Where would the Seattle Seahawks be this season without the San Francisco 49ers on their schedule, twice? Probably out of the playoff race. They are 2-0 against the 49ers, 3-5 against the rest of the league, including 0-2 when facing division rivals St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals.
But when they’re against the 49ers, everything is OK. Russell Wilson’s troubles are forgotten. The secondary declining and not keeping up with their big mouth and money demands is no longer an issue. Marshawn Lynch not playing? There’s that little guy, Thomas Rawls, who can do anything Lynch can, if not better. Meanwhile, the 49ers, just sink lower and lower in a season that might be a phase, but the question is what follows this phase: Back to success or a return to the mid 00’s, when they were on of the worst teams in the league?
Wilson threw three touchdown passes while completing 24-of-29 for 260 yards. The 49ers blitzed him, knowing the Seahawks struggle in protecting him, but Wilson saw it coming from miles away. He was sacked just twice, and completed 11-of-11 when blitzed, only the third time in the last 10 years a player has gone 10-of-10 or better against the blitz in a single game. He also ran for 30 yards, helping the Seahawks get 28 first downs, opposed to just 14 by the 49ers.
Rawls completed the job of dissecting the 49ers defense. He ran for 209 yards and a touchdown, finishing with 255 yards from scrimmage. The 209 is the second most by a Seahawks running back, trailing Shaun Alexander’s 266-yard effort in 2001. The 255 are the 3rd-most in Seahawks history, trailing Alexander (273 in 2001) and Steve Largent (261 in 1987). With 101 carries so far this season, Rawls is at 604 yards, with a couple of touchdowns. Lynch, who has been missing games and might be hitting that inevitable downfall each running back has, has 417 yards on 111 carries.
Does this mean the Seahawks are back on a roll? Hard to say. They still have the Rams (on a slide) and away game at Arizona on their schedule. They also to play in Minnesota and against the Steelers, which means four games they can lose. But there are also easier encounters for them to go through: Baltimore sans Joe Flacco and the Cleveland Browns, one of the more pathetic teams in the NFL this year (each year actually). It’s going to be hard work making it into the playoffs, and it would have been nice to clash with the 49ers a few more times this season, but stringing together four wins (might not be enough) is within the realm of possibilities for the Seahawks.