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49ers Dispatch Seahawks 33-17: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

Look, there are about a million ways to skin a cat when it comes to post-game recaps. I'm still trying to find my favorite so I'm testing out the Good, Bad, and Ugly cliche. Bear with me - I think it does help to bring up some good points about the game anyway.

The Good:

Do you want the good news or the bad news first? I guess I'll start with the good news. The Seahawks put themselves in a position to win this game. They were down two points with under four minutes to go. Really, you have to be happy about that. Obviously, giving up two touchdowns to Ted Ginn Jr in the matter of a minute after pulling to within three hurt the Seahawks chances of getting a W, but as ugly and boring of a game it was, I was still interested till right up near the end. 

The defense looked pretty good actually. Especially the run defense. The Hawks gave up 209 total yards on offense to the 49ers, and that's pretty impressive. They limited the Niners to TEN yards of offense in the crucial third quarter, so that is very encouraging as well. Apart from a few stupid offsides plays, the defense didn't make many bonehead plays. The defense held Frank Gore to 59 yards rushing, which is respectable. 

Most importantly, the Hawks defense was stout in third down situations -- holding San Francisco to 1/12 on that down. The 49ers were 1/5 in the red zone, so kudos to the defense for that too.

Doug Baldwin looks to be the steal of undrafted free agency, league wide. He came up with several big third down catches for first downs, and broke off a 55-yard touchdown run after making a catch and turning on the jets. He's a lot faster on the field than anyone was giving him credit for coming out of Stanford. He finished with 4 catches for 83 yards. 

Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas looked like the real deal in the Seahawks' secondary. ET seemed to be everywhere, notching two tackles for a loss today and Kam Chancellor, not to be outdone, finished with 10 tackles, and two of those were for a loss as well. 

Finally - halftime adjustments looked good. The Seahawks were outgained 128 yards to 37 in the first half but came back after the break and outgained the Niners 103-10 in the third quarter. They looked to be poised to finish the comeback and win it in the fourth after trailing by 16 at half but were undone by special teams suckitude. Speaking of...

The Bad:

Special teams, the one thing that might have been considered "elite" from last year's team, didn't show up to play today. Apart from the two touchdown returns to Ted Ginn Jr in the fourth quarter that eliminated any chance the Seahawks had at a win, there was the block in the back that negated a 73-yard punt return for Leon Washington and a roughing the kicker penalty that gave the 49ers a new set of downs from the 1-yard line. 

Brandon Browner was called for both of these, and though both of them were pretty questionable in my opinion, it seemed like the Hawks were shooting themselves in the foot on every single special teams play. Need to rein that in.

The run game. The pass protection. The offensive line. The first half especially, but the offensive line didn't look good. Not much push in the run game. Tarvaris Jackson wasn't given a lot of time. I'm not really too hung up on this though because only two players had ever started in the NFL. What other NFL team trots out an offensive line like that? It doesn't happen often, I would think, and there's a reason for it. 

Now, I think there's definite room for improvement. The second half showed that. We just need to be patient with it, really. 

Michael Robinson has a high-ankle sprain, suffered early in the game. This is bad. He's a special teams ace. The special teams sure didn't look good in the second half. Coincidence? Probably not. Mike Karney might be getting a call tonight.

Tarvaris Jackson doesn't get a free pass because the line wasn't very good. He just didn't look good out there, and fumbled the ball three times and lost two of them. He also threw an interception (now I'm confusing myself... was the 'interception' the fumble that the 49ers caught?... or did he have another interception too?... sorry I'm drunk). He wasn't quick or decisive - though he did look a little bit better in the 2nd half. He didn't step up into the pocket on a couple of key plays and took sacks. He missed his receivers on more than a few occasions.  

It wasn't all bad though, so let's not all jump to conclusions. Charlie Whitehurst isn't going to get the keys to the castle tomorrow. Patience, well, is really the only option we have. 

The Ugly:

Frickin penalties man. Penalties annoy me so much. Russell Okung had two false starts. Those practices missed didn't help. A couple offsides infractions for no apparent reason. 11 penalties will not get you a win. 

Turnovers. Three turnovers. The Seahawks defense didn't force a turnover. It's amazing the Hawks were even in this game in the fourth quarter.

OK, so I'll have a lot more in the coming days, but those are my initial thoughts. What do you guys think?