The Seattle Seahawks offense didn’t play very well, but much like the team’s 2016 home opener, the only touchdown they managed was a game-winner in the 4th quarter. Russell Wilson (23-of-39 for 198 yards, 34 yards rushing, 1 TD pass), found Paul Richardson in the end zone on Seattle’s penultimate drive, and then Chris Carson closed the show with three first-down runs, clinching a 12-9 win over the San Francisco 49ers. It was not good football to watch, plain and simple. The weather was bad, there were bad drops, bad throws, bad blocking, it had a lot of bad things, but it had a good outcome if you’re a Seahawks fan. There’s a lot of reason to be concerned about the offense’s sluggish start, but a win is a win.
The Seahawks received the opening kickoff, as they did against Green Bay. Russell Wilson converted on a couple of third-down passes, once to C.J. Prosise and once to Doug Baldwin, before keeping on a zone-read for a nine-yard rush on 4th and 1. Tyler Lockett hauled in a 22-yard pass to put the Seahawks inside the 49ers 10, and of course they settled for a field goal. Prosise dropped a likely touchdown as he braced for a hit. Wilson was fortunate not to be intercepted on a 3rd down heave that may have been a throwaway, but landed in the back of the end zone.
San Francisco’s first drive was decidedly not as good. A decent run for Carlos Hyde, followed by a Brian Hoyer overthrow, and then after Frank Clark’s neutral zone infraction penalty, Sheldon Richardson stuffed Hyde on 3rd and 1.
Seattle had an ugly three-and-out, but would soon get the ball back after Brian Hoyer threw an interception to Bobby Wagner. In a crazy sequence, Wagner lost the ball but Richard Sherman recovered it.
The 49ers were caught napping on their defensive substitutions, and Wilson capitalized with a 3rd and 12 dart to an open Amara Darboh, who made his first career catch. A few plays later, Wilson found Tyler Lockett for a short gain on 3rd and 2, setting up 1st and goal. Tanner McEvoy dropped a touchdown on 3rd down, and Blair Walsh was trotted out to make it 6-0 Seattle to end the quarter’s scoring.
The Seahawks continued to dominated time of possession and simultaneously not come close to adding to their lead. With the 49ers offense looking lifeless and barely managing 1st downs, Carlos Hyde changed things with a 61 yard scamper to Seattle’s 22. The Seahawks defense stiffened up, and Michael Bennett’s 3rd down sack led to the 49ers kicking a field goal to halve the deficit to 6-3.
In the final two minutes, Seattle went three-and-out, with C.J. Prosise again dropping a pass, and then the Seahawks defense gave up a 27-yard run to Carlos Hyde on 3rd and 12. Add 15 yards through Cliff Avril’s facemask, and the Niners were back in FG range, leading to a 6-6 halftime score.
You may have noticed how many times I wrote about dropped passes from Seahawks players in the 1st half, and that’s without me including a drop by Jimmy Graham on the opening drive. Seattle’s first possession after halftime was moving along nicely, and then Tanner McEvoy spilled a pass thrown right at his #19 jersey number. What could’ve been a drive-extending first down in field goal range turned into another Seattle punt. By this point of the 3rd quarter, Russell Wilson had thrown 31 passes for just 175 yards, but could’ve had a lot more if not for the miscues.
With the offense unable to score any points, the Seahawks defense nearly managed 2 points, with Frank Clark sacking Hoyer just beyond the goal line. He was driven back into the end zone, so not calling a safety was the right call. It did essentially destroy SF’s possession and lead to another punt in this ugly-as-hell mess of a football game.
Seattle went three-and-out from their own 42, with Wilson once again lucky not to be picked off by Rashard Robinson. In the 4th quarter, the 49ers just rammed the ball down the Seahawks’ throats with Carlos Hyde and rookie Matt Breida, gashing the vaunted defensive line for big gains into Seattle territory. Unsurprisingly, the drive stalled once they passed, and Robbie Gould kicked his third field goal of the game to make it 9-6 49ers.
Faced with their first deficit of the game, Seattle went a little more uptempo, and due to the ineptitude of the offensive line (particularly Mark Glowinski), Russell Wilson was forced to pick up yards through scrambling. A pass interference on Dontae Johnson put the Seahawks in the red zone. On 3rd down, Wilson escaped pressure from Arik Armstead and another 49ers pass rusher, rolled to his left, and found Paul Richardson for a Seahawks touchdown. I repeat, a SEAHAWKS TOUCHDOWN.
Blair Walsh then missed the extra point, thus opening the door for the 49ers to tie the game with a FG. The Niners limply went three-and-out, but Seattle would be backed up inside their own 20 thanks to Shaquill Griffin’s terrible block in the back penalty. San Francisco wouldn’t touch the ball on offense again.
Keeping in mind that the Niners only had one timeout, the Seahawks finally got the running game going, and Chris Carson closed the show with 41 big-time yards on 5 carries. From there, it was time for victory formation.
Seahawks Injury Notes
Jimmy Graham suffered an apparent left leg injury on a Chris Carson run, momentarily leaving the game for one possession before returning to action on the ensuing drive. It was definitely a scary moment given how he was limping and clutching his knee. He only had 1 catch for 1 yard today.
Nieko Thorpe was carted off with an ankle injury, and that’s a huge loss for Seattle’s special teams.