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NFC Championship: Seahawks 23, San Francisco 17 - Two post-game thoughts

Super Bowl bound!!!

Ronald Martinez

I just want to highlight a couple of things that may have swung the game in favor of Seattle that may get lost in all the post-game drama.

1. Bevell/Cable Adjusted to More "Power" and Less "Zone"

One fairly neat wrinkle I saw from Vic Fangio's defense is to set the defensive line about a yard off the line of scrimmage. Rather than crowding the ball they stayed back, and it was the main reason that Seattle's zone runs were not doing much. The 49ers were consistently able to track plays down from the backside. Setting up off the line of scrimmage made the backside cut block almost impossible for the offensive linemen to make.

For all the grief Darrell Bevell and/or Tom Cable take (some of it justifiably), their counter to Vic Fangio was really inspired. Seattle went to their big personnel, playing Alvin Bailey some as an extra tackle. More importantly though, they had the offensive linemen fire straight out at the 49ers to take advantage of the natural "bubble" created by their alignment.

'm tempted to call it man blocking. I'm not sure if that's the case until I watch it again. But, even if it was still technically zone blocking the offensive linemen were firing out past the line of scrimmage. The movement they created really got Lynch going. Well done coaching staff.

2. The Defensive Line Kept Kaepernick in the Pocket (and Pressured Him Too)

Another nice, subtle adjustment (in a game that generally lacked subtlety) came from Seattle's defensive line. After having Kaepernick burst through gaps created by aggressive pass rushers in the first half, Seattle adjusted. They stayed more disciplined in their rush lanes and really kept Kaepernick in the pocket.

What that meant practically for the edge rushers is not getting more than a step deeper than Kaepernick. Keep in mind, Seattle has been able to effectively pressure Kaepernick and slow him in prior games by going balls out. They learned quickly that they had to pressure without sacrificing containment; not just protecting the edges but making sure not to get to far upfield. Seahawks kept Kaepernick in the pocket and dared him to beat them from there. And for as well as the defense played, he almost did.

Bonus Thought

That was an AWESOME football game that had a little bit of everything, and not all of it pretty. Seattle deserved to win. Seattle was fortunate to win. I'm spent.

Good luck and get well soon to Mike Iupati and Navorro Bowman, two unbelievable gamers.