Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 26-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night at CenturyLink Field:
What a tale of two halves this turned out to be for the Seahawks’ offense. The first half was one big hot mess, as Seattle was shut out and managed a mere 79 yards. The second half was a complete transformation, as the Seahawks scored touchdowns on each of their first three drives, then came millimeters from the winning TD on their fourth. Quarterback Russell Wilson was a third down-conversion machine in the second half, Travis Homer was something of a revelation as the makeshift No. 1 running back, and even Marshawn Lynch showed some life in his first game back.
Overall, this was a bad performance by Seattle’s defense. The Seahawks had all kinds of tackling issues and gave up explosive plays left and right — and this wasn’t confined to the first half, as San Francisco twice marched down the field for touchdowns in the second half after Seattle had cut the deficit to a single score. The one positive for the defense is that it came up with stops at perhaps the two most important junctures of the game — getting a three-and-out on the first possession of the second half, and then again with less than three minutes remaining in the game.
Special teams weren’t much of a factor in this one, but what little there were Seattle did well. Punter Michael Dickson gave the Seahawks the field-position advantage in the first half, and that may have played a role in the 49ers having to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns on two occasions. David Moore had one punt return that was effective, Tyler Lockett had one kickoff return that was less so.
First off, give the coaches credit for whatever they said at halftime, because what was headed to blowout city transformed into a game that needed a tackle at the goal line with 9 seconds remaining to preserve a San Francisco victory. However, there was plenty to question in the first half, from the handling of Lynch’s rollout to the play call on fourth-and-inches to the use of timeouts. And the situation where the Seahawks took a delay-of-game penalty at the goal line in the final minute, thus taking the run out of play — as well as a potentially crowning moment for Lynch — was inexcusable.
What a tremendous game, the second classic played between these two teams this season, and perhaps it was fitting that they ended up with the split. Seattle easily could have called it a day after the first half, considering the Seahawks couldn’t get a first-round playoff bye no matter the result, yet they stuck with it and nearly came up with a tremendous comeback. Instead, San Francisco gets to hang an NFC West championship banner, and Seattle has to settle for a wild card. As the No. 5 seed, the playoff road is going to be a long for the Seahawks to get to the Super Bowl.