The Seattle Seahawks entered Sunday's contest with the 49ers with only two things in mind: avenge their brutal Week 2 loss and ruin the 49ers' playoff hopes. They accomplished both in their 20-17 upset of San Francisco at Qwest Field on Sunday.
If the stats told the story, there's no way the Niners lost this game. Former #1 pick Alex Smith threw for 310 yards and two scores, one of which going to tight end Vernon Davis who finished with 111 yards on 6 catches. The San Fran defense sacked QB Matt Hasselbeck five times, forced two fumbles(recovering one) and managed to hold the two-headed monster of Julius Jones and Justin Forsett to a combined 76 yards rushing.
The Seahawks, however, were able to score when it mattered. Hasselback matched a Smith-to-Davis first quarter score with his own touchdown pass to Deion Branch. Hasselbeck then gave Seattle the lead with a 8-yard pass to Forsett to go up 14-7. Smith would battle back, tying the game with a 22-yard rope to wideout Josh Morgan. Then, things got sloppy for Mike Singletary's crew.The Niners fumbled twice, once on a botched reverse attempt on a punt and the other on a run by Frank Gore. Speaking of Gore, he was a complete contrast on Sunday to the beast who ran over Seattle in Week 2. After notching 200 yards in his last showdown against the Seahawks, Gore got 9 carries this time around in a game the Niners absolutely needed to stay alive in the NFC West.
Even with mysterious lack of touches for Gore, the Niners still had a chance to snatch this one away from the Seahawks if they would have been able to hold them on the game's final drive. The biggest play of that drive came on a 32-yard bomb from Hasselbeck to rookie Deon Butler that set up Olindo Mare's game winning field goal. The game winner marked 18 straight field goals for Mare, who at one point was the target of coach Jim Mora's rage after missing a couple crucial kicks against Chicago a few weeks ago.
As for the aftermath of Seattle's upset, the win does nothing for the Seahawks except move them a few spots down the draft order. Even though their technically tied for 2nd with San Francisco at 5-7, both teams are three games behind Arizona with four to play. For the Niners, everything they needed to happen to stay alive turned out to go the opposite way. They needed to take care of business in a winnable game against Seattle and they needed Arizona to join the long line of teams that got steamrolled by the Minnesota Vikings. Neither of those things happened. What happens now is the defending NFC champions get to wrap up the division on Monday night against San Francisco and rest up for the playoffs. For the Seahawks, they get to make Mora look good in the next couple weeks when they face suddenly-beatable Houston and cosmically inept Tampa Bay before finishing the year with Green Bay and Tennessee. A 7-9 finish will go a long way in helping Mora's job security if or when Mike Holmgren takes over next season and will put a little gloss on what has been a turd of a season.
About the Author
Written by Dave Leonardis
Born and raised in New Jersey, I've been writing since I was 10 and blogging since I was 18. I'm a huge sports nerd, following football, baseball and basketball in particular in close detail. My style is very upfront. I don't pull punches and I'm not shy about criticizing anything I feel deserves a proper tongue-lashing. If you're looking for someone who says what he wants, when he wants, then look no further than this guy right here.