Already to my 13th segment of this series, and I have to tell you time has flown; not because I have had much fun writing the articles, but they have given me another outlet to use when determining my opinion on what the 49ers should do during the draft, and gosh willing, the off-season.
Today, I am going to focus on the 49ers week 14 game against the Seattle Seahawks, a re-match against a team that killed San Francisco opening week. I had the misfortune of missing most of this game live, however, I was able to watch it on DVR, and once again writing this article. I would have to say that it was far and away the most entertaining game San Francisco played all season. So onto the events....
This was an elimination game for our San Francisco 49ers, a Seattle win would send them packing for the winter. However, if the 49ers were to pull of a victory a division championship may be in the cards. Once again, the 49ers hopes would rest with a Smith, but this time it was Alex. Seattle, on the other hand, was going with the struggling Matt Hasselbeck over Charlie Whitehurst.
Seattle won the toss, but elected to refer; that was a good sign for the 49ers. The "boo birds" were out at full force as Alex Smith missed on his first two attempts, both bad thrown balls. However, on 3rd down, Smith hit Vernon Davison a short pass, the 49er tight end took the ball another 17 yards all the way to the 48. A couple plays later from the Seahawks42 Alex Smith once again went to Vernon Davis. Once again, Davis caught the pass playing a little center field, horrible secondary play by Seattle enabled him to move up field for a TD; the play was aided by a nice Michael Crabtreeblock downfield. (7-0 San Francisco)
Leon Washington returned the Jeff Reedkick-off to just inside their own 40, good starting position for Seattle. And, they went right to work. Hasselbeck hit Marshawn Lynchfor 5 and Golden Tate for 9 to combine for their initial 1st down of the game. However, San Francisco's defense would stand up near mid-field and force a Seattle punt. San Francisco ended up going three and out on their 2nd possession.
Seattle started their secondpossession with good field position at their own 48, and would take advantage. Matt Hasselbeck would pick on Dashon Goldson during this drive on passes of 15 yards to Chris Baker and 12 yards to Brandon Stokley, Goldson was playing to soft of coverage as was the entire 49er secondary. A couple plays later Hasselbeck would hit Ruvell Martin for an 11 yard TD to tie the game (7-7 Tie)
San Francisco started the next possession at their 27 after a decent return by Ted Ginn. On 3rd and 7, Smith hit on a slant up the middle for 21 yards to move the chains. On the very next play Anthony Dixon showed some great field vision switching moves to the inside andgaining 34 yards, Alex Smith endured himself to the fan base by running down field and attempting a block to free Dixon. Eventually the 49ers would be forced into a FG attempt by Jeff Reed. He would hit it from 33 yards out, but not without drama. Aaron Curry partially blocked the kick, but it went through the uprights anyway (10-7 San Francisco, End of 1st Quarter)
The 49ers defense would step up big time on Seattle's next possession. After forcing Seattle into a passing situation on 3rd down, Hasselbeck would have time to find an open receiver, but the coverage was good. His attempt would go through the hands of former 49er Michael Robinson, off of the hands of Manny Lawson and right into the gut of Takeo Spikes; San Francisco forced an important turnover. Starting from Seattle's 44, the 49ers couldn't take full advantage and Jeff Reed would connect on a 44 yard FG to increase the lead. (13-7 San Francisco)
Just a couple plays later turnovers would once again be a factor. Travis LaBoy would beat rookie, Russell Okung, off the edge and get to Matt Hasselbeck forcing a fumble, LaBoywould recover at Seattle's 17. A couple plays later, on 3rd down, Alex Smith connected with Josh Morgan for a 15 yard TD pass. (20-7 San Francisco)
Seattle got a nice little drive going on their next possession with Hasselbeck completing three consecutive passes and Marshawn Lynch mixing a couple nice runs in. After an offensive holding on Cameron Morrah, Seattle had a 3rd and 4, Justin Forsett took the ball up the middle but was met immediately by Takeo Spikes, who stopped him short of the 1st down. Instead of kicking a FG, Seattle decided to go for it. On 4th down, Hasselbeck has time to pass, but his pass to Ruvell Marting was broken up by Shawntae Spencer forcing a turnover on downs.
Just three plays later Alex Smith hit Brian Westbrook on a short slant pattern up the middle. Josh Morgan throwing great blocks down the field sprang Westbrook, who took it 62 yards on 3rd down for a TD. San Francisco had blown the game wide open (27-7 San Francisco)
Seattle got the ball with 1:50 remaining in the half and in desperate need of some points. On 1st down, Deion Butler was called for an offensive pass interference penalty, setting the Seahawks back further. Two plays later Reggie Smith intercepted a Matt Hasselbeck pass and returned it 20 yards down to the Seahawks 11. Smithhit Westbrook on two consecutive completions, but with time running out the 49ers would have to attempt a short FG. Jeff Reed would hit it from 22 yards out as time expired in the 1st half. (30-7 San Francisco, End of 1st Half)
There was plenty of garbage time in the 2nd half, but this time with the 49ers in full control. On the second play of the half, Dashon Goldson stepped in front of another Matt Hasselback pass, this time intercepting the pass and returning it 39 yards for a TD. Before fans could even get settled the 49ers had put up a whopping 30 point lead on the Seattle Seahawks (37-7 San Francisco)
The Seahawks had something nice going on their next drive going 61 yards down inside the 49ers 10. However, in what would be a continuing theme in the game, Hasselbeck was once again picked; this time in the end zone by Nate Clements. At this point the 49ers were content sitting on a 30 point lead, and handed the ball off three consecutive times to Brian Westbrook, who did not acquire a first down. After the Seahawks went three and out, the 49ers set up shop at their own 31. A couple more short runs by Brian Westbrook forced the 49ersinto another 3rd down opportunity. Alex Smithconnected with Josh Morgan for 46 yards and another first down. San Francisco had to eventually settle for a FG (40-7 San Francisco)
Leon Washington returned the ensuing Jeff Reed kickoff 92 yards for a TD (40-14 San Francisco, End of 3rd Quarter)
The 4th quarter was all garbage time as San Francisco was up by four TDs. Seattle found a way to close the gap and make the score somwhatmore respectable. With 1:55 left in the game Matt Hasselbeck hit Deon Butler from two yards out (40-21 San Francisco, End of Regulation)
Post Game Quotes From Niners Community
Well, I can't imagine anybody expected that result. While I did think the 49ers could beat the Seahawks today, I did not see a 40-21 beat down quite like this (Fooch, 12/12/10)
hate to be the buzz kill Hasselbeck was terrible. I saw a team handthe game away more than a team take victory. I know good defense creates turnovers and mental mistake. Yet I am pessimistic. If this is the way defense is going to play for the rest of the year then I am excited, (Mcwagner, 12/12/10)
being an Alex supporter at this point... feels like being an athletic supporter. Even when you're doing your job, and he's doing his job, you feel highly undignified (Grantmp, 12/12/10)
On the first two passes being incomplete and whether he heard the boos:
"Oh, no question. I was expecting, home game, knew if some things got bad, obviously, that I was going to be prepared for that mentally. Didn't totally think it was going to happen on the first two plays. A screen. I could have completed it. It would have been a loss of four. And then, throw a little out route to [TE] Vernon [Davis]. Kind of off his hands. Good coverage." (Alex Smith, 12/12/10)
On how well Alex played:
"I think Alex did a great job. You know Alex comes out every weekend and just does a tremendous job handling everything. He's always under pressure, he's always under the microscope and he just manages to come through and I thank God for having a guy like him on the team. You know he'll fight through adversity any day." (Vernon Davis, 12/12/10)
Well this was a nice change for a frustrating season, especially to take it out on the Seahawks. I had asked a friend to text me every time someone score, and could not believe how many texts I received, mostly about 49er score. See, I wasn't able to watch the game live, and was taping it at home. However, as a 49er fan that hasn't missed a game since well nearly forever, I couldn't wait until I got home to see what happened. Needless to say, my day went great. I was especially looking forward to coming home andwatching it. Most of the time that I had to re-watch game in order to do these articles, I found myself frustrated all over again, not this time. Our 49ers played one heck of a game; obviously with some help from the Hawks.
What isn't good about a white washing like this? The 49ers racked up 336 total yards, but only 10 first downs. This means that there were big plays all over the place. Accordingly, Alex Smith averaged 15 yards a completion, by far his best this season. Obviously being +5 on the turnover battle doesn't hurt either. The 49ers were 7/17 on 3rd down conversions, and only committed two penalties all game long. I have to say, it was a pretty well coached game as well, but when your up by 33 points in the second half its hard to imagine critiquing the coaching.
Not too much of this. Maybe I will sound a little preachy here, but I wanted to see the 49ers put up 50 and blow the Hawks out by 40. However, it isn't in good taste to run up the score on your opponent. Seattle did have twice as many first downs as the 49ers had, but if you watched the game you know that is not indicative of how things went. Additionally, I didn't like that the 49ers had to settle for three Jeff Reed FG attempts, that came back to haunt us against St. Louis a couple weeks later.
I have to start with the defense. Dashon Goldson looked good on coverage all day long, andcame up with a huge INT return for a TD in the 2nd half; this is the Goldson I remember from the 2009 season. Takeo Spikes played like a monster in this game. He was an absolute beast, all over the field. I also loved the way the likes of Travis LaBoy and Manny Lawson took advantage of the inexperienced Russll Okung on the pass rush. Offensively, there are standout performances too. Alex Smith had a QB rating of 130 and threw for 3 TDs, not too shabby. He had a lot of help from Brian Westbrook, Josh Morgan and Vernon Davis as well. They combined for over 134 yards after the catch, and had longs of 62, 46, and 42 respectively. Brian Westbrook had 110 total yards.
Game Changing Play(S)
With San Francisco up 20-7 and Seattle driving towards the end of the 1st half, it was the defense that made a huge play. Shawntae Spencer jumped in from of a Matt Hasselbeck 4th down pass, andbroke it up; preserving the two score lead. Just 30 seconds later Alex Smith hit Brian Westbrook who ran 62 yards for a TD. Those two plays may have resulted in a 14 point swing.
This win may have given the 49ers a false sense of bravado going into their match upwith the San Diego Chargers just four days later. But, for day, in one game; our 49ers played great. For a team that went 6-10, there are few opportunities to look back with a smile, this was one of them
Alex Smith: 17/27- 255 Yards- 3 TD- 0 INT- 2 Sacks (130.9 Rating)
Anthony Dixon: 14 Rushes- 60 Yards- 4.3 AVG
Brian Westbrook: 9 Rushes- 23 Yards- 2.6 AVG- 6 Receptions- 87 Yards- TD
Josh Morgan: 3 Receptions- 82 Yards- TD
Vernon Davis: 5 Receptions- 70 Yards- TD
Matt Hasselbeck: 27/42- 285 Yards- 2 TD- 4 INT- 1 Sack (60.2 Rating)
Michael Robinson: 3 Rushes- 32 Yards- 11.0 AVG- 1 Fumble
Marshawn Lynch: 10 Rushes- 29 Yards- 2.9 AVG
Ruvell Martin: 4 Receptions- 73 Yards- TD
Deon Butler: 5 Receptions- 68 Yards- TD
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||2-4||1-4|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||1||1|