MINNEAPOLIS - Two players on Seattle's roster have waited extra-long for what went down on Sunday afternoon at University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium.
The Seahawks' 10-9 wild-card win over the Vikings represented the first playoff game, and more importantly, first postseason victory, for defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin and running back Fred Jackson, veterans who the Seahawks acquired in free agency this past offseason.
"It was a very big day, great feeling," said Rubin. "[Head coach] Pete [Carroll] prepared us all week, all year basically, just take every game like a playoff game. We know we're going to get a team's best effort and today wasn't any different.
"We went out, we were focused, and made some plays and came home with a win. It feels great."
Rubin, who played the past seven seasons with the Cleveland Browns, recorded six tackles against the Vikings, including one for loss, part of a Seahawks defensive stand that held NFL leading rusher Adrian Peterson to 45 yards on 23 carries (2.0-yard average). His recovery of a Peterson fumble in the fourth quarter on a ball that strong safety Kam Chancellor forced loose proved pivotal in tilting the game in Seattle's favor. The Seahawks tallied three points off that turnover on the foot of kicker Steven Hauschka, whose 46-yard field goal boot put Seattle up for good.
"Big Rube, this is his first playoff game, and for him to be the guy who recovers it - you know, phenomenal play by Kam and great effort and great everything, but to have a D-lineman about 10-15 yards downfield recovering a fumble, and he was the only guy," Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said of the 325-pound Rubin's late-game effort. "There were receivers in the area, there were other people in the area, and his hustle got there and he deserves a lot of credit and respect for that."
Rubin referred to his clutch recovery as "the norm," the end result of what has been a highly-consistent showing all season from the eight-year veteran.
"I just run to the ball, try to do my best to hustle, and good things happen when you hustle," Rubin said. "So it was a good feeling to get a playoff fumble recovery."
On the other side of the football was Jackson, the nine-year Buffalo Bill who signed in Seattle just before the start of the regular season. Jackson has said he inked his deal in the Pacific Northwest with the hope that playoff results would come, and on Sunday in Minnesota, his entire family was there to be a part of it.
In the stands at the home of the Vikings was Jackson's wife, Danielle, their nine-year-old son, Braeden, and their three daughters, Kaelen, 7, Jaeden, 5, and Maecen, 2. Braeden brandished a sign during the game that read, "I've waited my whole life 4 this," a reference to his father's playoff-free run that had finally come to an end.
"That makes it even sweeter," said Jackson, who had one rush for two yards and made two catches for 19 yards at Minnesota. "It's been a long time. This is the first time I've been a part of the playoffs and for it to come down to the last second and we escape with a victory like we did, it's something that just makes it that much sweeter."
The Seahawks hit the road and traveled to Minnesota for the second time this season for the NFC Wild Card Playoff matchup at TCF Bank Stadium and escape with a 10-9 victory to advance to next Sunday's NFC Divisional round.