Hope you got the wake up call, Seattle Seahawks. The San Francisco 49ers may not be living up to all the pre-season hype. Maybe they won’t return to the Super Bowl. Colin Kaepernick isn’t being mentioned with Russell Wilson in the MVP talks. But the Niners won’t roll over and die if you don’t bring your best game to their house.
For me, the 19-17 game came down to two mistakes by the Seahawks:
Russell Wilson’s incompletion to Golden Tate
Near the start of the fourth quarter, San Francisco had just kicked another field goal to take a 16-14 lead. After a Marshawn Lynch run and a short pass to Luke Wilson, it was third down and 5. All day, Russell was under pressure. This play was no different, but he maneuvered to his left. Golden Tate had found a soft spot in the zone. Russell hit him in the feet with the pass. Incomplete. Punt.
We needed to put together a drive there and take control of the quarter. Instead, the 3-and-out gave confidence to the 49ers’ defense.
You’re the leader of the offense and an MVP candidate, Russell. We need you to make that play.
After Seattle had retaken the lead at 17-16, San Francisco was driving with fewer than 6 minutes left. Frank Gore cut back through a hole. Earl Thomas took a bad angle on him. Gore’s still got wheels. He slipped the tackle and escaped for 51 yards. The Niners kicked a field goal to take the lead for good, leaving the Seahawks with half a minute on the clock.
Seattle’s whole defense is based on the trust that no one gets by Earl Thomas. You’re top choice for Defensive Player of the Year, Earl. We need you to make that tackle.
And Too Many Penalties
San Francisco played signature tough defense, holding Seattle to under 200 yards passing and under 100 yards rushing. In such a tight contest, you can’t make mistakes. You also can’t get penalized 9 times for 85 yards. The Seahawks’ 104 penalties are second in the league, right behind Tampa Bay. This is not how champions play.
Reminds me of Miami last year
Let’s relax and use this as a learning experience. 11-2 is not the end of the world. We’re still in the playoffs and have control of home-field advantage. This loss reminds me of the splash of cold water the Seahawks received from the Dolphins in Week 12 last year.
Seattle let Miami hang around until they’d tied the game at 21 with five minutes left. Seattle got the ball, was unable to score and punted it back to Ryan Tannehill with a minute and a half left. The Dolphins drove the field and kicked the game-winner as the clock expired.
Seattle went on to win the last five games of the regular season and hit the playoffs red-hot.
So let’s use this loss for the same purpose. Fire up and finish off the Giants, Cardinals and Rams like the speed-bumps they are. Charge into the playoffs as the team no one wants to face.
If you’re going to lose a game, don’t lose for nothing.
Maybe I’ll send the 49ers a thank you card at the end of the season.
David Klenda, also known as Eighty Six, is Division Leader for the NFC West and AFC West. Find him at Eighty Six the Poet or on Twitter as 86ThePoet . He also writes for Bright Hub. Find his ebooks at Smashwords .
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