Grading the game: High marks for Seahawks in win over 49ers
Seahawks’ defense stifles San Francisco in the second half of another impressive performance.
Seattle Times staff reporter
What was uncomfortable in the first half turned celebratory in the second half as the Seahawks on Sunday subdued their biggest rival, the San Francisco 49ers, while further enhancing their potential playoff position.
In turning a 7-3 halftime deficit into a 17-7 victory at CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks also stayed on the heels of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West. Seattle improved to 10-4; Arizona is 11-3. The teams play next Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. Seattle also benefitted when Green Bay lost at Buffalo, meaning Seattle holds any tiebreakers for home field with the Packers.
What coach Pete Carroll called “a great turnaround from the first half to the second half’’ also meant much better marks for the Seahawks in our weekly grades.
Not the most statistically impressive of days for Russell Wilson, who once again was under a lot of pressure, especially in the first half, when he suffered three of his five sacks. He was 12 of 24 for 168 yards and also threw an interception on the final play of the first half when he overshot Doug Baldwin — a play that cost Seattle a shot at a field goal. Wilson, in fact, was just 3 of 6 for 28 yards in the second half as the Seahawks mostly ran the ball. But he made key plays when they counted, such as the 10-yard touchdown pass to Paul Richardson in the fourth quarter. Grade:B-
Marshawn Lynch didn’t have much room to run early. But as in the first game against the 49ers, a 19-3 Seattle victory, he got it going late. Lynch gained 76 yards on 15 carries in the second half, finishing with 91 yards on 21 carries. Robert Turbin had a nice day, as well, with 33 yards on five carries and a tackle of Eric Reid on an interception to end the first half. Grade:A-
For the first time this season, there wasn’t a catch made by a tight end, on three passes targeted to them — two to Tony Moeaki and one to Luke Willson (Cooper Helfet again sat out with a sprained ankle). Moeaki, who had one drop early, suffered a shoulder injury late. Grade:C
It was maybe the best overall game of the season for Jermaine Kearse, with five catches for a season-high 78 yards, including a 47-yarder. The recommitment to the run in the second half meant limited opportunities. But rookie Paul Richardson made the most of what he got with a 10-yard catch for his first career touchdown in the fourth quarter. Doug Baldwin also made three catches. Only four players caught passes. Grade:B
It was really rugged in the first half as the offensive line was called for four penalties and gave up three sacks while also allowing Lynch to get just 2.5 yards per attempt on six carries. Rookie right tackle Justin Britt had particular issues with the 49ers’ edge rushers. It got better in the second half, which Seattle played with Alvin Bailey at left tackle after a chest injury to Russell Okung. Grade:C
Seattle looked a little out of sorts up front through much of the first half as the Seahawks struggled to get a handle on some of the 49ers’ new wrinkles (such as using more two-tight end sets). Still, the Seahawks allowed just seven points despite giving up 178 yards. And the line took over in the second half, led by Jordan Hill (who had two sacks), Michael Bennett (two tackles for a loss) and Kevin Williams (two tackles for a loss and a quarterback hit). Grade:A-
Similar story to the line as there were a few missed tackles and gaps early. But Bobby Wagner was just about everywhere in the second half, when he made six solo tackles (he had 10 total tackles for the game). Wagner, K.J. Wright and Bruce Irvin each had sacks, Wagner’s and Wright’s coming on well-timed blitzes up the middle. Grade:A-
No interceptions. But also little real damage in a game in which Colin Kaepernick threw for just 141 yards. He was just 6 of 11 for 52 yards in the second half. Once again, Byron Maxwell moved inside in the nickel to good effect. Grade:A-
Much better than last week as punter Jon Ryan rebounded to average 48 yards on four kicks, downing two inside the 20, while the return games were much less of an adventure. Bryan Walters, back at punt returner after being inactive last week, had a 19-yard return that set up Seattle’s final touchdown. And Jeron Johnson led a solid coverage effort with a tackle and an assist and also downed a Ryan punt at the 4-yard line. Grade:B