The Seahawks steamrolled the 49ers, firing on special teams, defense and offense. But the biggest story to emerge from Sunday's blowout win was the injury to Wilson.
Here are five thoughts from the Seahawks’ 37-18 win against the 49ers on Sunday at CenturyLink Field:
1. Everything went right for the Seahawks — except for the injury to quarterback Russell Wilson
The Seahawks steamrolled the 49ers, firing on special teams, defense and offense. But the biggest story to emerge from the blowout win was the injury to Wilson, who tried to evade a defender, was pulled down and injured his left knee.
After the play, he stayed down, got up gingerly and walked slowly to the sideline. He sat out one play — the first play he’s ever missed because of injury as a Seahawk — and returned for the next play.
Wilson finished the drive, but not the game. It’s likely he would have kept playing if the game were closer; it looked like he was lobbying coach Pete Carroll to let him return.
But the physical pounding is starting to add up for Wilson. He suffered a high ankle sprain to his right leg in Week 1, which limited his mobility in Week 2. He looked more agile, more explosive, but he was moving slowly on the sideline.
Wilson has proved he can be successful from inside the pocket, but scrambling is still so much of his game. The Seahawks thrive on the chaos he creates.
We won’t have any updates about Wilson’s injury until after the game and even then won’t know more likely until Monday. But it’s a troubling trend.
2. Jimmy Graham made an amazing catch, but there was also a small little reminder there, too
The 49ers jumped offsides, Wilson took his get-out-of-jail free card and chucked a deep pass to Graham in double coverage — and Graham went up, stole it from 49ers safety Eric Reid and caught it. It was amazing, a monster play that left Graham and some of his teammates flexing.
It was also the type of play Graham can make, given the chance. Much has been made about the sometimes weird fit between Graham, Wilson and the Seahawks, including by me.
One of Graham’s special abilities is his ability to make a catch in traffic — he can make catches because of his size and athletic ability that other players simply can’t make. And one of the areas where Wilson and Graham haven’t quite clicked have been on those types of plays, where Wilson gives him a chance to just go make a play.
Graham’s catch on Sunday was a no-risk throw for Wilson because of the penalty, but maybe it was also a very clear reminder that Graham can make those kinds of plays for Wilson if he gives him the chance.
3. The redemption of Christine Michael continues
The long and strange journey of Michael has been documented: second-round pick with huge potential, maturity issues, cut, bounced around teams, brought back to Seattle as an injury replacement and then his improved focus and play.
Michael rushed for 106 yards against the 49ers, just the second 100-yard game of his career. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns, his first touchdowns as a pro.
He wasn’t supposed to be the starter this season, but Thomas Rawls was limited in Week 1 after offseason surgery, suffered a different injury in Week 2 and couldn’t play Week 3 against San Francisco.
That left Michael as the main ball carrier, and he looked explosive. Most important, what he showed in the preseason — the potential he’s always had — has mostly translated to the regular season.
4. Doug Baldwin continues to show last season wasn’t a fluke.
Baldwin had eight catches, 164 yards and a touchdown. It was the most yards and tied for the most catches he’s ever had in a game. And yet the funny thing is it didn’t feel that unusual.
What I mean is: Baldwin had a career receiving day, and while it was clear he had a really good game, it wasn’t that out of the ordinary. That’s the standard Baldwin has set over the last year. It’s early, but he’s on pace for more than 100 catches this season and well over 1,000 yards receiving. He’s caught a touchdown pass in two of the first three games as well.
He’s looked like he looked for the second half of last season.
5. The defense was dominant again
The only problem the Seahawks’ defense had in the first two games of the season: They didn’t get any turnovers and flip field position for the offense.
They did both those things against the 49ers and just about completely shut down San Francisco’s offense.
The 49ers scored their two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, well after the game was decided. They scored their field goal after taking over deep in Seattle territory.
I thought Kam Chancellor had his best game of the season. He delivered big hits, flew around the field and broke up a pass in single coverage against a tight end. As he does when he’s at his best, he made his presence felt.
The Seahawks have allowed 37 points through three games; 24 teams had allowed more points than that before Sunday’s games had even started.