Final: Seahawks 26, 49ers 23
1:25 p.m. | State Farm Stadium | Glendale, Ariz.
TV: FOX | Radio: 710 AM/97.3 FM | Stream: NFL Game Pass
Adam Jude's third-quarter observations
The Seahawks’ slim hopes for the No. 1 seed in the NFC are even slimmer at the moment:
Green Bay 21, Chicago 16.
New Orleans 26, Carolina 7.
Time to sit Russ
Given the outlook of those other two games, there is nothing to gain for the Seahawks in the fourth quarter. Win or lose, it appears they’re going to be locked in as the No. 3 seed. It’s time for Wilson — and most of the Seahawks starters — to take a seat. We’ve already seen Jarran Reed head back to the locker room with an abdominal injury. It’s not worth the risk. Sit them.
Kicking for a chance
Tristan Vizcaino, the former University of Washington kicker, is making the most out of his extended tryout with the 49ers. In his first NFL game, Vizcaino is 3 for 3 on field-goal attempts, converting from 36, 47 and 33 yards. His third field goal, midway through the third quarter, was set up by a tremendous, one-handed catch by 49ers tight end George Kittle for 41 yards, helping SF take a 9-6 lead.
Bob Condotta's halftime observations
How to play the second half?
The Seahawks are, so far, not getting the help they needed elsewhere with the Packers leading Chicago 21-13 and the Saints ahead of Carolina 16-7 as Seattle is ahead 6-3 at the half.
Will that impact how Seattle approaches the second half?
The guess here is that as long as even the No. 2 seed is in play, Seattle will try to get it (and the Seahawks get it with a win and a loss by either Green Bay or New Orleans) to potentially avoid a trip in the later rounds of the playoffs.
Defense holding firm
Seattle’s defense has now gone six quarters without allowing a touchdown, and has only allowed two in the last 15 dating to the Giants game.
The Seahawks need it with the way the offense is playing (more on that in a moment).
The 49ers basically had just one play, the 45-yard completion on third-and-14. Otherwise, the 49ers have just 50 yards on 23 plays.
The defense has now earned any benefit of the doubt that people might want to throw its way.
But about that offense
Seattle’s offense, though, isn’t calming any worries so far, with just 106 yards on 32 plays, 3.3 per play, which would be by far a season low.
Seattle isn’t getting any running game going -- 27 yards on 11 carries with a long of seven yards -- and that’s especially worrisome.
The Seahawks also are being forced to settle for a lot of short stuff in the passing game once again -- Russell Wilson is 11 of 19 but for just 101 yards with 55 coming on two plays. Seattle needs more of those to put this one away and feel better heading into the playoffs.
Adam Jude's first-quarter observations
Great start for Seattle’s defense
The 49ers, again starting third-string QB C.J. Beathard, managed just one first down and 29 yards on their first 12 plays. Seattle safety Jamal Adams was untouched when he blitzed off the edge and forced Beathard to throw a pass away on third down, forcing SF to punt again on its second series. It’s been a defensive battle both ways so far. Jason Myers’ field goal — his 34th consecutive mark — has the Seahawks leading 3-0 entering the second quarter.
Tyler Lockett looks ready for the playoffs
Lockett, who has been relatively quiet over the past five weeks, was busy in then first quarter — catching all four of his targets for 20 yards (two first downs). Lockett came into Sunday needing seven receptions to break the franchise record (which stands at 94). Lockett also needed 36 yards for his second straight 1,000-yard season.
There are several other NFC games that will ultimately help decide the Seahawks’ playoff outlook, but two in particular are worth following closely. As of typing this, here are the scores:
New Orleans 7, Carolina 7.
Green Bay 7, Chicago 7.
Seahawks' 2021 schedule almost set
The end of the 2020 regular season also means that the 2021 schedule is now set -- with one caveat.
And that caveat is that the league is expected to add a 17th game for the 2021 season. It is thought that game will be an interconference contest against a team that finished in the same place in a corresponding division, with speculation that for Seattle that will mean a game against AFC North winner Pittsburgh, though unclear if that would be home or road. One thought is that home and road will rotate each year by conference, meaning every AFC team would host one year, every NFC team the next, etc.
But the rest of Seattle’s 2021 schedule is now set, with most of it already long determined via the league’s scheduling formula.
Six games will be home and road contests against the other three NFC West foes -- the Cardinals, Rams and 49ers.
The NFC West will also play the AFC South next season, so, for Seattle, that means home games against Tennessee and Jacksonville and road games against Houston and Indianapolis (the reverse of 2017, when the divisions last played).
The NFC West will also play the NFC North next year, which, for Seattle, means home games against Chicago and Detroit and road games against Minnesota and Green Bay (the reverse of the 2018 season, when the divisions last played).
Seattle also then plays a home game against the NFC South winner (New Orleans) and in what was the last thing to be determined, on the road against the winner of the NFC East (either the New York Giants or Washington — Washington will be the division champion with a win tonight).
Seahawks inactives: No surprises vs. 49ers as Carlos Hyde sits
Seattle’s list of six inactive players for Sunday’s game against the 49ers revealed no surprises, with five out due to injury reasons.
Listed as inactive were: RBs Carlos Hyde (illness) and DeeJay Dallas (ankle), OL Mike Iupati (neck/stinger), TE Greg Olsen (foot), DB Jayson Stanley (hamstring) and DE Jonathan Bullard (healthy scratch).
Making those six inactive got Seattle’s roster down to the game-day max of 48.
With Iupati again out, that means Jordan Simmons will get the start at left guard.
Seattle on Saturday also put starting right tackle Brandon Shell on the reserve/COVID-19 list, meaning Cedric Ogbuehi will get another start.
Simmons and Ogbuehi also started last week against the Rams.
And Seattle covered itself at tailback by elevating Alex Collins from the practice squad on Saturday to work behind Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny.
San Francisco’s inactives included former Seahawk star Richard Sherman, out with a calf injury. The others were: WR Brandon Aiyuk (ankle), DT Kevin Givens (not-injury related), LB Dre Greenlaw (calf), DT Javon Kinlaw (knee), WR Deebo Samuel (hamstring) and CB K'Waun Williams (shin).
Report: Lions — or another team — could try to hire Seahawks GM John Schneider
Could the Detroit Lions lure Seahawks general manager John Schneider away to rebuild their struggling franchise?
A report from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport on Sunday morning suggested they could by offering him total control, something he doesn’t have in Seattle, where Pete Carroll officially has final say over personnel matters.
Rapoport further stated that another team could also approach Schneider, writing: “Under the NFL’s anti-tampering policy, the Lions or another team could try to interview Schneider if it offered him full control. Another team is also likely going to make a run at Schneider.” (Other teams with GM openings are Atlanta, Carolina, Houston, Jacksonville and Washington).
Brandon Shell, Damarious Randall become first active Seahawks players placed on COVID-19 list
The Seahawks made it to the final week of the 2020 regular season without having to place a player who was on their active roster onto the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
But that streak ended Saturday when Seattle placed right tackle Brandon Shell and backup safety Damarious Randall on the list, both of whom will now be out for Sunday’s game against the 49ers.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said on Friday that Shell had not tested positive but had a close contact with someone who had tested positive — someone Carroll said was not affiliated with the Seahawks. At that time Carroll said he didn’t know if Shell would have to go on the reserve list.
Here's how the Seahawks can still snag the No. 1 seed in the NFC
Among Pete Carroll’s many favored sayings is one he shares with just about every coach of any sport at any level: control what you can control.
Carroll knows what the Seahawks can control Sunday: beating the San Francisco 49ers and getting to 12-4.
What they can’t control is whether the Carolina Panthers can upset the New Orleans Saints or the Chicago Bears can upset the Green Bay Packers.
What to watch for when the Seahawks play the 49ers on Sunday
Maybe there was no other way for this Seahawks regular season to end — with a game against the San Francisco 49ers in Glendale, Arizona.
It’s a potentially big game for the Seahawks. With a win and losses by Green Bay at Chicago and New Orleans at Carolina, they would claim the No. 1 playoff seed in the NFC and a first-round bye.
If Seattle wins and either Green Bay or New Orleans loses, the Seahawks are the No. 2 seed, which this year does not come with a bye. A loss, or a win and wins by Green Bay and the Saints give Seattle the No. 3 seed.
Here are some keys to Sunday's game.
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