It’s good to be back in the win column.
The Seattle Seahawks looked clueless on offense for almost the entire half, but the defense (!) stepped up from its own slow start to keep the game within reach. Somehow this was tied at halftime, then the Seahawks took the lead in the 3rd quarter and never looked back on their way to a 28-21 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
It’s yet another win in Santa Clara, where Russell Wilson and company are 5-1 since the stadium opened in 2014. Thanks to the Los Angeles Rams’ loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the Seahawks can jump to 2nd place in the NFC West if they win on Thursday. That’s not 1st, but that’s a hell of a lot better than last.
Time for Winners and Losers!
Ryan Neal, Quandre Diggs, Jamal Adams
I’m putting them as a trio as I thought these three were the best part of the Seahawks defense.
Neal didn’t have any defensive snaps in September but credit to Ken Norton Jr and the rest of the coaching staff for getting him involved again. The versatile safety had a pass defensed and twice stopped Trey Lance short of first-down yardage on 3rd down. He was predominantly used in dime formations and it clearly worked. There needs to be more involvement for Ryan Neal moving forward.
Diggs finally got the Seahawks’ first interception of the season and while it didn’t amount to points, it was just great to see a Seahawks DB finally make a play on the damn ball. He had two passes defensed and was arguably the best player on the entire Seattle defense. This man needs a contract extension.
Lastly, Adams is a hot topic but I thought he really played well. That jarring hit on George Kittle to prevent a touchdown was Kam Chancellor-like. He had a pass defensed, was in with Neal on a couple of run stops, and could’ve had another PBU (or a pick) but just narrowly missed the ball and it fell incomplete anyway.
That was stellar safety play we saw throughout the afternoon and that’s more of what Seahawks fans were hoping to see.
3rd Quarter Russell Wilson
I’ve been lamenting how Wilson is still mobile but a lot less dangerous as a runner than he used to be, and the improvisational skills aren’t really there as often. Well he shut me up because that touchdown scamper in the 3rd quarter was a thing of beauty, as was that touchdown to Freddie Swain when it looked like a sack was all but guaranteed.
His overall game was “meh” at best except for the 3rd quarter, which looked like vintage Russ. There were definitely some inaccurate passes on his part, and I’m noticing the frequency in which his passes are sailing high. But for one quarter, we saw some classic Wilson and it propelled the team towards a W.
Brooks did not play well in the two losses and he had a couple of series where he was benched for Cody Barton. This was his best showing of the season, as he got to Jimmy Garoppolo on a blitz for his first career sack, and him and Kerry Hyder Jr played a key role in setting the edge and stopping Deebo Samuel on 4th down.
Three sacks in four games is awesome for the rookie (yeah, he’s a rookie to me! These are his first NFL games!). This one was more of a hustle sack but he came close to getting to Lance again later in the game and I’m impressed with how strong he looks in 1 v 1 situations.
The statline doesn’t jump out was phenomenal — 10 carries for 41 yards and 2 catches for 34 yards and a rushing touchdown — but he got the Seahawks offense springing to life by leaking out of the backfield where Russell Wilson could find him on a checkdown for the team’s first 1st down of the entire game. This is as heavily involved in Waldron’s gameplan as he’s been to date and on a day when Chris Carson was a non-factor, he stepped up in a major way.
Freddie Swain, the receiver
David Moore’s departure was a default promotion for Freddie Swain. He’s stepped into that Moore role nicely and while 3 catches for 20 yards and a TD is nothing special, his touchdown on that crazy Russell Wilson scramble was fantastic. Swain has become a serviceable 3rd/4th option and it looks like he has dependable hands.
How about that?! He didn’t make the initial 53-man roster but eventually got bumped up from the practice squad before Week 1, and gets a huge fumble recovery to help give the Seahawks a short field and that eventual 21-7 lead. Good for the former Army linebacker to make a game-changing play... with some help from Trenton Cannon’s ill-advised decision making.
Man this was not his day. I thought he really looked slow and not even his usual powerful self. The 49ers have a really good defense even when undermanned but it was painfully obvious that Alex Collins was the more effective back. Carson had just 30 yards for 13 carries and a catch for a yard. It’s been an uneven start for Carson to the season but what I think is clear is that Collins needs more touches, especially against certain defenses where speed > power.
They settled down eventually but this was not a particularly impressive showing for the o-line against that 49ers defensive front. Wilson was under siege for a lot of the opening half and two of the three 3rd down sacks were the result of instant pressure. Even the touchdown from Russ to Freddie Swain was a bust in protection that allowed the blitz to get through so easily. If I could point out a particular individual “loser” I’d say Duane Brown didn’t have one of his finer days at the office.
The idea of Carlos Dunlap getting a holding call
Seriously, Mike McGlinchey must have gotten away with at least three holding penalties in just one possession. Dunlap getting mugged like this without a flag is outrageous!
I...I have no idea what actually constitutes holding, if this isn't holding pic.twitter.com/xdciTIkfXu— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) October 3, 2021
Freddie Swain, punt returner
Nope. It’s not meant to be. He got away with a muffed punt and let another punt bounce for worse field position inside the 10. If we’re going to stick with the David Moore comparisons then similarly he needs to be yanked from these duties.
- I thought about putting Sidney Jones in the losers column. The facts are facts and he gave up two touchdowns. He was boxed out by Ross Dwelley for a score on the opening drive and was at fault on the horrible busted coverage touchdown to Deebo Samuel. Come to think of it he was picked on early and often on the first couple of possessions before settling down, but I don’t think it was all terrible. He certainly tries to play the ball and had a pass defensed and a near interception if not for Trey Lance’s inaccuracy. We’ll give it time to see if he’ll be a clear upgrade for Tre Flowers in the long-term. It wasn’t all that bad but I don’t think it was good overall.
- There are still many reasons to be concerned about this offense. It was another day of “touchdown or nothing” and fortunately for them this time the defense showed up. The 3rd down struggles continue and the screen passes must be stricken from the playbook.
- DK Metcalf is neither a winner nor a loser for me. He led the team with 4 catches for 65 yards and a touchdown but he had a couple of drops, one of which was on 3rd down and might have been a good play by Emmanuel Moseley but still one I think that could be caught. No doubt the second drop was bad and would’ve made it a more manageable 3rd down instead of the inevitable failed conversion and punt.
- Nine passes defensed for the Seahawks after only 5 the previous week. I’m still skeptical the defense actually got better when in reality they likely played a mediocre offense, but it’s better than being terrible!
- I’m not sure D.J. Reed was targeted more than once as RCB. That seems like a big deal and I hope that his switch back to the right side is permanent.
- Poona Ford sniffed out a screen! The screen pass defense in general was substantially improved.
- Nick Bellore had a massive hit on a punt return. He’s gunning for another Pro Bowl berth!
- Bring on the Rams! Bring ‘em on!