I couldn’t tolerate another blowout loss at home, but perhaps that would’ve been more palatable than losing a game at the one-inch line. That’s ultimately what happened, as the San Francisco 49ers went into CenturyLink Field and captured the NFC West title against the Seattle Seahawks, who are now just 11-10 in their last 21 home games. Oh well, they’re 7-1 on the road this year! Perhaps that’ll be the only way they can make a run at the Super Bowl.
I’m kinda numb. Here’s my Winners and Losers column for the final regular season game of 2019.
It took a half for him to get going, but 2nd Half Russ looked like the MVP candidate we saw earlier in the season. He was a little bit more willing to scramble, make magic happen, throw on the run, and take easier reads instead of shoehorn in the big play all the time. This does ease some of my worries regarding Wilson both in terms of any regression as a passer and the possibility of him being injured.
Dormant last week, Metcalf had a big game to wrap up his rookie season. Six catches for a game-high 81 yards and a touchdown, such that the 49ers pulled Akhello Witherspoon since he was out of his depth. Metcalf also looks like the best blocking WR on the team already, which is awesome.
First off, I’m glad his shoulder seems okay because I thought he was a goner. Secondly, six catches for 51 yards and the first touchdown of Seattle’s night is not setting the world on fire but he has a level of chemistry with Russ that few other WRs have.
The Ursua stans can now point to the 55-year-old 25-year-old’s first reception nearly winning the NFC West. Where’s his Hall of Fame bust? It took a bunch of injuries for him to see the field and now he’s averaging 11 yards per catch. The numbers don’t lie.
Had a touchdown (rightfully) taken away because Mike Iupati held like hell to prevent a sack, but he caught both of his targets for 30 yards and had a good punt return, which I didn’t think Seattle was allowed to have anymore. I’ve gotten on his case all year but he stepped up on Sunday night.
Lynch was mostly ineffective. 12 carries for 34 yards is probably what we should’ve expected. To see him get a touchdown in a Seahawks uniform again? That’s awesome. See you for the playoffs, Beast.
A very successful first start for the rookie. Ten carries for 62 yards and five catches for 30 yards, showing a lot of leg-drive and willingness to fight through contact.
Flying to the ball on either side of halftime. He blew up Tevin Coleman on a quick pass and then did the same to George Kittle after the half.
Way way way way way better than Jamarco Jones at left tackle. The dude was handling Nick Bosa brilliantly all night and kept the pressures to a minimum. A shame the final play wasn’t a seam pass to him. (I kid, I kid)
Ken Norton Jr
Dude’s gotta be fired. And like, ideally before next week but that’s not happening. That was another rotten defensive performance save for two possessions. The 49ers averaged 8.3 yards per play and on their three touchdown drives, they went to third down a combined two times. That’s unacceptable. The tackling is sloppy, the d-line got owned again, and they were largely outmatched. The only reason it won’t look worse in the statsheet is because they only ran 48 plays. Don’t ask me for a replacement right now, I just am sick of the Norton defense.
Marquise Blair must not have any grasp of the defense if he can’t start over Hill, who’s just Tedric Thompson in a bigger body. Poor tackling and bad angles aplenty make him a massive liability who shouldn’t see the field again for anything other than special teams. Quandre Diggs can’t come back soon enough.
He gave up the only sack on Wilson and had a critical false start penalty in FG range that led to the 3rd and 11 and subsequent 4th and inches failure. Don’t re-sign. He’s still a penalty machine and his lack of discipline is killing the team.
His clock management is abysmal. I don’t want to dump on the Seahawks for the first couple of touchdowns in the 2nd half, but they took way too much time off the clock (about 15 minutes combined) and you cannot shorten the game on yourself when you need two scores. Guess what happened? The defense didn’t get a stop until the absolute last moment, leaving Seattle no room for error, and boy did they have a big f—king error.
That delay of game is the defining screw-up of all Pete Carroll clock management screw-ups. And I find the explanation for it wholly unacceptable that they were this disorganized with a division title on the line.
Pete Carroll said the delay penalty was a result of confusion on Seattle’s sideline in getting a running back into the game. They were in an empty backfield the play before. Carroll said there may have been less urgency because players can mistakenly treat spikes like timeouts.— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) December 30, 2019
Jacob Hollister on the third-down play: “I felt him (LB Fred Warner) grabbing me, but you don’t get every call. I didn’t get that call.” Hollister said of the delay-of-game penalty: “We were a little bit disorganized getting up to the line of scrimmage. It was on everybody.”— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) December 30, 2019
These failures are not isolated, they are consistent and while there’s no guarantee the Seahawks win without delay of game, they made life hard for themselves at the worst possible time. It’s “bad football team” mistakes that lead to Ls such as this one. It’s not going to improve any time soon, if ever, and that sucks.
Oh yes, and the Seahawks being -53 in 1st halves of home games this year is on Carroll and the coaching staff. They are so staggeringly unprepared in ways I’ve never seen, and you cannot just try and haul ass in the 2nd half every week and expect to win.
The NFL’s stupid-ass, useless pass interference “review” system
If they won’t review this then kill the whole thing. The NFL refuses to show any clarity on what is and isn’t pass interference, which has cost so many coaches so many challenges and timeouts. Then when the decisions are up to the review booth people, you get nothing here.
This league has embarrassed itself throughout the season and they need to admit they didn’t think this one through. By the way, the league’s explanation is garbage too.
Here’s what Al Riveron told pool reporter @ByTimBooth about the Seahawks’ third- and fourth-down plays, both of which were throws to Jacob Hollister. Riveron said the third-down play was actually reviewed in NYC and that the contact didn’t warrant defensive pass interference. pic.twitter.com/9lMMHBnO3k— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) December 30, 2019
Brian Schotenheimer’s final playcall
It almost worked, but it was going to be bad process yielding a good result. On 4th and goal, every route needs to be in the end zone, and two of them weren’t. The main read was to Jacob Hollister, one of those guys needing YAC to score. It’s a hell of a tackle by Dre Greenlaw but the playcall itself was way too risky, especially for a team that ranked 25th in YAC on the season and poorly schemes it. Oh well, at least it wasn’t some bullshit fade route.
Seattle’s NFC West dominance
Since the 32-team era formed in 2002, the Seahawks had never gone three straight seasons without winning the NFC West. That is no longer the case. The 2020 offseason will go a long way towards determining if the Seahawks era of contention is fading out, or if they can create a new window. We still got this season to focus on for now.
- Shaquill Griffin had a bad night in pass coverage but his tackling on the edge in run support was outstanding, particularly on the Deebo Samuel jet sweep in the closing stages. Mixed bag for him coming back from injury.
- Marquise Blair seldom played but he had a clutch forced fumble on Deebo Samuel that turned 1st and goal into a field goal.
- That 4th and inches failure with Lynch was asinine playcalling. You motioned Lockett across the line and added Richard Sherman into the fray as a result, and you ran behind Tyrone Swoopes in hopes that he would block Nick Bosa one-on-one.
- The 49ers earned their NFC West title. They are a better team and just much more talented, which should be a thing given they spent several seasons stockpiling draft picks in high positions, but they should be the rightful NFC favorites. I guess the rivalry is now officially back on.
- Jaron Brown evidently sprained his knee and left the game early. If Malik Turner can play next week, Brown needs to be inactive either way. He adds nothing to the offense that others up the depth chart can’t do equally as well if not better.
- If Brian Bosworth (who was looking a hell of a lot like slim Jeff Bridges) was the linebacker and not Dre Greenlaw, then Hollister scores.
- Bring on the Iggles.