They did it. The Seahawks snapped their three-game losing skid with a promising 30-23 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon at Lumen Field, completing a season sweep of their NFC West rival.
The 49ers, riding a three-game winning streak, came in as one of the NFL’s hottest teams.
The Seahawks, now 4-8, shut out the 49ers offense in the second half, capped by an impressive goal-line stand in the final minute.
Three immediate impressions from the Seahawks’ win:
Russ … is … back
Yes, we can say that now. In fact, let’s say it together, officially and emphatically:
Russ is back, baby.
The Seahawks, for the first time in weeks (months?), not only played competent football, they played inspired football.
No, it wasn’t the cleanest game or the prettiest game. It was a strange game, really.
But what a comforting sight to see — No. 3 looking like himself again.
The Seahawks won for the first time since Oct. 31, and for the first time since Wilson’s first extended stay on the injured reserve.
And they won in large part because of their star QB, who finally looked comfortable after three weeks of uneven play in his return from finger surgery.
Wilson’s final line: 30-for-37 passing for 231 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Those numbers should have been even better. Wilson’s interception only happened because tight end Gerald Everett — in what is surely the worst game of his career — dropped a sure touchdown pass at the goal line, then tipped and kicked the ball in the air … and right to 49ers defensive back K’Waun Williams in the end zone.
(Everett effectively committed three turnovers Sunday — two lost fumbles and the trip that led to the interception. His first fumble led directly to the 49ers’ first touchdown, and his last fumble, at the SF 2-yard line with 4:03 left in the game, cost the Seahawks a chance to put the game away.)
Wilson played well despite Seattle’s makeshift offensive line.
Starting right guard Damien Lewis was out for the second straight week (with multiple injuries) and his replacement, Kyle Fuller, had to leave Sunday’s game with an ankle injury — leaving undrafted rookie Jake Curhan the last man standing at right guard.
Then starting right tackle Brandon Shell exited with a shoulder injury, forcing the Seahawks to turn to rookie Stone Forsythe.
So, yes, hardly an ideal protection plan for Wilson.
He made it work anyway.
Wilson found rookie Dee Eskridge for a touchdown in the final seconds of the first half — Eskridge’s first career TD — and then had perhaps his best throw of the season on his third-quarter TD pass to Tyler Lockett.
Wilson showed off a brilliant touch on his 12-yard floater to Lockett in the back of the end zone on a third-and-6 play.
And Lockett, as he so often has done, made a terrific over-the-shoulder grab in the back of the end zone, giving the Seahawks a 30-23 lead.
Defense does it again
Sure, there is again a lot to nitpick with this Seattle defense. It’s fair to wonder if the Seahawks will ever figure out how to defend the 49ers’ George Kittle (or, well, any decent tight end for that matter).
Regardless, the Seahawks came through when they needed to Sunday.
Carlos Dunlap had probably his best game in a Seahawks uniform, and his tip of Jimmy Garoppolo’s fourth-down pass with 18 seconds left clinched the win for Seattle.
Dunlap was also responded for 2 points when he took down Garoppolo in the end zone for a safety early in the third quarter to tie the score at 23-23.
Dunlap’s struggles have been well documented this season. Through 11 games, the veteran edge rusher had a mere half sack — that’s right, only a half sack.
He came through — twice — when the Seahawks needed him most Sunday.
And without star safety Jamal Adams, who left with a shoulder injury and did not return to play, free safety Quandre Diggs continued to show his worth.
Diggs intercepted Garoppolo in the third quarter to set up Wilson’s go-ahead TD pass to Lockett, further making a case for why the Seahawks ought to give the veteran free safety a contract extension as soon as possible.
Bobby Wagner also intercepted Garoppolo, and Sidney Jones came through with two big plays in the final sequence near the goal line — including a pass breakup in the end zone on third down.
Yep, it was that kind of game for Travis Homer.
The running back-slash-special teams ace scored the game’s first touchdown on a wild 73-yard fake-punt run early in the first quarter.
On the opening kickoff of the second half, Homer recovered a 49ers fumble at the San Francisco 26-yard line. Nick Bellore forced the fumble.
Homer also ran for a key first down on a fourth-down run in the fourth quarter near the San Francisco end zone (only to see the Seahawks lose the ball on Everett’s second fumble a couple plays later).
The Seahawks can confidently say special teams were the difference in this game, a week after they botched their would-be onside-kick recovery in the closing moments of their Monday night loss at Washington.