The San Francisco 49ers have beaten the Seattle Seahawks for the first time since winning at Candlestick Park on December 8th, 2013. The Levi’s Stadium atmosphere on Sunday was electric, with both 49ers and Seahawks fans making their presence known for what was easily San Francisco’s most thrilling win of the season. Kyle Shanahan’s team, now 4-10, played spoiler (for now) in their 26-23 win over the playoff hopeful Seahawks, who with a win on Sunday would have clinched a playoff berth.
Here’s five takeaways from the 49ers’ overtime victory:
49ers rally for each other
The locker room erupted with excitement the moment Richard Sherman walked in the door after the 49ers’ defeat of his former team. The cheering could be heard behind closed doors from down the hall. It was a captivating moment that highlighted just how much this win meant to the players and staff within a building that had lost ten consecutive matchups to the Seahawks. The effort, excitement and execution on the field was obvious on both sides of the ball for the 49ers, putting together their most impressive win of an otherwise lost season.
Nick Mullens impressive yet again
Two weeks ago, Mullens threw for 414 yards against the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. While the majority of his production in Week 13 was in the second half with the game out of reach, Mullens’ performance Sunday was far more balanced. The former third-stringer completed 20 of 29 passes for 275 yards, one touchdown, no turnovers and a quarterback rating of 110.6 against the Seahawks. Mullens left a handful of throws on the field, including two deep shots to tight end George Kittle in the first half, but it was another strong outing for the 49ers’ quarterback in his sixth start.
DeForest Buckner hits double digits
Buckner shows up against Seattle. His two sacks on Sunday make 11 on the season, eclipsing the double-digit sack mark for the first time in Buckner’s three-year career. His two-game stat line against the Seahawks this season consists of 18 total tackles, six tackles for loss, five quarterback hits and four sacks. Buckner is eligible for a contract extension after the season. It’s safe to assume the 49ers are eager to begin those talks.
Robert Saleh harnesses the defense
Saleh managed to make the best of a 49ers defense ravaged by injuries and circumstance against the Seahawks. The 49ers’ coordinator, formally of the Seahawks, deployed a young and inexperienced group including linebacker Fred Warner, defensive back D.J. Reed Jr., safety Marcell Harris and cornerback Tarvarius Moore — all rookies. Linebacker Elijah Lee, defensive lineman D.J. Jones and safety Antone Exum also played significant roles with limited starting experience. It was the unit’s most impressive performance of the season against a Seahawks offense that hit them with 37 points just two weeks prior.
Draft position takes a tumble
With just three wins and three games left, the 49ers’ fanbase was well aware of the implications behind San Francisco’s remaining games and the impact on positioning in the 2019 NFL Draft. The 49ers owned the No. 1 pick heading into their Week 15 matchup followed closely by the Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders. The 49ers’ win over the Seahawks moved them down three spots behind not only the Cardinals and Raiders, who both lost Sunday, but the New York Jets as well, who also sit at 4-10 but hold a weaker strength of schedule, per Tankathon. It’s an unfortunate byproduct of an otherwise positive day for the 49ers.