BRANDON GUSTAFSON

Seahawks beat 49ers 28-21: The numbers that stand out from the win

Oct 3, 2021, 4:54 PM | Updated: Oct 4, 2021, 11:46 am

The Seahawks looked to avoid losing three games in a row for the first time since 2011 when they traveled to Santa Clara to take on the San Francisco 49ers in Week 4.

Mission accomplished.

Seahawks 28, 49ers 21: Box score

The Seahawks came away with a 28-21 win over their NFC West rival and are now 2-2, and that’s big as they have a quick turnaround before hosting the 3-1 Los Angeles Rams on Thursday Night Football.

What numbers help paint the picture of how the Seahawks left Northern California with a much-needed “W”? Let’s dive in.

Third quarter points: 14

For some reason, the Seahawks just hadn’t figured the third quarter out prior to Week 4.

Part of that was due to the defense being on the field for long drives and keeping the offense on the sidelines, but that was also because Seattle failed to move the chains when given opportunities with the ball.

That wasn’t the case against the 49ers, with the Seahawks scoring two touchdowns in the quarter and Jason Myers hitting both extra-point tries.

Both touchdowns were vintage Russell Wilson. The first was a great 16-yard scramble from the QB, who turned on the jets to give Seattle its first lead of the game.

Even better though, was Wilson’s touchdown pass to Freddie Swain.

The 49ers brought extra rushers at Wilson, who eluded one rusher’s grasp, ran away from another and then threw a perfect pass to Swain on the sideline in the end zone.

The Seahawks have really struggled in the second half on offense this season, primarily the third quarter, so Sunday’s effort in Santa Clara was a very welcome sign, especially with a quick turnaround before hosting the Rams on Thursday.

Alex Collins’ yards: 78

Let’s be clear: Chris Carson was, is, and will remain, the Seahawks’ No. 1 running back. But having a capable back to come off the bench and get things done sure is nice.

In case you forgot, the Seahawks had the makings of a potent 1-2 punch at running back in 2019 with Carson doing his thing and 2018 first-round pick Rashaad Penny coming alive. Then, Penny tore his ACL, and it’s been the Carson show really ever since (though some Carlos Hyde was sprinkled in last year).

On Sunday against the 49ers, though, Carson struggled to get things going. He had 13 carries for just 30 yards (2.3 yards per carry) and only one catch for a yard. All in all, 14 touches for 31 yards. His longest rush of the game went for only 8 yards.

Enter Alex Collins.

Collins provided the Seahawks with a much-needed boost both on the ground and in the passing game, rushing 10 times for 44 yards with a long of 14 yards, and catching both of his targets for 34 yards. All in all, 78 total yards on 12 touches.

And that long rush of 14 yards? Yeah, it was key as it went for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks wound up winning by just the one score.

In previous games and seasons, if the Seahawks didn’t have Carson going, the run game was essentially null and void. But if Collins keeps looking like he did Sunday when coming in off the bench? More weapons is never a bad thing, especially for a first-year play-caller in offensive coordinator Shane Waldron.

Turnovers: +2

The Seahawks got two takeaways on defense and the 49ers got none. Guess who won the game?

Even though the Seahawks were unable to put points on the board after Quandre Diggs picked off Jimmy Garoppolo in the first quarter, Seattle did capitalize later in the game.

After Wilson’s rushing touchdown in the third quarter, San Francisco return man Trent Cannon muffed the ensuing kickoff, scooped it up, and then fumbled again. Seattle recovered it at the 49ers’ 14-yard line, and two plays later Wilson found Swain for another score, making it 21-7 and giving Seattle two scores in just 56 seconds.

The Seahawks entered the day without an interception and with just one takeaway defensively on the year. Seattle’s defense over the last two-plus years has struggled overall, but it’s done well to get the ball away from its opponents while giving the offense a chance to capitalize. The Seahawks were able to do that just enough in Week 4.

Time of possession: 28:20

In Seattle’s rather stunning Week 2 loss to the Tennessee Titans, the AFC South team had the ball for 42:33 compared to just 22:42 for the Seahawks.

Last week against the Minnesota Vikings wasn’t as bad, but still not ideal. The Vikings had the ball for 35:53 compared to 24:07 for the Seahawks.

Heck, even in Seattle’s lone win prior to Week 4, it lost the time of possession battle 35:47 to 24:13 against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1.

The Seahawks lost the time of possession battle for the fourth time in a row, but it was much closer. Seattle had the ball for 28:20 to San Francisco’s 31:40.

It was a struggle to move the ball and stay on the field in the first half for the Seahawks, but they were able to have much better results in the second half, which paid dividends when it came to holding onto the ball longer than in previous weeks.

The 49ers are also a good running team that is known to control the clock, and they employed rookie quarterback Trey Lance, a very gifted runner, in the second half.

That’ll work.

Third down defense: 2-14

No, the Seahawks’ offense wasn’t good on third down. That unit converted just two of its 10 tries.

The defense, though? Much better.

Sure, Seattle allowed San Francisco to convert 3 of 4 fourth-down tries, but two of those came on the 49ers’ final drive with time ticking away and the home team needing a successful onside kick after scoring a touchdown.

But back to third down.

As bad as the Seahawks were on third down on offense, the 49ers were worse, converting only 2 of 14 tries – one in each half.

That was a major emphasis for head coach Pete Carroll and his staff after allowing the Vikings to convert 9 of 14 third down tries.

Yes, the Seahawks allowed too many yards (457) again, and yes, there were clear issues in coverage early as well as in the third quarter with Deebo Samuel’s long touchdown reception. But being able to win on third downs gives this team a much better chance at coming out on top, like the Seahawks did on Sunday.

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Seahawks beat 49ers 28-21: The numbers that stand out from the win