The Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers in a scintillating 12-9 affair that had it all: dropped passes, big punts, stuffed runs, missed tackles, dropped passes, and more dropped passes! But in the end the Seahawks caught enough passes, made enough big stops, and found their rhythm in the running game, and wound up kneeling out a game that was in doubt for far too long.
Because a win is a win, no matter how ugly or negatively portentous, let’s skip any further preamble and dive straight into some bullet points:
• Those dropped passes: woof. WOOOOOF. 4th wide receiver Tanner McEvoy had two brutal drops, 3rd down running back and theoretical pass catching specialist C.J. Prosise had his own pair of awful drops, and receivers across the team failed to come down with some slightly overthrown passes that were on the edge of their catch radii. The Seahawks really outplayed the 49ers by a wider margin than the final score, which is good because the Niners are bad and the score was close. Dropped passes made things look closer than they were.
• The offensive line? Still bad! They were slightly better than last week, so that’s good, but man, they’re still real bad. On first watch, Mark Glowinski looked like the team’s worst performer this week, but his natural replacement Oday Aboushi didn’t suit up this week, so who knows if the Seahawks will do anything to fix things from the personnel side. Who knows?! Good times!
• God, the Seahawks defense is still legit at all three levels. They blew tackles on two big plays to San Francisco’s very good running Carlos Hyde, but otherwise kept things sewed up. The pass defense looked extraordinary, and yes, it was against Brian Hoyer and a pedestrian set of weapons on the other side, but they are coordinated by boy genius Kyle Shanahan who led the Falcons fearsome air attack last year. Completely shutting them down? That’s good! What’s not to like about that? Nothing!
• On a more specific note, no one is better than Michael Bennett. His ability to be a versatile rusher, moving across the line, and impact the run and pass with equal effect is near-unparalleled. Down the stretch, he was making more plays than anyone else on the field, and while Russell Wilson kneeled the game out, it was Bennett’s fourth quarter impact that allowed him to do so. Also, our country continues to suffer from structural inequality along racial lines, and Bennett continues to bring much needed attention to that.
• Uh, so I still watch and write about football, but yeesh, it’s not easy right now. The game is brutal, the owners vile, it’s a corporatized manifestation of white supremacy that damages the brains of players in ways that are still unknown due to the collusion and corruption of league officials.
Never forget to be extremely wary of every person in your life who has not experienced this last year as a personal moral emergency
— Jia Tolentino (@jiatolentino) August 15, 2017
I feel this sentiment weighing on me as I watch the games, and I feel complicit in writing about the NFL in Trump’s America. That said, this Seahawks’ team as a unit has contributed in enough positive ways that I can justify writing specifically about them to myself. But yeah, I just feel obligated to bring that up…
• by way of prelude to talk about how Paul Richardson caught the game’s lone touchdown, and that he did so after suffering a compound finger trying to catch a Russell Wilson underthrow in the first quarter. Which is to say on Sunday afternoon the bone of one of his fingers was sticking out from the skin, and AFTER THAT he caught a game winning touchdown pass in the NFL. Richardson has a well-earned reputation for being injury-prone, but that should never be mistaken for his being soft, or unwilling to play through pain. Because holy crap… finger bone out through the skin…. hooooly crap. That’s impressive and horrible, and goddamn wild. That catch won the game for Seattle. Sheesh. Sheeeeesh.
• Jon Ryan was so good on Sunday… maybe too good… which led to his wife Sarah Colonna to drop the Seahawks tweet of the week:
Punting across the league is better than it’s ever been. I feel like I haven’t seen a punt go through the back of the endzone all year. Glad to see Jon Ryan jump on that trend, even if I’d rather not see him at all.
• We’re at Defcon 4 with kicker Blair Walsh, who doinked a PAT off the upright. Remember though, the DEFCON system counts down, so 4 isn’t that bad.
• Also not that bad? The officiating. Bill Vinovich is a good official (despite his having presided over the largely well-officiated death of my heart in Super Bowl 49) and he did a good job in this one. Why am I pointing this out? So that all ya’ll who say Seahawks fans always bitch about the refs can see that we don’t, even when we’re in a squeaker against inferior opposition.
• The Seahawks have a new star running back in seventh round running back Chris Carson. The Seahawks accomplished what they wanted to with their run game, grinding the 49ers down over the course of the game to open them up late. Carson wound up with 93 yards on the ground. Meanwhile Eddie Lacy was a healthy scratch, Prosise was amongst the aforementioned ball-dropping crew, and Thomas Rawls struggled to get on track as he recovers from a high ankle sprain. This is Carson’s moment, I hope that he continues to make the most of it.
• Russell Wilson didn’t look great on Sunday. He overthrew some passes and ran into pressure a few times. That said when the team sped up the playcalling in the fourth quarter, and wore the thin San Francisco defense down he made enough plays to win. I can’t blame Russ his jumpiness in the pocket; while the offensive line was not the sewage-laden catastrophe it was in week one he had a lot of pressure in week two. That said, putting balls too high was a real problem, and nearly led to two turnovers that likely would have turned the game. It looked like it could have been rain-related? Has he maybe been spending too much time developing his app? Who knows. What I know is that Russ will have to play better next week in Tennessee for the Hawks to have a chance against a very frisky Titans squad.
And yeah, a win’s a win. And the Seahawks weren’t as bad as the scoreline would suggest. But they weren’t as good as they’ll need to be to beat a good team on the road. And the Titans are a very good team. So we’ll see. If they do win? They’ll be in great shape in both the division and conference. Hopefully they do!