Seahawks Instant Reaction: 49ers knock Seattle out of playoffs 41-23
The Seahawks’ season came to an abrupt ending Saturday as the 49ers raced away from Seattle in the second half to win their NFC Wild Card matchup 41-23 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
The Hawks had their moments, even taking the lead into halftime after a big second quarter. It was all Niners after the break, however, allowing the NFC West champs to move onto the divisional round next weekend.
As we do after each Seahawks game, we have collected the thoughts of the voices of Seattle Sports 710 AM on the Hawks loss. See what they have to say below, and be sure to tune into the station all day Monday for much more reaction, conversation and analysis on the Seahawks, including on The Pete Carroll Show with the head coach live at 9:30 a.m.
Stacy Rost – Bump and Stacy (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
The 49ers were the best team this year in yards after catch. They were the top defense and the No. 2 team in DVOA. They were so good that they got down to their third-string quarterback and it still didn’t stop them from winning 10 in a row. In a surprising turn of events, it may even have helped.
But hearing about how great an opponent is doesn’t help soften the blow when the opponent beats you. Especially not when you were leading at the half as a 10-point underdog, and especially not when they took a three-score lead afterward.
The Seahawks’ season is officially over. Over the coming months there will be plenty of talk to be had and important decisions to be made. Will Geno Smith return? What will they do with the No. 5 overall pick? A few of those discussions are starting tonight. This is a team that struggled with tackling and play from the front seven through a good portion of the season, and that weakness showed up again in their Wild Card loss.
But let at least one of those discussions – through your well-earned rants – be about what the team did well. Full disclosure: I expected five to six wins, tops, from this team in 2022. They’d been 31st against the pass for two years and moved on from their two best and most-established players. Instead, they won nine and made it to the playoffs. This is less about praising a moral victory and more highlighting that in a year where Seattle was supposed to take a step forward, they did – with a 1,000-yard rusher (Kenneth Walker III), two 1,000-yard receivers (DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett) and a quarterback that set a new franchise record in single-season yardage (Geno Smith).
But stats don’t feel like a Super Bowl win, and it’s what this team and franchise have been craving since their last visit nearly a decade ago.
So perhaps end with this thought – consider it some tough medicine with a little sugar: the Seahawks lost big to a better team on Saturday. A team ultimately should have (and did) win. But for the first time in a long while, Seattle is entering the offseason with the capital to close the gap.
Mike Salk – Brock and Salk (6-10 a.m.)
Total system failure. After a great second quarter and a halftime lead, the Seahawks completely imploded in every way.
Offense? Two turnovers and a brutal pair of penalties that led to a crucial three-and-out. I have never seen three ineligible downfield penalties in the same game, let alone a single half.
Defense? Complete inability to stop run, the pass or the big play. Tackling issues, communication problems, you name it.
Yes, this Niners team makes it difficult by pressuring you in every phase of the game. But it sure looked like the cumulative effect of dealing with those challenges caught up with Seattle in a big way.
This Seahawks team deserves a ton of credit, though. They did more and went farther than anyone thought they could. They have a tremendous young nucleus and the ability to add to it this offseason. They will be back and better than before. And when they get to this spot next time, they should have more experience and more talent to weather the storm.
Bob Stelton – Wyman and Bob (2-7 p.m.)
The Seahawks were looking great at the half. They were up 17-16, Geno Smith was 9-of-10 passing for 104 yards and a touchdown. The defense held 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy to 9 of 19 for 147 yards and a TD. Then… the 49ers became the 49ers in the second half.
The Hawks’ offense in the second half had four possessions. They went fumble, punt, interception and finall a TD in garbage time trailing 41-17 with 1:48 left in the game. Meanwhile, the 49ers had five possessions in the second half and went TD, TD, TD, field goal, end of game. Both sides of the ball fell apart in the second half, and a team as good as the 49ers will make you pay – and that’s exactly what they did!
The bottom line is that the 49ers are just a better team right now and that’s what we saw in the second half of this game. Despite how this game and season ended, this was a tremendous year!
The Hawks were projected by just about everybody in the football world to be a 4-6 win team that was taking a step back before moving forward. They were far better than anybody thought they would be, and this experience for so many rookies that were crucial to the team’s success this season is going to speed up their development even more.
There are so many reasons to be excited about this team moving forward. I can’t wait to see what they do in the draft and also see how this rookie class comes into next season with a year like this under their belt.
Mike Lefko – Wyman and Bob
It was a valiant effort and tremendous fight from the Seahawks, but we ultimately saw why the 49ers are one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl this year.
To pull off a win the Seahawks needed to be perfect, and they nearly were until the strip sack in the red zone in the third quarter. That proved to be the decisive blow in a quarter where they only touched the ball once.
There was simply no margin for error, and a 49ers team that led the NFL with a plus-13 turnover margin this season came away with the biggest one of the game. You could see and feel how the emotion and energy deflated from the Seahawks after that turnover and the subsequent 49ers touchdown.
It was always going to be a monumentally tough task to slow down the 49ers’ offense, and the defense did finally break in the second half, but it kept the Seahawks in the game by holding San Francisco to 1 for 5 on third down and to three field goals in the first half.
There were a lot of positives to take away from the loss and a lot to feel good about heading into the offseason. Rookie running back Kenneth Walker III was healthy for the first time against the 49ers this season, and he made an immediate impact in the first half with the Seahawks carving out 82 yards rushing on 20 carries. Credit a young Seahawks team for the initial resiliency after falling behind 10-0 for the comeback in the first half. Everything they struggled with in the first two matchups against the 49ers was handled well. They were 4 for 7 on third down in the first half, including a stretch of 4 for 4 that spanned a 14-play, 78-yard touchdown drive and was capped by a 50-yard touchdown pass from Geno Smith to DK Metcalf.
Let’s end on another reason for optimism: 32 Seahawks made their playoff debut in this game. The future is bright.