Rost: Seahawks needed the big play that never came in loss to 49ers

Dec 15, 2022, 8:32 PM | Updated: 9:23 pm

Seahawks 49ers Travis Homer...

Jimmie Ward and Dre Greenlaw of the 49ers force a fumble by Seahawks RB Travis Homer. (Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images)

The Seahawks needed a play early in the fourth quarter.

That’s obvious, really. They needed to make several plays before then, too. But with about 13 minutes remaining in regulation, down by 15, this was more than a snap – it was an opportunity. And you need to take advantage of rare opportunities against a good team.

The Seahawks pinned the San Francisco 49ers at their own 1-yard line with a rookie quarterback behind center and fans screaming at the back of his head. Primetime lights. Pressure high.

The 49ers didn’t do much with the drive, save pick up a single first down to move to their 15-yard line, but the chance was there for the Seahawks’ defense to make a play: a safety, a forced fumble, an interception, anything. Those kinds of plays are exciting because they don’t happen easily nor on every drive, which also means it’s not quite fair to expect the defense to have made a play there.

To the Seahawks’ credit, they forced a punt. But against good teams who are up big, you need to get lucky. And Seattle didn’t.

49ers 21, Seahawks 13: Recap |Β Instant Reaction | Box score

That moment doesn’t reflect poorly on the defense, which did what it was supposed to do. Instead, it highlights that another lackluster outing by Seattle came down to a few great plays from San Francisco, a bit of luck, and a better roster.

The Seahawks have two promising rookie tackles, but they had their work cut out against one of the best defensive fronts in football (49ers edge Nick Bosa had 14.5 sacks entering this game).

Seattle’s defense was short its starting nose tackle (Al Woods) and his backup (Bryan Mone, who suffered an early knee injury Thursday night) against a tough 49ers offensive line headed up by left tackle Trent Williams, one of the best players in football (you can see him bulldoze his way over the line on Christian McCaffrey’s touchdown run).

Rookie running back Kenneth Walker III needed to get back into the groove of things – good luck against the league’s top rushing defense.

Seattle allowing the second-most rushing yards in the league up to this point is concerning, but there’s not as much from this game that feels shocking because, well, you might’ve seen it coming. This game – and the Seahawks’ next against Kansas City – is exactly why those earlier losses against the Falcons, Saints, Panthers and Buccaneers are so costly. Beating a tough opponent is difficult enough; don’t beat yourself against a struggling team.

I won’t sit here and make excuses for a loss – this team certainly isn’t. There were penalties, negative plays, bad throws, a touchdown to 49ers tight end George Kittle in broken coverage. Avoidable mistakes for a squad that wants to be a playoff team. But I’ll say this: this is a loss that might have you focusing less on the final stat sheet and more on the options to improve this team with two first-round picks. Because part of Seattle’s efforts to truly compete with the best might need to start in April.

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