It finally happened. Let’s not act like this day wasn’t going to come this year. Maybe there have been a few lucky wins and maybe there have been some gimmes. But finally, after five weeks of perfection, the Seattle Seahawks have lost a game.
Of course, it wasn’t easy for the Hawks to lose as they did. A 37-34 overtime loss on the road after blowing a big lead, missing out on big shots, and uncharacteristic turnovers from the star QB are hard to take in.
“Our confidence is not going to waiver,” Russell Wilson said. “They’re a great football team, too. We knew it was going to be a battle; it always is down here whenever we play. Nothing really changed except for the fact that we just have to tighten up some things. I have to be better, which I’m looking forward to. I’m looking forward to playing the next game. I wish we could play tomorrow. That’s our mentality, and we’ll be back stronger. We’ll be better, and I thought we laid it all on the line. Every play was competitive.”
But I think that a loss is what this team needed. Every squad at one point or another needs to get knocked down so they can see that there are some imperfections in the chamber. Now it is time to turn the page, have a fresh start and get back to work. The only problem with that sentiment is that the Seahawks will now face an opponent that has been RED hot.
The San Francisco 49ers looked like they had a bit of an NFC Championship hangover going on just a few weeks ago when they lost the Philadelphia Eagles. Instead, it has become quite clear that the real issue was the injuries plaguing the Niners.
They’ve played a number of games without key players like Jimmy Garrapolo, Raheem Mostert, Deebo Samuel, Nick Bosa, Richard Sherman, Kwon Alexander, Jimmy Ward, Jefferey Wilson and some others. The injury bug has run rampant in San Francisco this season but it hasn’t been that bad. If you’re going to have injuries, it’s nice to get them out of the way now.
With the injuries they’ve had, the Niners have seen massive development in players like Brandon Aiyuk, their first round pick out of Arizona State University, and Jerrick McKinnon, a forgotten depth chart man. Aiyuk is on pace for over 700 receiving yards in his rookie season while McKinnon has had some explosive performances in the absence of Mostert. Pete Carroll is especially a fan of Aiyuk.
“He’s really good. He’s a really good player,” Carroll told reporters. “We had him in high regard on our end too. We loved the guy coming out. When he went in to follow the draft pick Deebo (Samuel) a couple of years ago, we thought, boy, those are two great, great gets. We really respect those players, and you see that Brandon has not had any trouble making the transition from ASU.”
Despite all these injuries, the 49ers are 4-3. They may be in last place in the NFC West, the toughest division in football, but it’s hard to overlook their last two wins. One came against the Los Angeles Rams, who have played good football all year long. The other came just this past Sunday against the New England Patriots. It was a brutal beatdown of the Bill Belichick squad, the Niners won 33 to 6.
While the Seahawks may be upset about the loss to the Cardinals, there is really no time to sit around and sulk. In the NFC West, every single game counts and it’s likely that just a single win will be the difference between a team making the postseason and not. While a team that is more down on their luck may have been more reasonable coming off a loss, nothing would invoke more confidence and motivation moving forward than beating a team that is on a hot streak.
One of the main things to watch when these two teams face off on Sunday will be the Seahawks defense. By the numbers, the Hawks have allowed the most yards per game to opposing teams and rank 22nd in most points allowed per game. The secondary has not been good and the Hawks have struggled down the stretch in games. But 49ers head coach Kyle Shannahan thinks that this unit is better than the numbers.
They haven’t had all their players out there, which I know that’ll help when they get them back,” Shanahan said. “I’m fully expecting them to get those guys back this week. We know how good their coaches are. They’re playing good enough to win and that’s why they’ve only lost one. I don’t think the numbers tell the whole story.”
The Niners will get a break by not having to deal with the Seahawks newest defensive addition. Cincinnati traded Carlos Dunlap to Seattle on Wednesday. After not recording a QB hit or sack against the Cardinals, Dunlap could be a massive improvement to the defensive line. He has recorded 82.5 sacks, 490 tackles, 20 forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries, 60 passes defensed, and two interceptions since being drafted by the Bengals in 2010.
“Carlos has been a very, very consistent player for a long time,” Carroll said. “He’s always been fast, always been athletic, he still moves his feet well and gets off the rock and knows exactly how to play the spot that we want to play him in. Really it was exciting to share that with him, he was concerned to know how we would play him at all, so that that was a that was good for him to hear.”
Due to the league’s COVID-19 protocols, Dunlap can’t play until week nine against Buffalo.
Keys to the Game
Seattle Seahawks, Find DK: The Cardinals got the win last Sunday and it was partly due to the disappearance in the passing game to DK Metcalf. After some truly dominating performances, Metcalf was held to just two receptions on 23 targets. This was mostly due to the lockdown performance by Patrick Peterson. This week, Emmanuel Moseley will more than likely be given that task.
San Francisco 49ers, Pressure Wilson: The Niners boast a top 10 defensive front. Even with the loss of Bosa, they are still getting to the quarterback quite a bit. This season, they have 12 sacks and have a power rating of 67 percent which is better than the team average. If SF can pressure Wilson and get him moving, it will cause disruptions late in the game.
The Seahawks enter this game as 2.5 point favorites with them playing at home as a huge factor. CBS Sports experts picked the Seahawks 4 to 2 and other sites like numberFire and Sporting News are leaning with the Hawks as well.
This is one of the best teams in the NFC in 2020 and I trust Wilson more than I trust Jimmy G. While I think this will be another wacky, down to the end Seattle game, I like the Hawks more than I like the 49ers.
49ers 28, Seahawks 35