SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Bobby Wagner finished Sunday's game with 12 tackles, two sacks, a fumble recovery and a pass defensed. But what really stood out about the Seahawks linebacker's performance in a 25-23 win over the San Francisco 49ers is the way that, by the standard he has set this season, it didn't really stand out all that much.
That's not to say Wagner didn't play great on Sunday, but rather that he has played at such a high level all season that a 12-tackle, two-sack game almost feels routine at this point.
"Amazing stuff," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He played great, he had 12 tackles, a couple sacks. The thing about Bobby is not that that was such a great game; he has had great games one after another after another after another all season long. Nobody has played better football anywhere that I have seen in this league. He has just been such a stellar part of what we're doing, and he put the numbers up week in and week out, and he has been a great leader for us."
Wagner has been a big part of the Seahawks defense since arriving in Seattle as a second-round pick in 2012. He earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2014, second-team honors in 2015, and including this season, he has been a Pro Bowler for three straight seasons, so he has been a very good player for a long time. But what Wagner is doing this season is pretty spectacular even by the high standard he has established for himself.
Wagner finished his regular season with a franchise-record and NFL-leading 167 tackles, and his 4.5 sacks are just shy of his career high of 5.0 in 2013. On Sunday, he was everywhere as the Seahawks defense bounced back from a rocky start to dominate for most of the game after the 49ers scored two early touchdowns.
"Bobby is one of the best players in the NFL," defensive end Michael Bennett said. "He's one of the top five players in the NFL."
Yet for all Wagner accomplished this year, he doesn't find his record-setting season to be all that impressive, especially since he knows he could have had more had he not had "only" 20 tackles in his first three games.
"I feel like I could've had more (tackles) if I had gotten off to a faster start at the beginning of the season," Wagner said. "… I felt like I got off to a slow start at the beginning of the season. If you just get 10 tackles a game, that's 160, so that's reachable."
Action photos from Seahawks vs 49ers during Week 17 at Levi's Stadium.