SANTA CLARA, Calif. — For aesthetics?
Give Seattle’s 27-24 overtime victory over San Francisco an F. Maybe that seems harsh but this was hardly artful, the two teams combining for seven fumbles, two interceptions and enough head-scratching moments to fill a season’s worth of games.
But for grit, guts, determination — and what it means for Seattle’s season — give that one an A.
If Seattle really wanted to win the NFC West this season, this was a game the Seahawks had to win — especially once it started to prove so winnable.
And Seattle got that done, even if in some of the most unlikely fashion possible.
No one figured this would be one of Russell Wilson’s better statistical games going against one of the two best defenses in the NFL. But Wilson made two really costly and uncharacteristic mistakes — the fumble that led to the fumble that led to the touchdown that got the 49ers back in it — and then the interception in overtime. Still, he also made some really big plays that got Seattle ahead late in regulation and then on the overtime drive to win it. And as much as anything, he made fewer mistakes than did his 49er counterpart.
Again, numbers figured to be hard to come by. And Chris Carson did some hard running — 89 yards on 25 carries — that led to some key gains. But he also had a fumble that luckily didn’t cost Seattle while Rashaad Penny had one that did.
The loss of Tyler Lockett to a bad lower leg bruise made it difficult for Seattle, as did the 49ers’ great secondary. But Josh Gordon showed in limited action what he could mean to the Seahawks and Malik Turner came up huge at the end. DK Metcalf also had a couple of big catches but also struggled in some man situations and had another costly turnover.
And then there was one, with Jacob Hollister having to play the second half and beyond as the only tight end after Luke Willson left with a hamstring injury. It’s unclear how long Willson might be out. Hollister could hardly have done more, leading off with his amazing one-handed, pinned-to-the-helmet touchdown grab.
There were a few down moments, especially early, and Wilson was sacked five times. But it didn’t feel as bad as it could have been. Germain Ifedi, though, should never try to run with the ball again. But give Duane Brown a ton of credit for the tackle on the interception in overtime. Likewise, a gold star for Joey Hunt tracking down the fumble by Carson — Seattle scored two plays later to take the lead at 14-10.
Finally, the breakthrough for the line everybody has been hoping for. Jadeveon Clowey played at an All-Pro level, and Jarran Reed and Poona Ford also were really good — they combined for the sack that led to the fumble that Clowney returned for a touchdown. Al Woods also had a sack and helped with the effort to contain the 49ers’ running game. The 49ers have been one of the best running teams in the NFL and had both starting tackles back. But Seattle held them to 87 yards and 3.2 yards per carry, as big of a reason for the victory as any.
Again, the run stat says a lot about what the linebackers did, and they had their hands on a lot of balls — too bad they didn’t catch a couple more. Mychal Kendricks also had a good run on the pass that turned into an interception. And Seattle used Shaquem Griffin as a pass rusher for the first time all season.
It was really shaky early with all those slants. But the 49ers losing Emmanuel Sanders to injury helped, and the Seahawks also just played better down the stretch. Quandre Diggs got the start at free safety and Seattle gave up only one pass of longer than 16 yards all night — that’s what Pete Carroll wants. Diggs had the huge interception and a few big hits. Shaquill Griffin had a vital breakup on the 49ers’ last possession on a third down and Bradley McDougald also was quietly solid. The 49ers would argue they have played most or all of the game without their two best receivers, George Kittle and Emmanuel Sanders.
Give Jason Myers credit for handling the disappointment of last week to come back and hit two critical kicks against the 49ers. Michael Dickson had one bad punt but also had a few that helped pin the 49ers back. And the coverage teams were solid.