5 Notes from the 49ers’ Victory over the Seahawks: The tide has turned in this rivalry
We are witnessing a made-for-Hollywood scenario unfold before our eyes. The San Francisco 49ers just walked onto the field where success had eluded them for years and clinched their league in primetime with the third-string quarterback as the future of the franchise.
The same team that once sat at 3-4 after losing 21 points at home now has a seven-game winning streak and made sure they could be no worse than the #3 seed in the NFC playoffs after becoming the first team in the league to seal. Even split them.
Here are five points from the 49ers’ massive win over their division rival.
The tide has turned in this rivalry
Given the results of the past decade, it would be difficult for an outside observer to characterize this as a “rivalry”, given the very one-sided nature of the dominance the Seahawks enjoyed during that time period.
Prior to this season, the 49ers had only gone 3-17 in their last twenty meetings with the Seahawks, and had won only once in their last 11 trips to Seattle. It was a showdown that left the 49ers in misery for over ten years, and two games a year felt like you could turn around before the season and actually lose them as losses to San Francisco.
While the latest chapter in this rivalry has been successfully written on one side for the Seahawks, these 49ers of 2022 have officially turned the page and begun writing a story of their own. For the first time since 2011, the 49ers swept the regular season series with Seattle, sending an emphatic message that the tide has now turned, and now is their time.
Not only did the 49ers beat the Seahawks in both games, they completely choked them out. The 49ers made a statement with these wins over Seattle this year, making it known loud and clear that they are now the team to fear in this game.
The final exclamation mark in that ad was the third-string quarterback crawling into the house of terror at Lumen Field and quietly picking off a Seahawks defense that was essentially fighting for postseason life in this game.
It’s been a pleasantly surprising season for a Seahawks team that was on the verge of rebuilding after dealing with a quarterback, and their efforts this season have been commendable.
But make no mistake about it, these two teams couldn’t be further apart in their current state at the moment, and what we’ve seen this season could be the basis for the 49ers’ dominant performances in this heated rivalry.
Nick Bossa Joins Elite Company
When discussing the 49ers’ outright dominance over the Seahawks this season, the discussion should start with Bosa, who has obliterated the Seattle offense in both of their meetings this season. Bosa finished Thursday night’s win with five pressures and a sack, bringing his season total in two games versus the Seahawks to 12 pressures and three sacks.
Bosa’s sacking on Thursday gave him a league-leading 15.5 this season, but it also earned him a place in the history books. With the sack, Bosa became the fifth player in NFL history to record 15-plus sacks in two of the league’s first four seasons. These are the only other players to achieve this in NFL history:
Reggie White – Member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Richard Dent – Member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Andre Tebet – Member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame
JJ Watt – An active player who is almost certainly a Hall of Fame lock
Four players in the Hall of Fame and Nick Bossa. This is. This list. While Bosa still has a long way to go to seal his ticket to Canton, putting himself on a short list with some of the greatest defensive players of all time is a very encouraging start to achieving that goal.
It’s even more impressive when you factor in the fact that Bossa did it while almost missing his sophomore campaign after tearing his ACL in week two of that season.
Lumen Field brings out the best in George Kittle
Is it the atmosphere on the field? Is it the opponent on the other sideline? Whatever the reason, we’ve seen some of the greatest moments of Kettle’s career come at the expense of the Seahawks’ home defense.
Kittle finished this game with four receptions for 93 yards and two touchdowns, making it his second straight trip to Seattle with as many catches. Here’s what Kittle’s numbers look like from some of the 49ers’ recent trips to take on the Seahawks in the Pacific Northwest.
2022 – 4 receptions / 93 yards / 2 touchdowns*
2021 – 9 receptions / 181 yards / 2 touchdowns
2019-7 receptions/86 yards*
(* denotes a game in which the 49ers clinched a title)
In its first review, Pro Football Focus assigned Kittle a score of 93.2 on Thursday’s win, which would be tied for the second-highest single-game score of his career. Remarkably, the three highest-ranked games of Kettle’s career all came on the road against the Seahawks.
2019 – 93.8
2022 – 93.2
2021 – 93.2
The tangible effect of Christian McCaffrey on a rushing attack from the 49ers
Hey, who knew that adding one of the best running backs in the league to your backfield would get you off the hook your rushing offense was in before his arrival? In all seriousness, McCaffrey’s addition kicked off the 49ers’ ground game in a way that may end up being the thing that ultimately saved the season.
Prior to McCaffrey’s arrival, the 49ers had run for over 100 yards in three of the six games they played. Since McCaffrey has been with the team, the 49ers have passed 100 yards in seven of their eight games, with the only exception when they ran for 96 against New Orleans in Week 12.
Half of those games since McCaffrey’s arrival have seen the 49ers run for more than 150 yards, including Thursday night’s win over Seattle when they gathered 170 yards on the ground. That included a 108 from McCaffrey, marking the second consecutive game the 49ers’ star running back 100 yards with a touchdown.
This 49ers defense is up special
I wanted to end this on a high note, so I’ve saved the best for last. The things DeMeco Ryans and his defense have been doing this season are on par with some of the greatest defenses we’ve ever seen.
Through 14 games, the 49ers defense allows 15 points per game, the third-fewest total since 2012, trailing only the 2013 Seahawks and 2019 Patriots. They stifled Seattle’s offense for the majority of this game, holding them to just 13 points even after conceding late with three minutes remaining.
It was the only touchdown the 49ers have surrendered to a Seahawks offense in eight quarters of play this season, and it took Seattle 117 of the 120 minutes they were scheduled to play to find dirt in the end zone.
Keep in mind, this is a Seahawks offense that prides itself in top ten offense while also ranking in the top ten in points allowed. The 49ers defense held this explosive offense to 4.7 yards per pass attempt in this game while holding them out of the end zone until they were down by double digits in the closing moments of this game.
This dominant defense recorded more interceptions (14) than it admitted touchdowns (13). This is unheard of in the wide open spaces of the modern NFL.
In an era of standout quarterbacks and explosive offenses lighting up the scoreboard, these 49ers are an ode to the rebounding contender, the team built around a dominant defense as the backbone of their high-caliber roster.
This is where the 49ers defense currently ranks in some crucial areas this season:
Points allowed – first place
Allowed yards – 1st
The first allowed landing – the first
rushing yards per attempt – first
Yards per drive allowed – 1
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