any player in that span.

The one he pulled off Sunday night was not only the longest of his career but the third longest of any go-ahead touchdown drive that began in the final two minutes of a game over the past 40 seasons. According to Elias Sports Bureau research, the only two that were longer were led by Jameis Winston in 2017 (95 yards) and Brian Griese in 2007 (97 yards).

Having that far to go wasn't the only thing working against Wilson and the Seahawks on Sunday night. They had only one timeout, were playing in the rain and facing a Vikings defense that had held them to only 220 yards prior to the drive.

Wilson now has six go-ahead touchdown passes in the final minute of regulation, also the most in the NFL since 2012.

"I believe this is one of the top three or four most impressive things I've seen this team do," linebacker K.J. Wright said. "And I knew that once we made that fourth-down stop, I was like, 'We're about to win.' You guys should see the confidence that we have on the sideline. Everyone was just so positive and optimistic and we knew, even when it was fourth-and-10, it was like, 'We're going to find a way.'

"We just have to believe as a team, if we have Russell at quarterback, anything is possible. His Hall of Fame career, he just keeps adding to it. I love him as a teammate, I love him as a man and it's just special that he keeps doing that."

As leaky as Seattle's defense has been -- the 2,356 total yards it has allowed are the most by a team through five games since 1950, per Elias data -- it's hard to imagine Sunday night will be the last time this season the Seahawks need Wilson's late magic to save them.

"Anytime we're in that moment, it's easy for us to just go out there and play our football because we know we've got a quarterback that can make anything possible," Metcalf said. "Anything can happen. He can deliver when the game is on the line."