Two teams that were built for each other clashed and only one was left standing after the dust blew away. The Seattle Seahawks crushed the San Francisco 49ers 19-3 with excellent defense and an efficient offense game from Russell Wilson, while Colin Kaepernick had one of the worst performances in his career, and he probably wasn’t even the worst one on his team.
That “honor” goes to his coaching staff, and his offensive coordinator, more than anyone. The 49ers have failed to develop Kaepernick in a way that makes him capable of handling such a defense and such a challenge. Make no mistake – The Seahawks are very good, but not like they were last season. And still, Kaepernick made two terrible throws that gave Richard Sherman two interceptions and ammunition to speak about his own greatness for an entire month. Kaepernick struggles in certain things, but the 49ers should play in a way that hides those flaws.
So instead of making him make quick throws and use his legs, he keeps throwing to the sidelines, trying to find receivers that aren’t built for this kind of passing game. Having Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde didn’t convince the 49ers to stop their offensive tactics that weren’t working. Instead of trying to wear down the Seahawks through runs in the middle and mix it up with Kaepernick breaking to the outside (3 rushes, 17 yards), they stuck to the guns that always fail in big games this season. He completed just 4-of-15 passes on throws for over five yards, and eight of his throws weren’t even on-target.
The Seahawks just fed off of those mistakes and smothered the 49ers, denying any chance of a comeback. Russell Wilson threw a touchdown pass in the first quarter, caught by Robert Turbin. The rest was field goals and constantly stopping the 49ers, who were held to a total of 164 yards. Kaepernick finished with a passer rating of 36.7 and a QBR of 10.7. Wilson threw for 236 yards, completing 15-of-22 passes.
Both he and Marshawn Lynch did a good job when running the ball. Lynch ran for 104 yards on 20 carries, Wilson helped out with 35 yards on 7 carries. Both quarterbacks were sacked four times, showing just how bad their offensive line situation is this season. However, the 49ers offense couldn’t do anything even when the O-line didn’t crumble. The Seahawks got a whiff of a lead early on and never let go, keeping the 49ers off the field, getting only 24 minutes of possession in the game.
The advantage the Seahawks have over the 49ers is more than just physical, let alone their 8-4 record compared to the 7-5 the 49ers have, leaving them outside the playoff picture at the moment. Mentally, the 49ers feel inferior and play like a team that’s just waiting to get knocked out by a bigger, badder bully, that’s actually been exposed as not so frightening by a few teams this season, and yet continues to make the 49ers’ players and their coaching staff look like they’re out of their league.
Two consecutive games for the Seahawks against division rivals in which they’ve allowed a total of six points and no touchdowns. The intimidation factor is definitely back, and while the Seahawks can once again think about how they make their way back to the Super Bowl, the 49ers find themselves with too many question about the direction they’re going in, considering how bad they’ve look this season on more than one occasion, forcing their CEO to issue a public apology after the game.