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The Seattle Seahawks win over the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday was by no means perfect, but it went well enough to satiate most Seahawks fans. The Seahawks won by dominating defensively and being a run-first offense. In other words, Seattle won by playing Seahawks-style football.
One thing we should admit here, though, is that these are not the 49ers of the last few years. Their offensive line appeared worse than Seattle’s, and that it saying quite a bit. The raw numbers spell this out:
- Seattle held the ball for 38:05 to the 49ers’ 21:55
- Seattle had 388 total yards to the 49ers’ 142
- Seattle had 21 first downs, San Francisco 8
- Seattle even had more sacks than the 49ers, 6-5
- San Francisco was 1-11 on third down
- The 49ers punted on nine of 11 drives and averaged 3.2 yards-per-play
It’s always good to beat a division rival, especially the 49ers. If these were Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers, this win would have been one to celebrate for a few days. San Francisco is simply a team that has lost too many key players to be successful. They are not very good. They have a quarterback in Colin Kaepernick that needs a good offensive line to be productive. He is too inaccurate of a passer to try to play quickly, and his flaws are exposed with the current roster makeup of the team. Without a doubt the 49ers team Seattle played on Thursday is the second-worst squad Seattle has played this season after the Chicago Bears.
Still, a win of any kind at this point in 2015 for Seattle is welcome. As Richard Sherman rightfully pointed out post-game, “We could be 5-1.” But the Seahawks are not. They must maintain focus in every game the rest of the year in attempt to make the playoffs.
But there were some awfully grand moments in last night’s game. The 43-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Russell Wilson to rookie receiver Tyler Lockett was a beautiful thing. Michael Bennett destroyed the 49ers with 3.5 sacks, while line-mate Cliff Avril had 1.5 more. Marshawn Lynch ran 27 times for 122 yards and a touchdown. Corner Richard Sherman completely shutdown 49ers receiver Torrey Smith – Smith had no catches. Kicker Steven Hauschka continued his perfect season by kicking two more field goals and is now successful on all 16 of his attempts this year.
Lockett is simply a gem. Wilson connected with him the five times he was targeted for 79 yards. Lockett also is just the second rookie since 2000 to have a touchdown via a kick return, a punt return and receiving. He seemingly becomes more involved in the game plan every week and could be the best wide out the Seahawks have by the end of the year.
Lynch threw up on the sidelines during the first quarter. To Seahawks fans, this is nothing new. To the rest of the nation, maybe Lynch vomiting before or during a game is shocking. Seattle fans know better. In fact, he does this so often it is almost surprising when he does not throw up.
Wilson had good numbers as he was 18-24 for 235 yards and a touchdown. The two interceptions he threw, however, were not so good. They were actually bad decisions. The Seahawks were already in field goal range near the end of the first half when Wilson hit wide-open 49er Tramaine Brock in the end zone. He was attempting to get the ball to receiver Doug Baldwin, but San Francisco was in zone coverage and Wilson should have not forced the throw. His second interception was on a 60-yard heave towards receiver Jermaine Kearse. Kearse, though, was covered by two defensive backs and the ball was caught by one of them, Kenneth Acker. The go-route has been a staple of what the Seahawks have done for the last several years and they are pretty good at it. Sometimes, however, just because a long-pass is called for does not mean it should be thrown. Actually, Wilson had plenty of time to pass on this particular play, so maybe he was simply confused by not having an on-coming rusher in his face and did not know what to do.
Overall, though, the Seahawks played well enough to beat most teams. The defense dominated by playing their base scheme. Gone were the blitzes and elaborate coverages. Defensive coordinator Kris Richard finally allowed his players to make plays instead of them questioning what the call was. This is how Seattle has been successful for the last three years, and this is how they will get back to the playoffs this season.
Next up for Seattle is Dallas on the road; a winnable game. After that, five of the next seven are at home. The Seahawks are still in the playoff hunt; they just need more games like Thursday.