Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 26-23 victory the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona:
For three quarters this was an abysmal showing by Seattle’s offense. Quarterback Russell Wilson was ineffective, having lost the range on the long ball, and the running game was missing in action. However, in the fourth quarter Wilson was back to his improvising best, and that was the main driver in the Seahawks overcoming a 10-point deficit. Receiver Tyler Lockett had another big day at State Farm Stadium (12 catches, 90 yards, two touchdowns) and the last of those receptions — which gave him 100 for the season — was essentially the game winner.
The defense did its job for most of the game, holding the 49ers to nine points through three quarters and coming up with the clinching strip sack late in the fourth. San Francisco’s final point tally was artificially boosted by a last-minute consolation touchdown that was of little consequence. But not all was perfect for a Seattle defense that has been strong down the stretch of the season. The 49ers were able to score on four consecutive possessions in route to building their 10-point lead, though the defense did get tough in the red zone to hold San Francisco to field goal on three of those, and the grade has to take into account the fact the 49ers were using their third-string quarterback.
Kicker Jason Myers capped off a remarkable regular season by making both his field goals to finish a perfect 24-for-24. However, he also missed an extra point, his fourth miss of the campaign, which is a head scratcher. Punter Michael Dickson was mostly his All-Pro self, but he also had one short punt that was also returned 21 yards — he had to make the tackle himself — giving San Francisco possession in the Seattle half. Coverage was otherwise excellent, while the return game was stunted by one block-in-the-back penalty. There was no drama on the 49ers’ desperation onside-kick attempt.
The offensive game plan through three quarters seemed uninspired and lacking in creativity. Indeed, early on it seemed like it was designed more to ensure Lockett (receptions) and DK Metcalf (receiving yardage) were able to break franchise records than anything else. One supposes one has to give credit for adjustments that turned things around in the fourth quarter, but how much of the turnaround was a result of Wilson’s improvisations? Defensively the blitz was mixed in well. Why in the world did the Seahawks risk a pitch play at the end instead of taking a knee?
It wasn’t the greatest performance to close out the season, and in the end the result was academic as Seattle finished with the same No. 3 playoff seed it entered the game with. But Seattle still enters the postseason on a four-game winning streak, having won 12 games for just the fifth time in franchise history. The Seahawks face a familiar foe in the first round of the playoffs as they host the Los Angeles Rams in what will be a rubber match between the two teams. However, injuries suffered by defensive stalwarts Jamal Adams and Jarran Reed could be concerning.
– Nick Patterson, Herald writer