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This Week In Defense: Seattle at San Francisco

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

Narrative of the game: The Seahawks' offense sucks. The defense was okay, until the second half adjustments, then they got run on. Other than that, most of the anger was focused on the offense, who laid a bit of an egg here.

[1st Qtr 14:55 1st and 10] - (14:55) F.Gore left guard to SF 28 for 7 yards (B.Wagner).

This game gets off on the wrong foot pretty fast as Frank Gore slashes for seven yards. The thing I took note of during this first play and overall the first drive, the 49ers seemed to be targeting Alan Branch wherever he lined up with double teams, ignoring Brandon Mebane. Both Branch and Red Bryant struggled in this first drive, but this first play where Branch is doubled and pushed back four to five yards right on the first snap is a bad sign for the game.


[1st Qtr 12:23 3rd and 3] - (12:22) A.Smith pass short right to R.Moss to SEA 45 for 14 yards (R.Sherman). Caught at SEA 47. 2-yds YAC

Randy Moss pushes off of Richard Sherman to come back and make a catch and convert a first down. This has nothing to do with the overall state of the game. I just felt I should mention it for all the complaining and crying Jim Harbaugh did about how our corners play too tough. It was fighting on both sides a good tough battle and then little Jimmy had to come in a ruin all the fun.

[2nd Qtr 11:58 1st and 10] - (11:58) F.Gore left guard to SF 19 for 3 yards (K.Wright).

Obligitory Mebane space play. Brandon Mebane had very few direct chances to impact the game, but not for lack of trying. The offensive line of the Niners is just stacked, and so when this play happened it stood out. He stood up the left guard and got into the backfield, making a play almost all by himself.

It's also worth noting that Alan Branch was on the bench, replaced by Clinton McDonald. This is one of those in game decisions where Gus and perhaps Pete are taking away playing time, or it could be Branch was hurt. Either way his disappointing year continued.

[2nd Qtr 5:31 3rd and 3] - (5:27) A.Smith pass short left to M.Crabtree to SF 49 for 1 yard (M.Trufant). Caught at SF 45. 4-yds YAC

Marcus Trufant makes a tackle on a swing pass here. I like his play in space. The problem for Trufant as a nickel is lack of experience and health. When he has a play scouted he's going to play it well. The problem is, in the slot you've got to adapt to changing situations on the fly and he just couldn't do it enough to have a considerable impact. I kind of feel bad that health was such a part of his last three years here. Plays like this are why he could have been a good nickel player.

[1st Qtr 5:17 3rd and 10] - (Shotgun) A.Smith pass short left to F.Gore to SF 32 for 12 yards (B.Wagner). Caught at SF 17. 15-yds YAC

Gus and Pete have been trying to answer some of their problems on 3rd and long and brought a blitz here. Unfortunately the Niners have the screen call on and the team is too far spread out to make a play. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

It's incredibly frustrating as a viewer to see how much the team is struggling and sort of grasping at straws in this specific situation. They do get some stops, but many times it's because the other team rolls the conservative call out like a red carpet.

[3rd Qtr 10:49 1st and 10] - A.Smith pass short middle to F.Gore to SF 29 for 15 yards (L.Hill). Caught at SF18. 11-yds YAC

Gore makes an easy catch. This again is probably due to Seattle's linebackers not communicating. Wagner turns his back to run and leaves the middle wide open. Wagner on the play has either misread the formation or he's just trying to follow the letter of the play call (Tampa-2?). Leroy Hill drifts out to cover the fullback and the running back can just go sit down in the huge vacated space by Wagner. Once the ball is snapped Wagner just turns to run and get deep with his eyes on Vernon Davis. There isn't a blitz call on or anything and so I have to consider this some kind of mistake by Wagner.


[3rd Qtr 9:40 1st and 10] - F.Gore left guard to SF 46 for 6 yards (B.Mebane).

The 49ers run an inside trap. This is a play that Gus Bradley would later describe, and note that it was something that some players hadn't even seen before. Inside traps aren't easy to pull off. However, when watching the play over and over, both Alan Branch and Bobby Wagner get taken out with one cut block. Branch does what he does. Going in tall and trying to thrash and it leads him right into the cut block. The chaos that ensues could be set to some Benny Hill music.

[3rd Qtr 6:46 2nd and 7] - K.Hunter left end to SEA 25 for -2 yards (K.Wright).

I like this play a lot. The Niners are running a bunch formation and they are going to run a slash play behind it. Wright gets off the snap so quickly I had to replay the play three times to follow it.

He essentially shears the tackle completely off the edge blowing up the running lane. Clemons cleans up the tackle. I liked this play so much because it shows some potential for K.J. as a pass rusher even outside of just blitz calls. It might not mean anything but I could see K.J. get some snaps as a LEO if he consistently could show burst like this.


[4th Qtr 14:21 2nd and 12] - F.Gore left tackle to SEA 8 for 37 yards (E.Thomas).

This was a situation on 2nd and 12 where the Seahawks went with their full pass-rush personnel grouping. Jason Jones, Clinton McDonald, Chris Clemons, and Bruce Irvin are all on the field here. It's a risk and at this stage I certainly understand. Gore runs a slam on an audible by Smith, both Jones and McDonald get thumped to their knees, and it's clear sailing for Gore.


[4th Qtr 12:13 3rd and Goal] - A.Smith is back in at QB. (Shotgun) A.Smith pass short left intended for R.Moss INTERCEPTED by B.Browner at SEA -1. B.Browner to SEA 3 for 4 yards (V.Davis).

Interception by Brandon Browner as Alex Smith, after breaking left from the pocket, tries to force a pass through traffic to the back of the endzone. Browner anticipates the pass and picks it off. I took note of this play because although he has his weaknesses at times - particularly in the red-zone - Browner played much better this year than last in that area, and this interception highlights some of those improvements. I personally feel bad that it took so long for him to get here to Seattle; he's a guy that has made the most improvement over his weaknesses than any other Seahawk on this team, in my opinion, and I am hoping that the trend continues to go up for him.


Overview of the game: Most would say this team got run on in the second half after the guys got warn out. After a closer view I can't disagree but I can say that the D-line got knocked around in both halves but the defensive back end held up for quite a while until they were left on the field to attempt to try and turn the game themselves.

Game Ball: K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner. They had some fantastic tackles and played really well even when the d-line was getting smoked. I like them both in the run game, they rarely make mistakes in pursuit and were really the biggest reason the game stayed so damn close yards-wise.

Needs Improvement: The D-line. This was the worst game I've seen the Seahawks have since 2009's Patrick Kearny led-squad. It was awful all around, pass rush, run defense, ... it was all bad.