I don't mean to dredge up bad memories, but I felt moved enough to write this because I believe it's important that we remember the context under which that game was played, and how it relates to this sunday's game. In most of what I've read and listened to related to this game - people seem to forget what was happening at that time - for both the 49ers and the Seahawks, and from both 49er and Seahawk fans. Though I am an unapologetic 49ers fan, I aim to write this with as much objectivity as possible. I believe the Seahawks present to the 49ers their biggest challenge to both winning the Division, and the Conference. So . . .
Let me take you back to December 23 of last year.
Going into the game, the Seahawks were 9-5, in second place in the NFC West, and with a win would clinch a playoff spot. They were also coming off of two impressive wins: 58 - 0 at home over Arizona, and 50 - 17 at Buffalo. I think it is fair to say, the Seahawks were hot coming into that game, and they had a lot to play for.
The 49ers were 10- 3- 1 going into that game. They had just come off a nice win at New England, wherein they played a great first half, and nearly caved in the second half. Justin Smith, widely considered the defensive mvp for the 49ers, left that game with an injured elbow. They had clinched a playoff spot, though still had a division title and a playoff bye to play for. Justin Smith then did not play against the Seahawks, the first game he hadn't played after 185 consecutive starts. The 49ers also had a lot to play for, but knowing they had the Cardinals at home the following week - they could still clinch the division with a win the following week.
The Seahawks then were dominant from the jump, and leading 28 - 6 at halftime. The Seahawks looked as though they were going to put up a 3rd straight 50 point score - except this time on a top defense, not a last place Bills or Cardinals team. The combination of noise (understatement), how hot the Seahawks were and what they were playing for, and the absence of Justin Smith - in my opinion, created a perfect storm of reasons why they blew out the 49ers. Note - it wasn't just that the 49ers missed J. Smith's playing ability, it was that the defense played without him for the first time since he had been a 49er.
However - I believe it is irresponsible to simply believe that because this did happen, that it will happen again. It could, but here is why I don't think it will. Neither team is playing for the same stakes as last year, and both teams are just 1 - 0 (where win or lose, both teams still will have opportunities to change the fate of their seasons); neither team is on a torrid hot streak - ala Seattle last year (in fact Seattle down-right escaped with a win last week); both teams seemed to struggle with the running game last week; and in contrast to last December - the 49ers D-Line is healthy, and the Seahawks O-Line is not.
Yes, Seattle won last December 42 - 13, but please, just because it did happen, doesn't mean it is bound to happen again. (and please FG trolls, it was still only a regular season game; had to take at least one shot). Any "expert" that says differently is simply lazy, and any fan that says so is a homer. I'm also not saying the 49ers will obviously win - because it's not obvious. The Seahawks have the best home-field in the entire league, and they are a very good team.
Having said all that - I look forward to a good, hopefully clean, game, where - of course - the 49ers come out on top.