The Seattle Seahawks are invincible. The Seattle Seahawks are unbeatable. The secondary is flawless. Russell Wilson hasn't thrown an incomplete pass, let alone an interception, all year. It's literally against the laws of physics to tackle Marshawn Lynch. They've been playing with everybody injured and are playing third-string players at every position, so you should be even more impressed.
That's the rhetoric these days, and who am I to argue? I am but a humble San Francisco 49ers fan who feels next to nothing when it comes to the Seahawks. I think Wilson is a swell guy, Lynch is a funny man, Pete Carroll is just a cool guy who wants everything to be cool, dude. Aside from the giant, walking pair of flapping gums that is Richard Sherman, I find myself not hating the Seahawks.
But it sure does feel good to get that win, doesn't it? When everyone is hyping up the Seahawks so much, it makes me want to hate them. I still don't, not like the hate I have for a team like the Dallas Cowboys or someone similar, but this game did have me fired up by kickoff. Which is weird, because as a defeatist, I expected the 49ers to lose this game.
They didn't. It wasn't pretty, and I'm going to charge headlong into the cliche of "ugly win." To beat a team like the Seahawks down the stretch it has to be ugly. There's no such thing as a clean win at this stage in the game. Players are hurt, coaches are at their wits' end, fans are nearing the tipping point of alcohol poisoning and the referees may literally be asleep for large portions of the game.
Defensively, the 49ers were sloppy. There were some questionable missed offsides calls, and the team frequently looked slow off the ball. Outside linebacker Aldon Smith had a particularly poor game, in my opinion. He was slow off the ball, and if he didn't get the initial rush down, he sort of petered out and didn't chase the play. Ahmad Brooks was decent for a time, but it was primarily Ray McDonald who played the best on defense.
In the secondary, Eric Wright had a pretty decent game. But the 49ers were playing way too loose with the Seattle receivers early, and after putting up three field goals, the team still trailed after allowing two easy touchdowns for the Seahawks. The offensive line struggled on every drive but the final drive, in my opinion.
Then there's the play-calling. Running Bruce Miller may have worked once, but it was a poor choice early on. It was also rather frustrating to see Vernon Davis stay in to block for so many plays. If you get Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham back, you play them all together (or at least Crabtree). You don't say "Oh, Crabtree is back, so we don't need Davis anymore."
The very nature of Davis is that he's a matchup nightmare when there are other threats on the field, like Crabtree and Anquan Boldin. I'm no coach, but these decisions puzzled me greatly. I've got some other bullet points below, just for unorganized thoughts.
- Refereeing was poor in this game, but on both sides. They missed a 49ers encroachment/offsides penalty, and watched Crabtree get his helmet ripped off. Still, it was good to see the Seattle secondary (Byron Maxwell, chiefly) get called for holding and pass interference, a rarity given its their bread and butter. If there's any team in the league that shouldn't have any right to complain about pass interference calls, it's the Seahawks.
- Ray McDonald's sack in the first half was beautiful. When I saw it live, I thought that HAD to be Aldon Smith or Ahmad Brooks. It was so fast. He looked like a blitzing safety when he pulverized Wilson.
- NaVorro Bowman made some grown-ass-man tackles in this game. He's becoming quite the big hitter, and they're always form-perfect. He and Lynch clashed big time, and Bowman won those battles more often than naught, which is nice.
- That Colin Kaepernick interception was brutal. It was so bad. Everybody knew that was getting picked off the moment he threw it. It had zero chance to be caught by anyone other than the defender. He simply can't throw that football.
- Kassim Osgreat
- Zero catches on four targets for Manningham is certainly not good. Crabtree also had two drops, though the first one was rather high. For some reason people seem to believe Crabtree can jump a lot higher than he actually can or should.
- Who the hell is Luke Willson? Screw that guy, man. What a jerk, catching those passes and what not.
- I thought Carlos Rogers had a pretty poor performance. I've been of the opinion that folks have been too hard on Rogers this season, but most of his eight tackles came on plays in which he allowed the reception and he really shouldn't have.