clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Some much-needed gameday optimism, and a harder-than-it-sounds Seahawks-49ers ‘keys to the game’

It’ll take a lot for the Seahawks to win against the 49ers, but it’s not impossible!

Divisional Round - Seattle Seahawks v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

There has been a bit of, shall we say, skepticism about tonight’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers.

Admittedly, I have had - and might have expressed - some concerns myself.

Not today though.

IT’S GAMEDAY and that means unbridled optimism.

Let’s start small (ish) and build from there . . .

Sack Masters

Boye Mafe has more sacks this season than Nick Bosa does: 7.0 vs. 5.5.

Note: Chase Young leads the Niners with 6-1/2 sacks, but he tallied 4-1/2 of those while he was with the Washington Commanders.


Wideouts

Seattle’s top two wide receivers (DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett) have more receptions and more touchdowns than San Francisco’s top two wideouts (Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel):

  • Receptions: 51 for Lockett, 43 for Aiyuk, 40 for Metcalf, 27 for Samuel; Seattle wins 91-70.
  • TDs: 4 each for Lockett and Aiyuk, 3 for Metcalf, 1 for Samuel; Seattle wins, 7-5.

Note: Seattle’s top two wideouts have played one more game than San Francisco’s (DK missed one game, Deebo missed two).


Fumbles!

Remember these numbers: 10 - 4 - 4 - 3.

The first two are the number of times the 49ers have put the ball on the ground this year (10) and the number of times the other team recovered the fumble (4).

Seattle’s numbers are the second two (4 and 3) which means San Francisco has put the ball on the ground 2-1/2 times more often than Seattle has, and the Niners have lost as many fumbles (4) as Seattle has had (4).

Advantage, Seattle!

How about forced fumbles and fumble recoveries by the defenses?

The Niners have forced 9 fumbles and recovered 5.

That’s not bad.

It’s not as good as the Seahawks though! Seattle’s defense has forced twelve fumbles and recovered seven.


Common Games (vs. non-division foes)

Common games are one of the opportunities to compare apples to apples. So far this season, the Seahawks and Niners have faced three common opponents . . .

Common games vs. the AFC North:

The Seahawks and 49ers have both played the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns this season.

Seattle won one game and lost the other (win percentage = .500).

San Francisco lost them both (win percentage = .000).

__________

Common games vs. the NFC East:

The Seahawks and 49ers have both played the New York Giants.

San Francisco won by 18 points at home.

The Seahawks played the Giants in New York and won by 21 points.

Taking that a step further . . .

The vaunted San Francisco defense recorded 2 whole sacks against the Giants while Seattle’s often-maligned defense tallied 11.


Flag(s) on the Play

We all know how much the television crews (and national media) like to comment about the Seahawks being “the most penalized team in the league”, right?

That may be true, but would it surprise you to learn that the 49ers only have 8 fewer penalty yards than the Seahawks do?

The opponent penalties are pretty close too. Seattle’s opponents have been flagged 64 times for 473 yards; the Niners’ opponents check in at 60 for 494.


Quarterbacks

Ready for a quarterback comparison?

Over the course of his career, Geno Smith has 7 fourth quarter comebacks and 13 game-winning drives (per Pro Football Reference).

Brock Purdy has 6 fewer fourth quarter comebacks and 11 fewer game-winning drives.

Admittedly, that’s not a fair comparison since Geno has been in the league nine years longer than Brock Purdy has.

Let’s balance the scales a little bit . . .

Brock Purdy took over as San Francisco’s starting quarterback after Jimmy G. was injured on the first possession of the 49ers home game vs. the Miami Dolphins on December 4th, 2022 so we’ll start the comparison there.

We know Purdy’s numbers: 1 fourth quarter comeback and 2 game-winning drives

How about Geno’s?

As fate would have it, Geno had both a 4th quarter comeback and a game-winning drive on December 4th, 2022.

He checked off both boxes again in Week 18 last year.

This season, Geno has 2 fourth quarter comebacks and 3 game-winning drives.

Final tally:

  • 4-to-1 in Geno’s favor on Q4 comebacks
  • 5-to-2 on game-winning drives

Note: We’ll sort of come back to this near the end of the article.


Historical Perspective

It may not have a direct impact on tonight’s game, but history does matter. Especially when that history looks like this:

  • The Seahawks hold a 10-game lead in the all-time series, 30-20
  • Seattle is 18-10 vs. the Niners under Pete Carroll, including 8-5 since Kyle Shanahan took the reins in Santa Clara.

Season Sweeps

The Niners’ sweep of the season series last year was their first against the Seahawks since 2011.

On the flipside, Seattle has swept the season series six times since Pete Carroll arrived in town, including back-to-back season sweeps in 2021 and 2022, and back-to-back-to-back-to-back sweeps from 2014 to 2017.

For those that don’t like math, that’s a 6-2 advantage for the good guys.


Primetime Looks Good on Seattle

Let’s not forget that the Seahawks v. Niners game is the nightcap of the NFL’s Turkey Day Tripleheader.

Did you know that the Seahawks are pretty good “under the lights”?

Yeah . . .they are.

Including their dismantling of the Giants on Monday Night Football earlier this season, Seattle is 34-14-1 in primetime games under Pete Carroll.


Seattle is 1-0 vs. San Francisco on Thanksgiving!

Yep, we all remember that game :)


Two more things . . .

I know you’re already SUPER PUMPED, but I have one last golden factoid to share, plus a harder-than-it sounds “key to the game” for our beloved Seahawks.

Golden Factoid: Since joining rejoining the NFC West, Seattle has NEVER lost back-to-back home games to the 49ers.

Not. Once.

__________

Key to the game: If Seattle can get to the fourth quarter with a lead of at least 8 points (that’s the “harder than it seems” part) . . . they should win.

Why?

Because Kyle Shanahan’s offensive “system” has a fatal flaw!

According to reddit user LuskSGV, the 49ers are 0-36 under Kyle Shanahan when trailing by 8+ points in the 4th quarter. (The reddit post also notes that the Carolina Panthers are the only NFL team with a longer losing streak in that scenario.)

Note: I didn’t fact-check that because there was no way that I was going to dig through 6-1/2 years of 49er box scores (yuck!). It certainly sounds right though :)

__________

Go Hawks!