The entire NFL has learned a valuable lesson from this here game, and that is this: the Seahawks are for real. I’ll be the first one to admit that I did not see Seattle kicking down the door in this game and rolling the Niners in the fashion that they did. I thoroughly believed that the 49ers were the better team going into this game. However, the Seahawks showed me something in the trenches and outside the hashes that was really impressive. As far as the numbers go, besides the final score nothing that Seattle did is going to blow anybody’s mind. Russell Wilson completed only eight of his nineteen passes for 142 yards with a touchdown and a pick. Additionally, the ‘Hawks only gained 290 yards of total offense. That said, I thought this offense was pretty impressive and here is why: Russell Okung left the game early with an ankle injury, so Paul McQuistan filled in for him at left tackle. He did a serviceable job blocking Aldon Smith on the edge and he was able to use a nice kick set to open up lanes for Russell Wilson to see through or Marshawn Lynch to run through. Besides McQuistan’s admirable effort, the rest of the Seattle O-Line looked solid (although center Max Unger did have a tough night in the middle what with penalty problems and getting bull rushed on the inside). Anyways, the line was able to plow the way for Lynch to run for 98 yards on 28 carries with a touchdown. On the defensive side of the ball, Seattle had a game. Richard Sherman proved why he is one of the top corners in the league by completely shutting down Anquan Boldin on the outside. Michael Bennett was a beast at defensive tackle. He was shedding double teams and reeking havoc in the backfield. Frank Gore had nowhere to run with the ball and Colin Kaepernick did not have loads of time to pass the ball like he did last week against Green Bay. Kaepernick actually produced more total yards than his team had in the game due to loss of yardage on sacks (214 total yards compared to the team’s 209 total offensive yards). Kap threw three interceptions and did not look very calm in the pocket.
The game was delayed for about an hour because of a lightning storm, but this did not slow the Seattle defense. Prior to the delay, they intercepted Kaepernick in the red zone, and then after they were able to jump on the board early with a safety. While the Seahawks were not overly impressive on offense throughout the game, their defense was able to win the battle of field position. It is also worth mentioning that San Fran was flagged 12 times for 121 yards. Many of these penalties came when Seattle was in third and long situations. A lot of their drives were extended due to the undisciplined play of the 49ers on defense. One glaring mistake was the unnecessary roughness penalty that Aldon Smith was called for on a 3rd and 28. San Francisco was about to get off the field holding the score at 12-3, but instead that penalty extended the drive and eventually lead to a 7 yard receiving touchdown by Marshawn Lynch. At that point, this game was pretty much over.
The reason Seattle won this game was because they forced the 49ers into a lot of mistakes. San Francisco did not look like the team we are accustomed to seeing this week, and a lot of it has to do with the noisy environment that was created by the “12th Man” at Century Link Field. By the way, hats off to the Seahawks fans. They brought the intensity early in the game and were able to maintain it throughout, despite a one hour delay due to inclement weather. Overall, this is a most satisfying win for the home team and they get to stay home and take on Jacksonville next week. Meanwhile, the 49ers head home to play the Colts as they look to rebound from this ugly loss. The main thing that I take away from this game is that the ‘Hawks are dominant at home. Even a fundamentally sound team like San Fran looked bad traveling up to the Pacific Northwest. It is going to be nearly impossible to defeat Seattle in front of their loyal fans.