How is that for a statement? Following their 42-13 whooping of the still likely division winners and Super Bowl contender 49ers, any doubts about the legitimacy of this Seahawks team’s scoring rampage over the last few weeks just went out the window. The weak competition excuse really doesn’t come into effect when you play a team with a better record than yours. Even though they didn’t get a third 50 burger, the Seahawks will settle for an average of 50 points in the last three games.
As for the 49ers – how’s about a little soul searching. San Francisco was outplayed in every aspect of the game, and in comparison to the Seahawks looked disinterested for large portions of the outing. Something the score reflects all too well.
The Seattle offense was once again painfully efficient, and took full advantage of the amazing field position that the special teams and defense were giving them. They ran and threw the ball very well, with Russell Wilson once again working the read-option plays masterfully. They are borderline impossible to prepare for as an opposing defender, and all the more difficult to read if you can’t see the quarterback behind offensive linemen twice his size. The yardage -- once again -- wasn’t amazing for Wilson, but it didn’t need to be. He had great field position all day and would take advantage of it with 4 touchdowns through the air. Two of those touchdowns went to last year’s leading receiver in Seattle, Doug Baldwin, who had a great game stepping up for the injured Sidney Rice.
The 49ers would have no such success on offense. The noise of the crowd was as, if not more, disruptive than advertised and would lead to unnecessary timeouts being used like it was going out of style (plus 2 delay of game penalties). The Niners ground game couldn’t get anything going – a perfect example of that being Frank Gore’s season low 28 yards on 6 carries. The pass attack didn’t fare much better. Vernon Davis left the game early after suffering a concussion on one of the meanest, and cleanest hits I’ve ever seen on a tight end in my life; Mario Manningham would also leave with a knee injury.
After all this talk of the two top scoring defenses going head-to-head on Sunday, I wasn’t expecting the Niners to look like what they had been hyped to be. Instead, they looked just awful out there. Blown coverage, nonexistent pressure on Russell Wilson, and an unwillingness to tackle Marshawn Lynch plagued the Niners all game. The absence of Justin Smith could account for a lot of their troubles with the Seahawks attack, but it’s hardly a viable excuse.
The Seahawks led by the Legion of Boom (minus Brandon Browner) were dominant. Kam Chancellor was playing some of the most physical football I’ve seen all year, Richard Sherman wasn’t getting beat, and some of the hits they made were just unreal. Sherman’s performance sticks out the most for me though. Sherman would return a blocked field goal 90 yards for a touchdown, and intercept a Kaepernick pass as well. Gotta hope his suspension gets overturned if you’re a Seahawks fan, because he has been nothing short of amazing this season and continued that level of play on Sunday.
The Seahawks have now outscored their opponents 150-30 in their last 3 games, including a shutout of the Cardinals. They have now become the team nobody in the league wants to meet in the playoffs, and are considered the hottest team in the league right now. If the opposition wasn’t on notice yet, they really should be now. As for the 49ers, they just need to regroup, beat an awful Cardinals team and maintain home field. All is not lost. But at the same time, you have to wonder if their all too short run as the top dogs in the NFC West is at an end.