The Seahawks shrugged off a sloppy start offensively and a weird one-hour weather/lightning delay to run away with the game in the second half, beating the 49ers 29-3 on Sunday Night Football. A few quick hitters after the first watch:
- Seattle apparently did set the Guinness Book of World Record for loudest stadium with a measurement of 136+ decibels. Damn! I don't really care much about that, to be honest, but you could certainly tell that the crowd noise again affected the Niners' communication, and at times, the normally methodical and deliberate San Francisco offense looked frenetic and out of sync. More importantly, the thing I noticed most about this game was how much the Seahawks' pass rushers used the crowd noise to get off the ball quickly. Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril both showed elite-level get-off on the snap and caused issues with the Niners' pass protection.
- The first thing that a select group of Niners fans told me on Twitter when Seattle signed Cliff Avril was how much RT Anthony Davis dominated him when San Francisco played Detroit last year. Davis had ended up tweeting trash talk to Avril after that SF-DET game so I was very, very interested to see how that particular matchup would go in this one. Avril managed a sack and strip on Kaepernick (recovered by Seattle) on one play and generally looked very fast coming off the edge. I would have to go back and re-watch the game to make any real judgement on the matchup, but on first viewing, it seemed like Avril fared well in his first game as a Seahawk.
- Back to Bennett. I cannot wait to go back and rewatch Bennett specifically, because he seemed to be in the backfield on every other play. His jump on the snap is damn near elite - make no mistake. He explodes out of his stance, employs a wicked club move, an effective spin move, and generally just gave the Niners' offensive line fits all game. He ended up playing a ton of snaps too - both on the outside and the inside. A hell of a game for the Seahawks' free agent, which is awesome, considering Seattle's lauded free agent class had been sort of maligned the last few weeks.
- Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, and Kam Chancellor all got picks, Walter Thurmond got at least two key pass breakups, and Byron Maxwell played well in the absence of Brandon Browner. The Legion of Boom had maybe their best game as a group and the Seahawks' defense as a group was in mid-season form - holding the Niners' elite offense, which racked up almost 500 yards against the Packers last week - to 207 total yards.
- After holding Cam Newton to a career low in passing last week, the Seahawks held Colin Kaepernick to 127 yards through the air, his worst career outing as a full-time starter. Kaep rushed for 87 yards, almost exclusively on (admittedly awesome) scrambles, but Seattle also held the Niners running backs to 13 yards on 11 attempts. Dan Quinn is off to a nice start as Seahawks' defensive coordinator, and the defense has given up ten points in two games, to two normally very high powered offenses.
- Russell Wilson had an atrocious first half of passing and all the credit goes right to the Niners' very stout defense. Wilson was 2-for-10 for 48 yards after the first half and Seattle led 5-0. The only thing moving the chains for the Hawks at that point was the run game, which amassed 140 yards in the first half. Wilson settled down a bit in the second half but finished an underwhelming 8-of-19 for 142 yards passing with a pick and a touchdown pass to Marshawn Lynch, and overall, it wasn't pretty. The Hawks' normally efficient QB did manage to avoid any turnovers in the 2nd half, but he'll have a lot of things to work on in film review this week.
Specifically what? I can't tell you what the issues were without really digging into the game again, but he just didn't look to throw in rhythm and on a good portion of his deep drops, he failed to pull the trigger (good coverage in the back end by the Niners). He did have a few key completions that moved the chains though, so at this point, I'll take it, but he didn't look like the Wilson we've seen of late.
- The run game really showed up in this one after failing to eclipse the century-mark last week. Seattle finished with 172 yards on the ground on an absurd 47 attempts. 47!!! Marshawn Lynch had the most Marshawn Lynchy game I can remember on his way to three touchdowns and some pretty hilarious troll-walking into the endzone. He scored twice on the ground and one through the air. Robert Turbin looked good running the football in this one too. Overall, the run game kept the chains moving, the Hawks dominated the T.O.P. 36:43 to 23:17, and they won the turnover battle 5-1. That's Seahawky.
- Weirdly enough, the Niners didn't seem to have an answer for all night the zone-read option. I would love to see a stat on how many of the 172 yards rushing on the night came off of read-option 'looks.' I say 'looks' because I'm sure some of them were designed runs, but once the Niners started cheating with their defensive end crashing down, Russell did pull the ball back and run with it a couple of times. I can't wait to break down some of the Hawks' rushes.
More thoughts in the morning. Big win. Seattle improves to 2-0.
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