Not ALL of the marbles. That ship has long sailed.
So, I don’t know if you guys were aware, but these Seahawks & 49ers are pretty much the same exact team. Tough, physical defenses. Tough, physical running backs. Young, mobile, accurate quarterbacks in their first seasons as starters. Wide receivers who aren’t flashy, but are somewhat effective. Tight ends who should probably be utilized more than they are (fuck you, 49ers, for not getting Vernon Davis the ball! Leaky Submarine struggled all year because of you assholes!).
And that doesn’t even get into the numbers! Have you seen the numbers?
Within 12 total yards of one another per game. Within 2 rushing yards and 10 passing yards per game. Within a half a point per game. 3 turnovers separate, 2 penalties separate. Total defense is right there (49ers ranked 2nd, Seahawks ranked 3rd). The 49ers have given up 218 points, the Seahawks 219 points. We’re RIGHT THERE in every catagory! These two teams couldn’t be more evenly matched!
Want to know why everyone in Seattle is so excited about this game, even though it won’t decide the division? Well, that’s for starters. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding everything, we’re practically guaranteed to have a good, close football game down to the bitter end. I wouldn’t anticipate the lead in this game to surpass a single score. If ever it was appropriate to predict a tie going into a game, this would be it.
Obviously, each team has certain advantages. The Seahawks are at home, so that’s a HUGE check in their column. The Seahawks arguably have a better field goal kicker; that might come up big in a close game. I can say with certainty that the Seahawks have a better punter as well. Field position is going to determine who wins this game more than anything else. Field position was huge in the earlier meeting between these teams as well. With the Seahawks consistently backed up and in a hole, they stood no chance of coming back against the 49ers late in that game. Here’s to hoping those tides are turned.
The question on my mind brings me back to last Sunday night. The Patriots really put a clinic on the 49ers in the second half of that game, scoring four unanswered touchdowns to tie the game. Can the Seahawks do that?
I’m not suggesting the Seahawks abandon the running game, but I do think they need to get a little creative. Did you like the pitch to Marshawn Lynch, who threw back to Wilson who then threw up field to Tate? I wouldn’t mind seeing more of that. Maybe a wide receiver pass. Maybe just a straight up end-around or a reverse. I’m just spit-balling here. I don’t think this is the game where you go back to being conservative. You’ve gotten where you’ve gotten by taking shots. You take the good with the bad in these instances, but as far as I’m concerned, they’re worth the risk.
Running Lynch straight up the middle on first and second down will be a nice way to set you up with 3rd and 5, but is that really the position you want to be in? Do you really want to get into a lot of obvious passing downs against this defense? I don’t think you do.
Which is why I think the read-option will be HUGE in this game. Unlike our last two opponents, I think the 49ers are going to do whatever it takes to not let Wilson beat them with his legs. So, if he’s smart, he’ll hand the ball off more, which should hopefully open up some holes for Beastmode.
I also wouldn’t mind seeing the Seahawks add a new wrinkle to their read-option & have Wilson throw from that setup. We have yet to see him pull back & throw; could catch them off guard.
On defense, what can you say? In the last game, the 49ers dinked & dunked us to death in the second half, while also gashing us up the middle in the run game. Gotta shore that up. Gotta have All Pro games out of Mebane, Branch, and Bryant up front. We don’t necessarily have to get a ton of sacks, but we gotta force Kaepernick to be uncomfortable. Don’t let him run, necessarily, but have him consistently moving around in the pocket. Just as the 49ers can’t afford to have Wilson running hog-wild, the last thing the Seahawks want is for Kaepernick to scramble for huge chunks of yards.
I’m still finding it tough to get a good read on this game. My gut is leaning towards the Seahawks, just because we’re at home. But, my stupid brain keeps looking at the recent history of this series and has seen the 49ers taking the Seahawks out behind the woodshed. For some reason, I can’t help shaking the feeling that the 49ers just have our fucking number and they’re going to be that team we hate for years to come.
Also, a win guarantees us a playoff spot. I dunno, for some reason it wouldn’t feel like a real Seahawks season if we weren’t scrambling for a playoff spot in the final week of the season. That’s the Seattle talking, of course, but still.
Gun to my head? 31-28 Seattle wins, because the Seahawks are seemingly terrible at holding teams to field goals. And I reserve the right to flip-flop on that prediction up to kickoff.