The Seahawks lost an overtime thriller to the San Francisco 49ers, 26-23 on Sunday, and to this I say? Good. The Seahawks had not lost to the 49ers since 2013. That’s a long time for a football team to beat another football team twice a year (with a pretty memorable bonus playoff win mixed in for color). It was time for us to lose. It's nice for a plucky group that's been through so much to get a moral-boosting win. And frankly, I'm not that concerned.
Losing in overtime on a bad call on the road to a team that is not good, but is better than their record indicates is no reason to panic. These things happen. That said, losing to a bad team and potentially leaving “making the playoffs” to Week 17 is plenty of reason to be a bit nervous. Let’s break down this bad and dumb game:
• It's hard to remember, but the game started ludicrously well for the Seahawks, who stopped the 49ers and then immediately went run heavy and dominated San Francisco behind a ferocious Chris Carson. Chris Carson is so good. So relentless. This was followed up with a TD pass to Doug Baldwin on a fade. Everything was working for Seattle early. And then… not so much.
• Of course, the first drive ended with a missed extra point from Sebastian Janikowski and then was followed up by a kick return touchdown. In a game that went to overtime, two atrocious plays by the kicking team wound up deciding the outcome a mere five minutes into the proceedings. Cool. Good. Good and cool.
• Michael Dickson meanwhile dropped his first punt at the one. He dropped his second punt on the one. If you were to ask me to play FMK with just Janikowski and Dickson, it’s the F and the M with the rookie punter from Australia. One question: why are you asking me to do this? Well, really, since this is written… why am I asking myself to do this?
• The Seahawks penalty situation was dumb and bad all day. Some of the calls were atrocious. Some of the plays by the Seahawks were atrocious. Bobby Wagner couldn’t stop grabbing masks, the offensive line couldn't stop holding everything, referee Pete Morelli does not know what pass interference is, and Ethan Pocic… well, we’ll get to him. Let’s just say all of it was bad, and a throwback to the worst of last year’s dreary Seahawks performances.
• The Seahawks injury situation? Also dumb and bad all day. Losing Jordan Simmons, a guy I had not heard of until Week 3 of this season, was catastrophic with former prospect and current horror film Ethan Pocic forced into relief for him. That was bad. Also bad? Losing Bradley McDougald for most of the game. Without Earl Thomas around, McDougald is one of the most important players on the Seahawks, in the tier just below Russ and Bobby. Losing him sucked.
• The Seahawks defense still isn’t great. Despite a spectacular performance against Minnesota, this defense yields too many explosive plays, and is overly reliant on turnovers. The linebacking situation outside of Bobby Wagner is a mess with both KJ Wright and Mychal Kendricks out with knee injuries. That said? Giving up 16 points in regulation (taking out the kick return) should be enough against a middling 49ers team.
• The 49ers defense is not good either, though. It felt like the Seahawks could get what they needed both running and passing the ball. The receiving corps, though refreshed with Doug Baldwin’s return to the lineup, still isn’t great, but everything they did should have been enough to smash this 49ers team. So what the hell went wrong??
The Seahawks did not play with a killer instinct. I had been falling in love with former enemy Brian Schottenheimer over the past few weeks, enacting the plot of some '90s romantic comedy. But this week was the scene where I realize he had placed a bet that said he couldn’t make me fall for him, and I did, and now I’m realizing it may have all been a lie. Aside from a couple of nice passes to running backs, there wasn’t much in Seattle’s scheming that was interesting against San Francisco. And the sequencing? YIKES. Lots of ill-advised runs where runs should not happen, and passes where a run would have sufficed. It was bad Brian, and now my heart is torn.
Was this just a week of playing down to a bad opponent determined to win at any cost? Or are the Seahawks kinda shmedium? Both. The bad news? The Chiefs are coming to Seattle next week. And they are very good at football. Hopefully, the Seahawks remember how to be themselves so as to avoid making week 17 against Arizona into a must-win.