In an NFC West title clash that lived up to the billing, the Seahawks came up inches short of a division title.
After trailing 13-0 at halftime, the Seahawks battled back and had the ball with a chance to win in the final seconds. Unfortunately for Seattle, Jacob Hollister was stopped inches short of the goal line on fourth-and-goal, allowing the 49ers to escape with a 26-21 victory that gives them the NFC's No. 1 overall seed. The Seahawks meanwhile, finish 11-5 and will go to Philadelphia next week to play the Eagles in the wild-card round on Sunday, January 5th at 1:40pm PT.
Here are five rapid reactions to Seattle's final game of the 2019 regular season:
1. Russell Wilson and the offense had a huge second half, but needed one more yard.
While the Seahawks struggled to get going early and were shut out in the first half, Russell Wilson and the offense caught fire in the second half. After punting on their first three possessions in the first half and being stopped on fourth-and-1 on their fourth and final possession of the half, the offense was nearly unstoppable in the second half.
Despite playing without their top three running backs, their top two tight ends, the starting center and their left tackle, the Seahawks and Wilson started to click in the third quarter, putting together touchdown drives of 72 and 75 yards to get the Seahawks back into the game. Seattle made it three straight touchdown drives with a Wilson to DK Metcalf in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, as detailed above, the Seahawks final drive came up inches short, keeping the Seahawks from completing an amazing comeback.
2. The Seahawks will try to put their regular-season road success to work in the playoffs.
If there's a silver lining in the Seahawks losing out on the NFC West title, it's that they have been a really good road team this season. The Seahawks finished a franchise best 7-1 on the road in 2019, including a 17-9 Week 12 victory in Philadelphia. Obviously the Seahawks would have preferred to be home next week, but they at least hit the road knowing that they have found a winning formula away from home.
3. Marshawn Lynch provided some serious juice, but Travis Homer also gave the offense a spark.
The return of Marshawn Lynch was a huge story leading up to Sunday's game, and sure enough, he received a big ovation from the fans in pregame introduction, the first time he took the field, the first time he touched the ball, when he ripped off runs of 8 and 15 yards in the third quarter, and especially when he leapt into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown that was his first as a Seahawk since 2015.
But as exciting as Lynch's return was, it was rookie Travis Homer getting the start as the player who has been with the team all season long and was best prepared for a big workload. And in his most extensive playing time of the season, the sixth-round pick out of Miami did not disappoint. Homer rushed for a career-best 62 yards on 10 carries, and also had five catches for 30 yards, two of which were good for third-down conversions.
Lynch, meanwhile, finished his first game of the 2019 season by rushing for 34 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
4. San Francisco's offense was a handful.
The Seahawks offense got going in the second half to make a comeback feel like a real possibility despite an early 13-0 deficit, but unfortunately for Seattle, the 49ers kept answering when the Seahawks found the end zone. After An impressive Russell Wilson to Tyler Locket touchdown made the score 13-7, the 49ers got a 49-yard gain on their next play from scrimmage, sparking a touchdown drive. Then when Lynch found the end zone, the 49ers again answered with a quick touchdown drive.
Other than an abbreviated drive at the end of the half, the 49ers scored on five of their first six possessions, punting only once.
One big difference for the 49ers this game compared to Seattle's Week 10 victory was the presence of tight end George Kittle, who missed the previous game with an injury, and the Pro-Bowl tight end didn't disappoint, catching seven passes for 86 yards. Deebo Samuel was an even bigger handful, however, catching five passes for 102 yards and running for a 30-yard score on an end around.
As difficult as the game was for Seattle's defense, that unit did come up with a stop late in the game to give the offense a shot at a game-winning drive.
5. DK Metcalf had a very impressive rookie campaign.
Metcalf finished Sunday's game as Seattle's leading receiver with six catches for 81 yards, including a touchdown. That gives Metcalf 58 catches for 900 yards and seven touchdowns this season, the second most receptions and receiving yards by a rookie in franchise history.