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Seahawks-49ers replay: The 10 biggest plays from Seattle’s win in the wind

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday’s Seahawks-49ers game was a slog, but in the end the better team beat the worse team in front of dozens of fans in the rain. Still, the series must go on. Today’s edition of 10 plays contains six Russell Wilson pass attempts, two C.J. Beathard pass attempts, one Blair Walsh field goal attempt, and one Jimmy Garoppolo pass attempt.

For an overview of EPA and this series, see my intro article here. Onto the plays:

#10. Q1 2-8 SEA 41: (10:58) (Shotgun) Russell Wilson pass short left to Paul Richardson to SF 33 for 26 yards.

EPA:2.19. Score before play: SEA0, SF0. SEA WP change: 54-> 61. TD% before: 38. TD% after: 51

SF’s linebacker is occupied for long enough to create a window to throw to, and Richardson does the rest.

#9. Q3 2-4 SF 17: (6:37) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass deep right to Nick Vannett for 17 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

EPA:2.65. Score before play: SEA7, SF6. SEA WP change: 68-> 77. TD% before: 50. TD% after: 100

Looks like the 49ers forgot Vannett was on the team. With 12 receptions in his 20 career games, it’s hard to blame them, but the Seahawks capitalize with a touchdown here.

#8. Q1 3-10 SEA 27: (12:03) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass short right to P.Richardson ran ob at SEA 39 for 12 yards.

EPA:2.86. Score before play: SEA0, SF0. SEA WP change: 46-> 55. TD% before: 25. TD% after: 41

Richardson gets the DB’s hips turned the wrong way and Seattle converts a 3rd and 10.

#7. Q2 2-21 SF 9: (14:06) (Shotgun) C.J. Beathard pass short left intended for Trent Taylor INTERCEPTED by Bobby Wagner at SF 16.

EPA:3.07. Score before play: SF0, SEA0. SEA WP change: 57-> 62. TD% before: 19. TD% after: 4

Great play by Wagner. This play doesn’t rate as highly by EPA as one might expect because the 49ers were already in a 2nd and 21 hole.

#6. Q4 1-10 SEA 10: (:02) (No Huddle, Shotgun) Jimmy Garoppolo pass short left to Loius Murphy for 10 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

EPA:3.15. Score before play: SF6, SEA24. SEA WP change: 100-> 100. TD% before: 38. TD% after: 100

The win probability change here is fun.

#5. Q3 3-8 SF 20: (:38) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass incomplete deep right to Doug Baldwin. PENALTY on SF- Dontae Johnson, Defensive Pass Interference, 19 yards, enforced at SF 20 - No Play.

EPA:3.15. Score before play: SEA14, SF6. SEA WP change: 86-> 91. TD% before: 34. TD% after: 91

I saw some 49ers fans complaining about this call, but the DB made contact with the receiver without playing the ball, which is the textbook definition of pass interference.

#4. Q2 3-9 SF 32: (5:07) (Shotgun) C.Beathard pass deep right to Marquise Goodwin pushed ob at SEA 34 for 34 yards.

EPA:3.22. Score before play: SF0, SEA7. SEA WP change: 72-> 61. TD% before: 20. TD% after: 43

Very nice throw under pressure.

#3. Q3 3-9 SEA 30: (8:23) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass deep right to D.Baldwin to SF 47 for 23 yards.

EPA:3.50. Score before play: SEA7, SF6. SEA WP change: 52-> 64. TD% before: 27. TD% after: 47

#2. Q1 4-7 SF 30: (9:34) Blair Walsh 48 yard field goal is No Good, Wide Left.

EPA:3.68. Score before play: SEA0, SF0. SEA WP change: 54-> 45. TD% before: 5. TD% after: 18

It surprised me to see this play listed so highly, but after looking at the numbers, I think it’s accurate. Before the attempt, Seattle’s expected points was 1.6, and after the attempt, Seattle’s expected points was -2.1 as SF took over with the ball 1st and 10 at their own 38 yard line.

With the miss, the likelihood of the next score being a Seattle field goal fell from 76% to 28%, and the likelihood of the next score being a 49ers touchdown increased from 11% to 41% (note that this model does not take the teams playing into account, so it does not know that on offense C. J. Beathard is matched up against the Seattle defense).

#1. Q1 1-10 SEA 40: (15:00) R.Wilson pass deep right intended for Jimmy Graham INTERCEPTED by Eric Reid at SF 34.

EPA:3.83. Score before play: SEA0, SF0. SEA WP change: 54-> 47. TD% before: 41. TD% after: 21

Looking ahead

While the general feeling has been that Seattle’s season will come down to their game against the Rams in week 15, due to the strength of the NFC, every game is crucial. The Seahawks’ next two games are against the Eagles (home) and Jaguars (away). Playing with the New York Times playoff simulator, here are Seattle’s playoff odds by record in the next two games:

  • 2-0: 86 percent
  • 1-1: Between 53 percent (if they beat the Jaguars and lose to the Eagles) and 64 percent (if they beat the Eagles and lose to Jaguars). The difference is presumably due to how important within-conference games are for tiebreakers.
  • 0-2: 30 percent

Even if Seattle goes 0-2 against the Eagles and Jaguars but beats the Rams, their playoff odds would still only be 46 percent, and their remaining two games would be close to must-win games (at Dallas and hosting Arizona).

So while the Rams game will be very important, at this stage every game is crucial after the mistake-prone home losses to the Redskins and Falcons left the team with no margin for error.