At some point early in the game – maybe it was after the blocked punt – I got a text from my brother, saying something to the effect of, “I hope your phone is okay!” This, of course, is in reference to a comment I made after last week’s game in Carolina, when I was so swept up in the game’s events that it caused me to violently throw my phone across my apartment, only to have it careen against a couple of walls and explode in three pieces: battery cover, battery, and body of the phone itself. Meekly, I would walk over and pick up the pieces after the game, put them back together, and enjoy a perfectly functioning old-man flip phone, but that’s neither here nor there.
I mentioned last week that I get pretty worked up during these games. But, there was a strange sense of calm last night. Maybe it was because I watched the game with friends and felt a moral obligation to keep my emotions in check. After all, it’s fucking embarrassing to go around throwing tantrums over a fucking football game, for Christ’s sake. More than that, though, I just never got rattled. There was never a point where I was honestly worried about the outcome of the game. It had nothing to do with what we were able to do on offense (which, in the first half, was absolutely nothing … we were able to do nothing on offense) and everything to do with our defense.
This is, without question, from top to bottom, the best defense in the NFL. We’re more physical than everyone else (yes, including San Francisco), we’re faster than everyone else, and we’re more talented than everyone else. If the pass rush is a concern, it’s only because we’re dealing with some injuries (and one suspension) right now, which should rectify itself within the next 2-3 weeks.
Also, for those 8 games where the Seahawks play in CenturyLink, even the pass rush is a non-concern. Because our crowd renders that point moot.
The Seahawks, at this point, are sputtering on offense a little bit. The run game was an absolute disgrace in Week 1 (mostly due to Carolina’s dominance in their defensive front seven), and for the first quarter yesterday it wasn’t all that much better. Frankly, though, the Seahawks were trying to flip the script and throw too much in the early going, and Russell Wilson started considerably off his game. I think we’ve seen enough from Wilson to make an educated opinion that he just doesn’t start off games very well. It’s not necessarily the worst thing in the world, because once he gets going, he’s as good as anyone. But, when he’s missing guys and missing reads early in the game, it tends to leave us vulnerable to other teams taking early control of things. It might not be all his fault whenever the Seahawks start a game from behind, but last night it kinda was. We weren’t behind in points – San Francisco didn’t finally score until the Seahawks had already put up 12 – but you could argue that the 49ers were “winning” the early part of that game, before the lightning delay.
Which is why it’s so comforting to have this defense. It’s like the little kid who walks around constantly shooting his mouth off in school, because his best friend is always walking beside him and is the size of a truck. Our defense is that best friend. They’re not only going to keep us in every game, but they’re going to single-handedly win us a few as well. Even when the 49ers blocked that punt and it looked like they were going to punch it in, I wasn’t too concerned. Granted, I’d rather the Seahawks score and other teams do not; but for some reason, I always believe we’re going to create a turnover and get the ball back without any damage done. And not in the way that every homer says their defense is due to make a big play. I mean, this defense IS capable, at any and all times, of making a big play. And, at this point, it’s more shocking when they DON’T make that big play.
Depending on how injuries shake themselves out the rest of the way, last night’s game was the most difficult home game the Seahawks will face all year. It could be argued that the 49ers are the only team without a real significant weakness that the Seahawks will play period. You could argue that maybe their receivers or secondary are weaknesses, but they’re not so deficient that it can’t be made up for by other areas of their team. Colin Kaepernick is usually good enough to compensate for a weaker receiving corps. Their front seven is usually good enough to compensate for a weaker secondary. Yet, yesterday, the Seahawks not only made these groups look pathetic, they made what are normally 49er strengths into weaknesses!
Colin Kaepernick looked absolutely Blaine Gabbert-esque last night! I know some people around the league aren’t as high on him and think he’s due to hit some sort of Second-Year-Starter’s Wall or something, but I tend to highly regard Kaepernick. I don’t think it’s just blind, dumb luck that he led his team to the Super Bowl last year (aside from the fact that they lucked into not playing the Seahawks in the playoffs). He’s really fucking good, and he will expose most other defenses in some way to get the job done. He’s a great runner, but like Wilson, he’s not out there taking unnecessary hits. He’s also a great thrower, and I think that gets dismissed by more people than it should. When this year is finished, I think Kaepernick will find himself in the Top 10 Quarterbacks list (a spot or two behind Russell Wilson, of course) and I think he’ll remain there for the duration of his prime.
What the Seahawks were able to do to prevent Kaepernick from going off is nothing short of astounding. And yet, it looked like child’s play. Which just goes to show you how truly amazing this unit really is.
Their run game in general was very piss-poor, with Gore averaging less than 2 yards per carry. Kaepernick led the team with 87 yards, but most of those were on scrambles where he was running for his life after he couldn’t find an open receiver and the pocket was closing in around him. The 49ers’ offensive line is supposed to be the best in football; but yesterday, they looked downright pedestrian. Elite offensive lines are supposed to be able to run the ball between the tackles. The 49ers couldn’t do a God damn thing between the tackles last night.
Their front seven was able to get a decent amount of pressure on Russell Wilson, but that’s only half the battle. They were getting pounded on the ground to the tune of 172 yards, with Marshawn Lynch accounting for 98 of them. This wasn’t all End of Game running out of the clock either. From the first minute, the Seahawks were seemingly able to run at will on the 49ers, and the only reason why we were so bad in the first half had to do with our decision to throw the ball too much, when the run game was working.
All in all, this was a total and complete beatdown. It wasn’t the cleanest game in the world. That hourlong intermission for lightning was a boring and distressing blow to the flow of the game. I’m sure if you weren’t a Seahawks fan, you found the game endlessly boring and not at all living up to the hype the rest of the world bestowed upon it. But, for those of us in Seattle, last night’s game was total bliss.
Three picks and a fumble for Kaepernick (a 20.1 passer rating). 16 total yards for the washed up Frank Gore. 1 reception for 7 yards for Anquan Boldin. Three total touchdowns and 135 total yards for Beastmode. 207 total yards for the 49ers’ offense. And yet another bitter defeat for Jim Harbaugh.
The Seattle Seahawks are the best team in football. If you haven’t gone all-in on this team now, what’s your hold up?