SANTA CLARA, Calif.—The Seahawks were unable to clinch a playoff berth on Sunday, losing 26-23 in overtime to the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium.
The Seahawks had won 10 straight over the 49ers coming into this game, including four in a row in Santa Clara, but a combination of special teams miscues, penalties and big plays by the 49ers contributed to San Francisco handing Seattle its first loss since Week 10.
Here are five rapid reactions to the loss that dropped the Seahawks’ record to 8-6:
1. Michael Dickson Is A Magician, But There Were Issues On Special Teams.
Michael Dickson once again showed why he is the NFC’s leading fan-vote getter among punters in Pro-Bowl voting. On his first punt, Dickson hit a ball that bounced inside the five and checked up, allowing the Seahawks to down it at the 1-yard line. His next punt was nearly as perfect, getting downed at the 2-yard line.
But while Dickson was spectacular once again, the Seahawks had some issues on special teams they’ll want to clean up moving forward. Most notably, the 49ers scored on a 97-yard kick return in the first quarter, but there was also a missed extra point, as well as multiple penalties, including a block in the back that took away what could have been good field position on Seattle’s final drive in regulation.
2. Penalties Were A Big Problem.
Those penalties on special teams were costly, but that unit was hardly the only guilty party in Sunday’s game. Penalties on offense killed drives, including holds on Seattle’s final drive in regulation and first possession of overtime, while one 49ers scoring drive was aided by a pair of 15-yard flags on the defense and one on special teams before the drive started. Finally, San Francisco’s game-winning drive in overtime was aided by a pass-interference penalty.
The Seahawks finished the game with 14 penalties for 148 yards, both season highs.
3. Chris Carson Is Tough To Bring Down.
Chris Carson finished the game with 119 yards on 22 carries, his fourth 100-yard game this season. And while Carson, who also had six catches for 29 yards, had plenty of big gains and even another hurdle over a defender, his best play of the day was a run that barely gained a yard.
After Carson was stuffed twice at the goal line early in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks elected to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line. The handoff went to Carson again, and initially it looked like the 49ers were going to make another stop, but after being halted initially, Carson bounced to his left, and powered through multiple tacklers before reaching just across the line for a score that, along with the extra point, tied the game at 20.
4. The Seahawks Pass Rush Caught Fire Late In The Game.
San Francisco quarterback Nick Mullens and the 49ers offense again put up some big numbers against the Seahawks, but with the game on the line, Seattle’s pass rush suddenly found its way, resulting in two late-game stops that gave the offense a chance at a game-winning score, though the offense wasn’t able to win it, sending the game to overtime. After the Seahawks tied the game at 23-23, the 49ers next possession opened with Frank Clark drilling Mullens on an incomplete pass. Mullens was pressured and eventually sacked by Clark on second down, Clark’s 12th sack of the season, then on third down, safety Shalom Luani hit Mullens on a blitz, the play resulting in another incomplete pass.
On San Francisco’s next possession, Jarran Reed sacked Mullens twice, giving him 8.5 for the season, leading to another punt.
5. Doug Baldwin Is A Difference Maker.
The Seahawks played without Doug Baldwin last week, but the Pro Bowl receiver made it back from a hip injury this week. And it didn’t take long for Baldwin to show how much of a difference he can make in a game, catching a 5-yard touchdown pass on Seattle’s opening drive.
Baldwin also scored Seattle’s second touchdown, an impressive leaping grab on a ball thrown a little behind him. Baldwin not only secured a difficult catch, he somehow avoided a hit, spun and sprinted to the end zone for a 35-yard score. Baldwin, who finished with 77 yards on four catches, also had a huge play to set up a score, hauling in a 27-yard catch on third-and-8, despite a huge hit, on Seattle’s fourth quarter drive that ended with a field goal to tie it at 23-23.
“Doug played phenomenal today," said Seattle head coach Pete Carroll. "That was a great game. Incredible plays. Russ found him well and hooked up with him. Doug was spectacular today."
With two touchdowns on Sunday, Baldwin moved passed Darrell Jackson for No. 2 on Seattle’s all-time list with 48 career touchdowns. Seahawks Hall of Fame receiver Steve Largent is first on that list with 100.
Pregame photos from the Seattle Seahawks' road game against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 15 of the 2018 NFL season.