Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 27-24 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night at Levi’s Stadium:
What a crazy game for Seattle’s offense. Playing against the NFL’s best defense, the Seahawks turned the ball over four times, and quarterback Russell Wilson didn’t put up his usual eye-popping numbers. But Seattle was good converting in the red zone, and the offense moved the Seahawks into scoring position both toward the end of regulation and at the death in overtime, and Wilson was able to make the magic happen with his legs at the absolute critical junctures.
Seattle’s defense, which has been much maligned, came up with its best performance of the season. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was an absolute destroyer as he demonstrated just why the Seahawks traded for him, and he also scored a touchdown on a fumble return — one of three takeaways that led to all three Seahawks touchdowns. The pass rush, which has been the team’s Achilles heel, was much better as Seattle sacked 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo five times. And when things looked grim following a turnover in OT that gave the 49ers the ball with tremendous field position, the defense held San Francisco to a 47-yard field goal attempt, which stand-in kicker Chase McLaughlin shanked.
Kicker Jason Myers earned all kinds of redemption as, one week after missing from 40 yards to win the game at the end of regulation against Tampa Bay, he made a 46-yarder with 1:45 remaining in regulation that gave Seattle a 24-21 lead, then nailed a 42-yarder as time expired in overtime to win it. Punter Michael Dickson had one shanked punt, but it didn’t end up costing the Seahawks, and he was otherwise effective. Tyler Lockett had one good punt return that gave Seattle a chance to score points at the end of the first half.
Seattle, facing the league’s last unbeaten team on the road, got everything right. On defense the Seahawks packed the box to take away the league’s No. 2 rushing offense, and they threw the kitchen sink at San Francisco in the pass rush to harry Garoppolo. On offense Seattle neutralized the league’s most dominant defensive line with a series of short passes and misdirection plays. And Pete Carroll did the right thing when he talked himself out of going for it on fourth down to let Myers kick the field goal late in the fourth quarter.
This was a tremendous game, with wild momentum swings that could have seen either team win. But Seattle showed it not only can stay with a team that’s arguably the best in the NFC, it was able to withstand every punch and land the last one. The NFC West is up for grabs now, with the Seahawks entering their by week just a half-game behind the 49ers, and the season-concluding rematch in Seattle now looms large.
– Nick Patterson, Herald writer