The Seattle Seahawks dropped their first game since November 11 on Sunday, falling to the 49ers on a rainy afternoon in San Francisco. The surface was dreadful and the officiating was questionable, as the Seahawks failed to clinch a playoff spot.
Injuries to Jordan Simmons and Bradley McDougald put Seattle in a bind on both sides of the ball, and both replacements would be flagged for key penalties.
Check out the Seahawks’ snap counts below:
Running back usage in Rashaad Penny’s absence
If there was any reason for optimism around Penny’s knee injury, just as the rookie was getting going, it was that J.D. McKissic was likely to get more opportunities. McKissic doubled his season snap count on offense, from three to six. A fourth snap on Sunday was wiped out by penalty, canceling a great catch up the sideline by McKissic.
Carson and Davis had nearly an equal split, dominating the backfield, with Carson playing 52% of the offense’s snaps and Davis 44%.
Austin Calitro back in the fold
Upon returning from suspension in Week 14, Mychal Kendricks immediately took back the starting job alongside Bobby Wagner. Upon going on injured reserve, Austin Calitro then took his place back. Calitro played 85% of the defense’s snaps, appearing to play as steady as he has been all season.
Though Calitro does provide comfortable depth, it’s fair to wonder how much Bradley McDougald’s injury influenced Calitro’s playing time. McDougald’s exit led to Delano Hill starting, meaning he couldn’t play as the third safety in big sub packages. Not that Seattle completely went away from it: Shalom Luani played 11% of the defense’s snaps in Hill’s vacated role, his most notable moment being a crunching hit on Nick Mullens.
Poona Ford shines in expanded role
It was Nazair Jones inactive on Sunday, and Ford made the most of his opportunity. Ford has been a tremendous part of the rotation all season, but Week 15 saw him skip past Shamar Stephen, playing 50% to Stephen’s 37%. It appears as though the Seahawks have solidified the interior of their line for the foreseeable future, with Ford and Jarran Reed forming a terrific duo.
Here’s The Athletic’s Sam Gold on Ford’s strong play on Sunday:
Seattle will now try and clinch a wildcard spot in an extremely tough matchup against the Chiefs in Week 16. Though outside help could push them into January, all it takes is a win for the Seahawks to clinch.