Because of other results, the 17-7 win over the San Francisco 49ers was a very festive occasion for the Seattle Seahawks: They’re in a good position to grab a bye week spot and maybe even the #1 seed in the NFC playoffs, but also humiliating Colin Kaepernick once again and probably seeing the last of Jim Harbaugh as the head coach of this team, and maybe in the league.
The 49ers are out of the playoffs officially, falling to 7-7, losing three games in a row. That’s a first in the Harbaugh era, which might come to an end despite the head coach doing nothing but well since he took the job of a franchise that was hungry for direction, guidance, success and wins. Harbaugh brought all of that and was one incompletion away from winning the Super Bowl. He reached the conference championship game twice more. Now? The rumors of him leaving to the Raiders or Michigan will just grow.
The 49ers actually managed to combine the awkward passing game from Kaepernick with his running in the first half, but injuries and a terrible offensive line eventually gave away to what is the best defense in the NFL right now. Kaepernick didn’t throw any interceptions, but didn’t do anything special when throwing the ball, while being sacked six times and held to 46 yards on nine carries. The 49ers didn’t execute a single play past the 38 yard line of the Seahawks in the second half. That’s how bad it has gotten for them.
The 49ers did well on zone-read rushed until the moment Carlos Hyde (55 yards on only six carries) got injured in the third quarter. He wasn’t the only one who got injured, but that took the last breath of fresh air from the lungs of a wounded, tired and jaded offense that simply couldn’t move the chains in the second half. We didn’t give up any yards, we just played our way. We played team defense and that’s the way you play championship football.
Despite all the compliments to the Seahawks defense and yet another great game from Marshawn Lynch who rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown while Russell Wilson had another so-so game in a so-so season for him, despite the Seahawks 10-4 record, a dubious at best roughing the passer call on the 49ers during a drive that led up to the Seahawks taking a 17-7 lead, closing out the game, probably helped them more than anything.
Nick Moody was called for hitting Wilson with the hairline of the helmet instead of the face mask. I think even the Seahawks players were surprised that one was called, because when a referee isn’t actually sure of what he saw, how can he go that way on such a huge decision. The 49ers didn’t do themselves any favors by playing embarrassing offense, not for the first time this season, but when referees continue to help the Seahawks get away with things on their home field it does raise an eyebrow or two.
The feeling of an end of an era for the 49ers, and the thing coming up next isn’t good. A management and front office didn’t all of a sudden turn into a genius combination out of the blue. It was Harbaugh who turned things around. Now, all signs indicate that he’s leaving when this season is over, and the Kaepernick project will be in the hands of someone else. The Seahawks might have enjoyed dominating this rivalry (winning five of the last six), but they surely don’t mind seeing the 49ers bottom out like this.