Rost’s Takeaways: Seahawks-49ers still delivers primetime drama
They should’ve been left in primetime after all.
You can hardly blame the NFL for flexing the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers out of the Sunday night slot. The Seahawks had three wins heading into Week 13 and ranked 31st in total offense and 32nd in total defense (though the latter has been improving over the past couple weeks). The 49ers have fared better this year, yet still sit in third place in the NFC West.
But on Sunday afternoon, a once great rivalry proved it could still be pretty great. Granted, it took the Seahawks most of the first half to get there.
Seattle struck first with a 73-yard touchdown run from Travis Homer, who received the snap directly on a fake punt on the first drive of the game. But that was about the only thing that worked for the Seahawks early.
Their second drive ended with a Gerald Everett fumble that turned into a 49ers touchdown, the third drive ended with a punt, and the fourth led to a missed field goal. The missed field goal drive might’ve been a low point; not because of the missed field goal itself, but because a drive that began just outside the red zone at one point saw a second-and-43 from the Seahawks’ own 39. Seattle ended the first quarter down 14-7 with no first downs and seven net yards on offense.
Then came a more familiar version (though less recently so) of Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense. It all started with a 12-yard pass from Wilson to wide receiver DK Metcalf, which gave Seattle a first down for the first time all game. Running back Adrian Peterson, along with a moving wall of offensive linemen, picked up four yards for the first successful third-down conversion. Wilson dropped a 33-yard dime to Metcalf to bring the Seahawks to the 4-yard line and two plays later Peterson scored his 126th career touchdown behind a block from fullback Nick Bellore, a score that narrowed San Francisco to a field goal lead.
After that, it was primetime drama in the middle of the day.
Can the offense repeat this next week?
It’s tempting to assume the Seahawks’ offense is inching closer to looking like the unit fans expected to see to start the season, but it will have to prove it’s back on track before the Seahawks can command that much buy-in. They struggled with protection throughout the game and ended with a pair of rookies filling in for Brandon Shell and Kyle Fuller, the latter of whom was already playing in relief of the injured Damien Lewis.
Wilson was sacked four times. The offense also didn’t improve much on third down, finishing 5 of 15 (33%). There was also an ugly, ugly first quarter.
The good news? They won time of possession and were 3 of 5 in the red zone. They might’ve converted on four of five trips inside the 20 were it not for a pass to Everett near the goal line that he bobbled into the hands of a 49ers defender. The Seahawks also scored more than 15 points for the first time since Week 8 and saw a much better showing by Wilson, who threw 30 of 37 for 231 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
A glass half-empty look at the offense would tell you this is a group that has struggled to be consistent all season long and is now facing additional injuries along the offensive line. A glass half-full approach might feel optimistic about this group given the final stretch of the season: three of their last five opponents are the Houston Texans (2-10), Chicago Bears (4-8), and Detroit Lions (1-10-1).
A key Seahawks accomplishment
Stopping the 49ers’ run game was the biggest key heading into this game. San Francisco has averaged 130 rushing yards per game, buoyed by a stellar rookie season from Elijah Mitchell and staunch offensive line play. The Seahawks not only held them to 71 yards on the ground, but also put up 146 rushing yards themselves.
Is Jamal Adams going to miss time?
Adams missed the second half after exiting the game with a shoulder injury, later disclosed as a sprain in the same shoulder that he had surgically repaired this past offseason. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told reporters he didn’t have any additional updates as of Sunday evening.
Seattle remained competitive on defense without its Pro Bowl strong safety, but missing Adams for a significant amount of time would certainly sting – not just because he’s been improving over the course of the season, but also because Seattle is staring at its highest first-round pick in a decade, only it belongs to the New York Jets because of the trade for Adams.