EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings got an impressive fill-in effort from Alexander Mattison that they expected, more quick and consistent play from Kirk Cousins and kept Russell Wilson from pulling rabbits out of hats — he can't if he's not on the field in the second half, right? — Sunday in a 30-17 win at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Here's a deeper dive at some "next-day stats" with an eye on the ever-increasing number of Next Gen Stats. References to rankings across the league include all games except for tonight's game between the Eagles and Cowboys.
1. Loaded box
Mattison matched his career high with 112 rushing yards, equaling the total he had at Seattle in Week 5 of the 2020 season.
The performance earned him a nomination for the FedEx Ground Player of the Week award. Fan voting is open at NFL.com/FedEx until 2 p.m. (CT) Wednesday.
According to Next Gen Stats, Mattison faced eight or more Seahawks defenders in the box a whopping 57.69 percent of the time, the third-highest rate for any running back in the NFL in Week 3.
Mattison and the Vikings also took advantage of Seattle's approach with screen passes on his way to totaling six catches for 59 yards and a career-high 171 yards from scrimmage.
Minnesota's approach to Mattison's counterpart, you ask?
Seahawks RB Chris Carson faced eight or more Vikings defenders in the box on just 8.33 percent of the time, which ranked 22nd among qualifiers.
Both backs recorded a "remarkable rush," based on what they gained in contrast to what was expected.
Carson's 30-yard touchdown run was expected to gain 8 yards. The plus-22 tied for the second-longest in the NFL.
Mattison's 24-yard run to start a 12-play, 88-yard drive in the fourth quarter was only expected to gain 3. The plus-21 yards tied for fourth.
2. Quicker Cousins
Cousins has started the 2021 season faster than a year ago in more ways than one.
There's the figurative nature of averaging 306.0 passing yards with eight touchdowns, no turnovers and a passer rating of 118.3. Last season, through three games, his numbers were 207.7 yards per game with five touchdowns, six interceptions and a passer rating of 73.8.
There's also the literal nature when looking at his average time to throw, which was calculated at 2.61 seconds on Sunday. It was 2.59 in Week 1 and 2.53 in Week 2.
Last season Cousins' average time to throw was 2.91, 3.23 and 2.86 in the first three weeks.
Cousins didn't attempt a pass more than 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage against Seattle, but he feasted on all other depths. He was 7-for-9 with 133 yards and a score on passes 10-20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage and 16-for-20 with 135 yards and two touchdowns on passes between the line of scrimmage and 10 yards beyond it. The Vikings completed seven of nine passes behind the line of scrimmage for an additional 55 yards.
Cousins completed 78.9 percent of his passes against the Seahawks, which was 5.6 percentage points higher than an already lofted expected rate of 73.3.
3. Only one deep shot and no magic for Wilson
The Vikings defense found its footing from the second quarter on and didn't allow a point in the final 41 minutes of the game.
Minnesota knew the importance of taking away the deep ball and did so, with Wilson going just 1-for-4 with 21 yards on passes that were 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
Similarly to Cousins, Wilson did well on short and intermediate throws, going 22-for-24 with 277 yards and one score, but the Vikings limited the big-play damage that Seattle had done to open the season.
The offense deserves a tip of the cap for sustaining long drives, particularly in the second half. Two of Minnesota's possessions after halftime accounted for 15:34 time of possession and resulted in a pair of field goals.
Wilson also didn't shake free and escape for a long run like he had in years past.