The Seahawks found themselves in an early hole against the NFC West leading 49ers on Thursday night and were never able to recover. Yes, there were some positive moments in the second half, particularly on defense, but a mistake-filled first half was too much to overcome against a team as good as San Francisco, and the result was a 31-13 loss at Lumen Field that dropped Seattle's record to 6-5, two games behind the 49ers for the division lead.
Here are six rapid reactions to the Seahawks' Thanksgiving loss:
1. First-half mistakes helped an already really good 49ers team that didn't need any.
Beating a team as good as the 49ers is tough enough for teams that play a clean game, and the Seahawks were far from playing a clean game in this one. Make no mistake about it, the 49ers were the better team on Thursday, but the score didn't need to be as lopsided as it was if the Seahawks could have gotten out of their own way, particularly in the first half.
In falling behind early, the Seahawks had two turnovers, an interception and a muffed punt; they had a crucial third-down penalty on defense that led to 49ers points, an illegal contact call on Tre Brown; they had a drive die near their goal line when Geno Smith tripped on Zach Charbonnet's feet; and there were plenty of other mistakes like missed tackles, a false start and a chance for a deep completion on which DK Metcalf couldn't quite get two feet in bounds.
The Seahawks might not have won on Thursday even if they had played a cleaner game, but they at least could have kept themselves in it to give them a fighting chance.
2. The Seahawks defense fought hard in the second half to keep the Seahawks in it.
The game could have really gotten out of hand in the second half after the 49ers built a 24-3 lead, but Seattle's defense did well to keep the score in check for a while, even if the offense wasn't able to get a comeback going. After the 49ers built that three-score lead, their next five drives ended with three punts, a field goal coming off a muffed punt that gave them a short field, and a Jordyn Brooks interception return for a touchdown. In the end the 49ers were able to add an insurance score late in the game, but it was still a solid effort by the defense to keep fighting despite a big deficit.
3. Despite some flashes in the second half, the offense couldn't get on track.
Facing one of the NFL's best defenses, the Seahawks offense was going to need a very good performance to come out on top Thursday, but they weren't able to make that happen, stumbling out of the gate and, with the exception of a few promising drives in the second half, never really getting going.
Seattle managed just three first downs and 56 yards of offense in the first half, and while the second half numbers were better—the Seahawks finished the game with 220 yards and 14 first downs—the Seahawks were still held to just two field goals aside from Jordyn Brooks' pick-six.
4. Jordyn Brooks scored his first touchdown to add to an already very good season.
Linebacker Jordyn Brooks has been playing the best football of his four-year career this season, a feat that is all the more impressive because he is coming back from a torn ACL that occurred in Week 17 of last season, meaning he was on the field for the opener this year less than eight months removed from surgery.
In addition to piling up tackles like he always does—Brooks had a team-high 12 on Thursday—he also turned in the biggest play of the game for Seattle's defense, catching a tipped pass and returning it 12 yards for a touchdown, the first score of his NFL career, and the only touchdown the Seahawks would score in the game.
5. Jaxon Smith-Njigba made what might have been the catch of the year.
Part of Seattle's offensive struggles included a 3 for 11 conversion rate on third down, but one of those conversions was one of the most spectacular catches you'll see all season.
Facing third-and-9 backed up deep in their own territory, Smith threw a deep ball down the right sideline towards Smith-Njigba, and the rookie receiver twisted his body to adjust to the throw, the reached out his right hand for a full-extension one-handed grab that wowed teammates and coaches on the sideline, as well as just about everyone in the stadium.
With two catches for 41 yards, Smith-Njigba has at least 40 receiving yards in six of the last seven games.
6. Dee Eskridge showed some explosiveness.
Dee Eskridge's three-year career has so far been marred by injuries and, this season, a six-game suspension, limiting the chances the receiver has had to show off the explosiveness that made him a second-round pick. And while it wasn't enough to make a big difference in Thursday's game, Eskridge did have a couple of nice moments that showed off what he might be able to bring.
Most notably, Eskridge's first touch of the game was a kick return for 66 yards that set up a field goal. Eskridge's one touch on offense was a 10-yard run on a fly-sweep, and he also had a 30-yard return in the fourth quarter, finishing the game with 140 yards on four kick returns.
The 12s showed up to Lumen Field to cheer on the Seahawks as they take on the 49ers in a division showdown on Thanksgiving night.