Before I start- Merry Christmas everyone!
I guess it would be incorrect to say this was a meaningless game, as Seattle still held incredibly slim and convoluted playoff hopes even after the Lions put the finishing touches on their playoff clinching beatdown of the Chargers. For all intents and purposes though, after Detroit jumped out to a huge early lead, it became pretty clear that today's stakes were essentially symbolic.
I know I can't speak for every fan, but given my new found hatred for the 49ers, all I wanted was to see my team spoil the 49ers run at history. They had not allowed a rushing touchdown this season, which has never been done before. They also hadn't allowed a 100 yard rusher all year. Both of those streaks came to an end today. It doesn't make up for losing, but it came surprisingly close for me. Thank goodness for that touchdown too, or else I might have gone mental over that goal line fiasco in the first half.
Seattle was clearly the better team in the first half, limiting Alex Smith to 6-15 passing while Lynch amassed over 80 of his eventual 107 yards rushing. You could tell Smith's only mission today was to avoid throwing a pick at all costs, and while he played better in the second half, his final line boasted a bad 53.8% completion rate and a "meh" 6.88 yards per attempt. Frank Gore was held to only 3.6 yards per carry. Really, the only consistent offensive force all day was Kendall Hunter, who helped remind us all how badly Seattle could use a dynamic change of pace back.
That said, the 49ers, particularly in the 2nd half, had a nose for the first down marker. Time and again, they converted first downs with less than two yards to spare. They only converted 3 of 14 third downs for the day, but they got a huge 4th down conversion when they needed one, and they were money converting on 2nd down. Seattle only ran six plays on offense in the 3rd quarter, and nearly had a third straight three and out early in the 4th if not for an unusual pass interference penalty.
So good for the 49ers. They truly deserved to win this game. They outgained our team and it wasn't really that close. They won time of possession. They dominated Leon Washington. They had the balls to go for it on 4th down at smart times, something Pete had chances to do but didn't. Other than a clutch blocked punt and just a couple penalties, they essentially played a mistake free game. It might have been the best (or at least most disciplined) game they played all season, and Seattle led that team with less than five minutes to go. That's something to be proud of.
I'm only left with one question about this team. Wasn't Tavaris Jackson supposed to be a mobile quarterback? I swear, in recent weeks he's looked about as mobile as Joe Flacco... if that. I always thought T-Jack's mobility was over-rated, but I'm starting to realize that coaching is playing a big part too. On that botched 3rd down run from the 1 yard line, Jackson had the edge and I really think most NFL quarterbacks would have made it with a full sprint. Jackson seemed to be running at 80%, almost as if he wasn't sure if he was allowed to run or not. This is where not having a credible backup is hurting the Seahawks in an invisible but significant way. At no point this season could Seattle afford an injury to Jackson. It really makes you wonder how much that's compromised their play call selection, and how much its impacted Jackson's comfort in the offense since he's a natural tuck-and-run type.
No bullet points today, as I'm tuckered out from writing some 6 hour long posts at Seahawks Draft Blog as of late. Well okay, just one bullet point:
- Congratulations Ricardo Lockette on your first NFL catch!