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In Crazy Back and Forth Dogfight, Seahawks Top 49ers

Photo by Dean Rutz, The Seattle Times

Written by: Peter Vandeventer | @PeteVandeventer

Seahawks take down the undefeated 49ers in a bitter and physical matchup that left both teams bruised and battered with, old rivalry vibes (circa 2013) left in its wake.

Lead by a strong defensive effort, the Seahawks took the 49ers to OT and got the last laugh as Myers makes a last-second FG to win 27-24. Both teams have a very tough remaining schedule which includes another matchup week 17. 49ers will have to face the Cardinals next before they hit a tough stretch of games that include the Packers and Ravens. For the Seahawks, they get a well deserved and definitely needed bye week before they get back to the toughest remaining schedule.

This game had a lot going on and no one can claim that they didn't have a fun time watching the game. Did we have scoring? Yes, somewhat. Did we see defensive TDs? Is the sky blue?. How about turnovers? Sure did, honestly a little too much, not gonna lie. Was there extra football? We needed the entire OT period to find the winner… so yes.

I could honestly go on for hours about the complexities of that game and how entertaining it was, even if I feel like I just aged 10 years in the span of 3 hours because of stress.

It started slow for Seattle and the 49ers capitalized off of their opportunities by taking a 10-0 lead going into the 2nd quarter. But the 49er offense wasn’t really able to do anything else for the rest of the night.

Seahawk defense took the show in the 2nd quarter when they got a strip-sack fumble, which was recovered for a TD by Jadeveon Clowney. With a chance to take the lead, DK Metcalf tried to body any 49er defender in his way and was so close, but was stripped of the ball 2-yards shy of the endzone. At this point, the teams are still feeling each other out as they exchange body blows but still no score as the 1st half ended 10-7.

The 2nd half started with the Seahawks and 49ers exchanging turnovers until Seattle pulled ahead after an interception by Quandre Diggs which he returned 44-yards. The 3rd quarter was all Seattle as they scored 14 points to push the lead to 21-10. At this point, Seattle scoring 21 unanswered points felt like Seattle would run away with the game.

But to no prevail, Seahawks let the 49ers back into the game with a series of boneheaded plays which included a double fumble that 49ers got a TD off of.

At this point, the game gave me extreme week 8 vs Falcon vibes where the Seahawks really didn't make any effort to squash them, but just tried to run the clock and play too conservative. After trading FGs to end regulation, both teams got ready for 10 more minutes of football.

In OT, the game got even more hectic as neither team was able to take advantage of their opportunities. Russ through a red zone interception, that was nearly returned for a TD. As well as the 49ers kicker who cracked under pressure with his missed FG.

Lucky for Seattle, Russ is under center. He was able to lead one final game-winning drive with under 2:00 to play and no timeouts. One would expect Russ’ arm to do most of the damage but in reality, Russ’ ability to navigate through pressure put him position to run for 18 yards and put the Seahawks well into 49er territory. Myers took it from there and Seattle won 27-24.

Key Players

Jadeveon Clowney

There was not a single better player on that football field Monday night than Mr. Clowney. He was a human highlight reel and did any and everything he wanted while on the field. Pretty sure I saw Jadeveon still Joe Staley’s soul on several occasions and I’m honestly here for it; the pass rush needed to come alive and Clowney was able to generate so much pressure and attention.

The 49ers got both their tackles back Monday and they honestly couldn’t of had a worse time to comeback. Clowney made McGlinchey’s mind go a billion mp/h while he walked him right back into Jimmy G’s lap and likely made him question all decisions he’s made.

Not really possible to have a better week today than what Clowney just did. Clowney had 5 tackles, 5 QB hits (11 pressures), with a sack, forced fumble, and a TD. Just going off of this game alone, the Seahawks have to give Clowney a blank check in the offseason and pay him whatever he wants because he deserves all of it.

Quandre Diggs

Diggs made the most of his opportunities defensively. Quandre was able to step in today and make an immediate impact and has provided a spark similar to what Blair has done the past few weeks. Diggs showed his great ball skill with the INT that he returned for 44 yards. He then turned around and laid the boom on anyone who dared go across the middle.

Diggs hasn’t been able to suit up for the Seahawks until Monday since his trade to Seattle from Detroit and will look for him to continue to create more plays from his safety position (or really anywhere on the field cause he knows how to play ball).

Russell Wilson

Russ didn't have a great game statistically but he was able to do so much with a dwindling supporting cast as the game went on. Russ lost his TE1 (Luke Willson) early on in the game and lost Lockett late in the game during crunch time. Russ still was able to extend plays (even when the refs make idiotic dead play calls) and really was able to deal with a strong defensive front for most of the game.

Russ was over 70% on the night with nearly 250 yards passing with 50 yards on the ground. His stats don’t stand out but going against a top 5 defense in the league, Russ did show out. Take away the DK fumble or his own fumble that should’ve been nullified for a missed facemask and it would’ve looked better on the stat sheet. But Russ showed up when it mattered, the team is never out with him at QB and everyone knows it. Being sacked 5x, Russ was under pressure all night and was never able to get into the deep passing game yet he was still able to do what was needed for the win.

Shaquill Griffin

Going into the week, a lot of the talk surrounding the game was about the 49ers defense but the seahawks defense got the last laugh. He finished the day with an elite PFF coverage rating of 90 and made a few plays on the ball late in the game that truly was to marvel at. His football awareness grows by the day and he’s been doing the little things right that have yielded great results.

Shaq shadowed Sanders early on in the game and was doing well before the Seahawks felt more comfortable with him back in the LCB position. But the Seahawks showed great trust in their young CB and really feels like they have a reincarnation of Sherm back in the secondary (minus the banter).

Key Takeaways

Really taking a step back and analyzing the game allows you to notice how truly sloppy the game was lol. Both sides gave up the ball way too much and felt like they were playing a game of hot potato. But you can also see that as stingy defense and great game planning by the DCs of each squad. Everyone was fighting, whether its extra yards or to punch the ball out, they fought.

The Seahawks need to take care of the ball. Lucky for them, the 49ers had the same issues. But the scary part being that this isn’t just a fluke. The Seahawks have had fumble issues all year long and it really needs to be cleaned up cause you can’t expect to win football games when you fumble twice in the same play (I’m looking at you Ifedi). Lucky for the offense the defense was spectacular.

Led by Clowney, Wagner, and Diggs the defense really showed up for primetime football.

Clowney was a one-man wrecking crew and his target was Jimmy G. That pass rush was able to feed off of Clowney and players like Reed and Jefferson were able to step up big for the pass rush as well and both collect a few pressures. Seahawks collected 5 sacks and 10 QB hits against a 49er offense that looked lost. IF the defensive front can recreate anything that resembles those results than expect the Seahawks to push far into the playoffs.

Still missing from action is Ziggy Ansah and he really doesn’t look like the same player out there. The Seahawks tried to rotate in Shaquem Griffin but neither of them were able to do much of anything opposite of Clowney. So it’s crazy to think just how much better this group could’ve performed if they were to have got pressure from all four down lineman.

Wagner, Wright, and Kendricks played well all night, especially late in the game when they started to key in more on the check-downs and reads that Jimmy was making (could’ve come away with 2 interceptions to ice the game). The LBs were able to do a lot because of how well that DL controlled the LOS and set up LBs with prime opportunities to make plays on the ball carrier. SF was only able to collect 87 yards on the ground but have averaged over 160 yards all year. I don’t think the 49ers expected to have needed to abandon the run so early and it really worked in the Seahawks favor.

Like any great game, special teams was the deciding factor in who should win. Lucky for the Seahawks, Robbie Gould wasn’t active and the 49ers had to rely on a rookie kicker. Though McLaughlin had a great game all night, he wasn’t able to do it when it mattered as he shanked a possible game-winning FG in OT. I still feel that the rookie exceeded all expectations and when Gould is back, will likely get picked up by another kicker needy team in the NFL. But for Seattle, Jason Myers was able to stand up to the pressure. He was 2/2 on FGs for the day and it included the winning FG as time expired in OT.

People need to be talking about the coaching staff of this game more. Ken Norton Jr. and Brian Schottenheimer called great games, they were able to neutralize what the 49ers were good at while also protecting their own weakness.

Ken Norton Jr. was blessed with a great pass rush this week, but the team’s success all lies upon their ability to stop the run. They were able to do that all game long (minus a few breakthroughs) while also scheming a way to keep Jimmy G under pressure which took the pressure off of the somewhat sketchy DB play.

Schotty has been amazing so far this year, his offense has been able to do whatever they wanted when they wanted with Russ at QB but the 49ers were a whole different monster. The Seahawks couldn’t run their usual long-developing PA pass cause the 49er DL would’ve had a field day. Instead, Schotty relied on the quick passing game and just schemed players open. Players like DK weren’t able to run their usual route tree but he still found ways to get them open and the ball in their hands. Hats off to Schotty for really keeping the 49er defense quieter than usual and letting Russ do what he does best.

This game felt like a playoff game and it’s amazing to see that the players stood up to the challenge. The veteran leadership stepped up late in the game and it truly is a momentum builder (don’t dare tell me momentum isn’t a real thing). Seahawks now have a bye week which is needed as Lockett had to stay at a local hospital overnight for precautionary reasons. Time for the players to heal up and get ready for the remaining schedule.



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