BRANDON GUSTAFSON

Seahawks’ unsung heroes have big-time performances in win over 49ers

Dec 5, 2021, 6:15 PM | Updated: 7:31 pm
Seahawks Travis Homer...
Travis Homer #of the Seattle Seahawks runs a fake punt for a touchdown during the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seahawks snapped a three-game losing streak in rather eventful fashion, beating the San Francisco 49ers 30-23 Sunday in a game that had a bit of everything, complete with an epic finish for Seattle at the North End Zone of Destiny.

Instant Reaction: Seahawks beat 49ers 30-23

The Seahawks and 49ers each had some wild moments, with both teams committing three turnovers each and scoring one touchdown off the turnovers in total.

The big thing was that despite the Seahawks being carried by star players when at its best over the last few years, many unsung heroes and underrated players came up with massive plays that helped get Seattle back in the win column. And those players helped bail out a day to forget for one of Seattle’s playmakers on offense.

So, let’s dive into the latest wacky game at Lumen Field.

Everett with a day to forget

Seahawks tight end Gerald Everett is going to want to burn the tape after watching the film from this game.

Everett, who is in his first season in Seattle and has had a fairly big role on offense in recent weeks, was largely responsible for keeping the game as close as it was.

Everett had four catches for just seven yards on seven targets, which looks bad enough, but he was also at fault for all three of the Seahawks’ turnovers.

In the first quarter, Everett fumbled to give the ball to the 49ers deep in Seattle territory. San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo found star tight end George Kittle for a score one play later.

Later, Everett bobbled a would-be touchdown, allowing the 49ers to pick it off. And with Seattle at the goal line late with a chance to put the game away, Everett caught a shuffle pass but fumbled again back to San Francisco.

“That’s heartbreaking today because he’s a tough, competitive, come-through guy and those plays just went the other way,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.

Special teams truly special

The offense had its moments and the defense shut out the 49ers in the second half, but the Seahawks’ special teams really came through in a massive way.

It started with Travis Homer’s 73-yard rushing touchdown on a fake punt after a quick three-and-out to start the game.

Carroll said that the coaching staff identified something the 49ers do on punt returns in film study, which led to Homer’s second special teams score of the 2021 season.

“It was just an amazing play,” Carroll said.

Homer later recovered a fumble that was forced by special teams captain Nick Bellore.

Additionally, punter Michael Dickson had a big day, pinning the 49ers deep inside the 20-yard line twice and averaging over 50 yards per punt.

“He’s the best in the league,” safety Quandre Diggs said of the Seahawks punter.

Russell Wilson played better this game than he has in a while and Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf made a handful of plays as well. The defense forced two turnovers and came away with a big goal-line stand at the end of the game, but the Seahawks were stellar yet again on special teams, which really stole the show in the one-score victory.

Dunlap with two big plays

The Seahawks entered halftime down 23-21, but after the interception on the pass bobbled by Everett, defensive end Carlos Dunlap came up with his biggest play of the year – to that point, at least.

Dunlap has been pretty quiet this season after signing a two-year deal to stay in Seattle. Last year he had five sacks in eight games after a midseason trade, but he entered the day with just 0.5 sacks in 2021. He got the Seahawks’ lone sack of Sunday, and it was a huge one.

Dunlap wrapped up Garoppolo for a safety in the third quarter to tie the game 23-all. It wouldn’t be Dunlap’s biggest play of the game, either.

With the 49ers near the north end zone with just seconds remaining in the game and needing a touchdown and extra point to tie, Garoppolo dropped back to pass on fourth down.

Dunlap didn’t get much pressure, but he used his long arms to deflect the pass at the line, knocking it incomplete and securing a Seattle victory.

“A guy just hanging tough and believing … He totally came through,” Carroll said of Dunlap’s big moments after not being as productive this season. “The sack for the safety was gorgeous and then the play at the end knocking the ball up in the air. Huge plays. He was bringing the heat all night long.”

How ’bout two more?

The Seahawks had a number of key plays in this victory, and two players who have been reserves for the most part this year came up big.

The first is cornerback Sidney Jones.

Jones started the year backing up Tre Flowers before taking over as a starter, but then rookie Tre Brown took over and Jones went back to the bench.

Brown is now done for the year due to injury, and Jones got the start against the 49ers. He played a big part in Seattle’s goal-line stop to win the game, stuffing running back Elijah Mitchell on second down and breaking up a pass on third down before Dunlap’s swat on fourth down.

On the other side, rookie receiver Dee Eskridge had the best game of his young career.

After missing most of the season with a concussion he suffered in Week 1, Eskridge played only sparingly after his return a few weeks ago. He didn’t have a whole lot of snaps against the 49ers, either, but he caught three passes for 35 yards and a touchdown, the first of his career.

The Seahawks will look to build on Sunday’s win when they head to Houston for a 10 a.m. game next week against the 2-10 Texans. Coverage will be carried on 710 ESPN Seattle and KIRO Radio 97.3 FM starting the pregame show at 7 a.m.

Fast Facts: Seahawks outlast 49ers for chaotic win

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Seahawks’ unsung heroes have big-time performances in win over 49ers