Just as Breakin' 2 declared in 1984: "Sequels are all about raising the stakes!"
Well, the ongoing saga known as "49ers vs Seahawks" or "Carroll vs Harbaugh" or even internet battles starring "Hawk_Loogies65" vs "CarnivalKid82" stretches back further than just a sequel but you could say that Week 2 in Seattle is the followup to the year in which the NFC West might have become the best division in football. Seeds of a rivalry have been planted since Carroll and Harbaugh were both hired to their respective positions, but none of it really mattered until both teams are good.
That started in 2012, so technically this is the follow-up to that. Let's hope that it provides more entertainment than the Hangover franchise. (Rousing applause and laughter blah blah blah)
Both teams have made positive additions and also received some negative news over the offseason. Jockeying for position has already been in development since the conclusion of the Super Bowl and it's difficult to know for sure which team has come out ahead, but likely both are going to win 10+ games and make the playoffs with championship aspirations. The most jockeyey of that jockeying yet will take place on Sunday night, September 15th on NBC in Seattle on national television. Michael Crabtree won't be participating. Neither will Bruce Irvin. Neither will Faith Hill, thank God. But you and I likely will be there, and here are 5 reasons why the Seahawks maintain their perfect season on September 15th in front of millions of people:
1. Now Crab your trees everybody, and everybody Crab your trees
There turned out to be at least two schools of thought on how to react, as a Seahawks fan, to the news that your rivals number one receiver would likely miss at least half of the season due to a bad injury:
- That's too bad, gotta feel bad for Crabtree!
- Yeah, f*ck that guy! Haha!
I guess I'd fall somewhere along the spectrum of thinking "That sucks for him, doesn't suck for us" because I didn't wish him any harm but I am also not using up all my The Secret visions to hope that he gets better by Week 2. The truth is that he won't be there, it was always out of my control, and injuries are a part of the game. Injuries took Chris Clemons away from us at the most inopportune time and will likely keep Clemons out for this game, too.
San Francisco got a major upgrade when they went from Mario Manningham/Randy Moss/Kyle Williams to Anquan Boldin but the addition of Boldin hardly offsets the imbalance of losing Crabtree -- They were already with Boldin, they still need to replace the guy that had 85 catches for 1,105 yards. Boldin doesn't replace that and he was not that guy for the Ravens, so the 49ers still need to find a guy that could play that part for at least half-the-season and then also shouldn't expect Crabtree to come back and be the same player right away.
Quinton Patton is a rookie that was drafted 128th overall.
A.J. Jenkins couldn't get onto the field last year despite Manningham/Moss/Williams being the competition.
Hell, I will even root for Ricardo Lockette right alongside the 49ers fans and it still won't change the fact that he's only made 2 catches in his career.
Crabtree was one of the few receivers that I specifically remember Richard Sherman had trouble with at times. It will matter less if the 49ers are able to run the ball as easily as they were able to do so in Week 7 of last year, but if they get bad efforts out of potential Crabtree-replacements then it could look a lot more like the Week 16 result.
2. Now what you hear is not a test, I'm game-mappin' to the beat. What if Wilson, Lynch, and Michael run circles around Dorsey?
These games should be more difficult than The Eliminator on American Gladiators (psych haha nothing is harder than the eliminator) but one can not simply overlook the fact that San Francisco's defensive line could be it's own Achilles heel.
The 49ers looked like a much different team once Justin Smith took a temporary seat on the sidelines that started at halftime against the Patriots last year. Up to that point, San Francisco hadn't allowed more than 26 points in any one game. They had held five of their 13 opponents to single digits. But when Smith came out, they allowed 31 points to the Patriots in one half. Then 42 points to the Seahawks the next week. They even allowed the Cardinals to score a touchdown in the season finale. Hell, Lumbergh f***ed her.
It's worth pointing out that San Francisco allowed 89 points in their three playoff games and over their last 6 games total that would be 29.66 points per game, a significant difference:
- First 13 games: 184 points total, 14.15 points per game
- Final 6 games: 178 points total, 29.66 points per game
More than twice the amount of points per game allowed starting from when Justin Smith was first injured. They have since parted ways with Isaac Sopoaga, Ricky Jean-Francois, and Dashon Goldson and welcome in Glenn Dorsey, Tank Carradine, and others. Depending on how you look at the glass, the 49ers will either get a much healthier Smith and be right back to where they once were, or they could get lackluster performances from the new guys and see Smith (34 years old) get hurt and be that close to losing their big edge on defense.
3. Check it out, I'm the M-A-R-SH-A-W-N, and if the blocking's f-l-y, I go by the code of the offensive line and I'll score a touchdown I'll tell ya why
In their Week 7 loss to the 49ers, Marshawn Lynch actually had a respectable 103 yards on 19 carries. He wasn't completely contained by any means, but also wasn't able to make that one huge play that turned the tables back into Seattle's favor either.
On the Seahawks second play from scrimmage in Week 16:
Marshawn Lynch left tackle for 24 yards, touchdown
Russell Wilson pass complete short middle to Marshawn Lynch for 9 yards, touchdown
Of course, Seattle would go up 21-0 early in the 2nd quarter and the gameplan around Lynch and everyone else changes after that but being able to put up that 24-yard touchdown against arguably the best defense in the NFL set the tone that the Seahawks wouldn't be in the same docile mode that they were in on offense earlier in the year. The games against the Cardinals and Bills weren't just a fluke, this team could really mash. It was a graveyard smash, y'all.
Lynch was able to gain good yardage and even though the ground stats might appear to be less efficient (26 carries for 111 yards) it was all setup by the big explosive touchdown-scoring plays in the first quarter that allowed Seattle to show they were for real. That will be important to do again at home in Week 2.
4. A skiddleebebop, the 49ers are old as rock, a shoobdoobdoobadeedoo!
This game is more than 100 days away, so there's always the off-chance that old age gets the better of San Francisco before then. Of course there's no discernible way to predict injury, it can happen to anybody if any age, but I'd gather that you're a little more susceptible to getting forced time off when you've taken five times as many NFL hits as another player.
It's Frank Gore's age 30 season.
It's Justin Smith's age 34 season.
It's Carlos Rogers' age 32 season.
It's Nnamdi Asomugha's age 32 season.
The real question isn't just how old these players are, but asking what kind of depth the 49ers have should one of them go down as Crabtree did. There's a good reason why San Francisco loads up on cheap draft pick players, it's the same fortune that will come upon the Seahawks soon as well, but if something happens to Gore how can Kendall Hunter respond? If something happens to Smith, just as addressed before, then what? Your top two corners are 32, and you've still got Craig Dahl back there behind them.
This reason for a perfect season probably plays better for the 2013 re-match but if I'm looking at two evenly-matched teams and a game that happens in a little over 3 months, I'm giving at least a small check in the "Pro" side of the board for the team that's younger. And these Seahawks are so sexy they could be considered "Barely Legal."
5. Home game on national TV?
I said, I can't wait until Week 2, when the Hawks are rappin' to the rhythm of the beat -- no, I'm not going to do what you all think I'm going to do... which is just RAP OUT!
The last time that the 49ers came to Seattle? Nothing further is necessary. 42-13, check the score bitches.