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Bobby Wagner makes good on his word, dominates vs. 49ers

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Following a lifeless performance in overtime during the Seahawks’ Week 7 loss to the Cardinals, the elder statesman of Seattle’s defense, Bobby Wagner, made a statement. “It’s either we do it,” Wagner said of the Seahawks’ defense improving. “Or we don’t.” The first loss of Seattle’s season left Wagner clearly fed up, “At this point, you’ve just got to make your mind up and say you want to play good defense. Period.”

If it wasn’t clear Wagner had had enough of the Seahawks’ poor performance on defense by his words last Sunday night, it was made perfectly clear by the end of Seattle’s Week 8 win over the 49ers. Though the Seahawks opened the door for the 49ers once Nick Mullens came in, on balance, it was the most encouraging defensive performance yet.

Wagner himself put together a performance reminiscent of his stat-stuffing game at home to San Francisco in 2018. By the end of Seattle’s 37-27 win, Wagner had totaled 11 tackles, two sacks, four QB hits, and three tackles for loss, causing equal havoc around and behind the line of scrimmage while seemingly taking out all of his frustrations on the 49ers.

With the Seahawks’ pass rush coming alive and Wagner putting on a vintage performance, Seattle’s defense gave up just 351 yards (only 112 through the first three quarters), by the far the lowest total given up by the Seahawks in a single game this year, while posting their highest single-game pressure rate in over two years. Though the 49ers are banged up on offense, so too is Seattle’s defense. Regardless of the circumstances, Wagner led a massively encouraging performance from a unit that has been poor up to this point.

With Wagner delivering vintage performances, an improving pass rush, and soon, a healthy secondary, the Seahawks defense could just be getting started.