Defense again forced to carry the day as offense struggles for most of the game.

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Here are the grades for the Seahawks’ 12-9 win over the 49ers Sunday.

OFFENSE

Well, there was the drive that won the game and then the drive that sealed it.

But until then, there was mostly three quarters of futility that only further inflamed anxiety about the offense.

Seattle dropped at least five catchable passes with Russell Wilson missing on a few more and being somewhat fortunate that at least two potential interceptions were dropped (or in the case of one, tipped by a 49er player before another 49er could catch it).

Seahawks 12, 49ers 9

 

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And the running game was nonexistent through three quarters against a defense that last season ranked last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (and that one website, The-cauldron.com, determined was the third-worst run defense in NFL history).

As coach Pete Carroll noted, had the Seahawks not dropped two potential touchdowns, then things would have looked a lot better. Seattle was able to keep the sticks moving enough with a game plan predicated early on quick passes, running 45 plays in the first half and converting 5 of 12 third downs.

But few figured the Seahawks would have to work this hard to score against the 49ers.

Chris Carson was a huge positive, and give the offensive line — which has had the same five players for every snap of the first two games — credit for sticking with it and finally making the offense work. Also, credit Wilson for finally unleashing his legs in the late going (and understanding that it makes some sense to pick and choose when to run given his injuries of last season). But the Seahawks still have plenty of work to do.

Grade: D.

DEFENSE

Take out a couple plays and this was mostly a good day for the defense as the 49ers had just 248 yards.

Carlos Hyde got 88 of his 124 yards on two runs — each of which could have been stopped for short gains had the Seahawks made tackles or just been in better position.

Otherwise, the 49ers had just 160 yards on 46 plays and no real success on third downs, hitting on just 2 of 12.

The Seahawks came up big when needed, holding the 49ers to field goals on three tries inside the 20 (though a dropped pass by Marquise Goodwin on second down of the go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter was a big help).

Michael Wilhoite played well in his first game for Seattle, working against his old team as the Seahawks used their base defense more than a week ago.

Grade: B-plus

SPECIAL TEAMS

A pretty good day overall, but there were a few missteps, notably Blair Walsh’s missed extra point, which made things more interesting than they needed to be. Seattle also didn’t get much out of its return game.

But the 49ers also didn’t do much with their returns. And Walsh made two field goals early when nothing much else was going right.

And punter Jon Ryan had another good day, with three of his seven punts downed inside the 20.

That was particularly key when the game was tied in the third quarter and the 49ers began back-to-back drives at their own 6 and 13.

Grade: B-minus.