The Seahawks and 49ers rarely play normal, easy-to-script games, but even by the standard of this NFC West rivalry, Sunday's game was a wild one. The day started off with the Seahawks scoring off a fake punt, it featured big plays and sloppy turnovers by both teams, and even added a safety for good measure.
In the end, it all came down to the Seahawks needing a final goal-line stop, and the defense came through, giving Seattle a 30-23 victory that ended a three-game losing streak and improved its record to 4-8.
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Here are six rapid reactions to Sunday's wild win over the 49ers:
1. Russell Wilson and the offense took some considerable steps in the right direction.
A Seahawks offense that had been struggling coming into Sunday's game didn't exactly get off to a great start against the 49ers. Yes, there was the early touchdown run by Travis Homer, but that came on a fake punt and after a three-and-out, and the Seahawks went without a first down on offense on their first four possessions, turning it over once on a Gerald Everett fumble, losing yardage on two other fumbles that Seattle recovered, losing yards on penalties, and punting twice. But for as big of a mess as those early possessions was, the offense flipped a switch late in the second quarter and spent much of the rest of the game looking as good as it has all season, especially considering the quality of defense it was facing.
Following a second-quarter punt after which the Seahawks had a total of one first down on the fake punt, the Seahawks put together touchdown drives of 63 and 65 yards, the latter of which came inside of the final two minutes of the half with no timeouts. The Seahawks had a shot at another touchdown open the second half thanks to a turnover on special teams, but what should have been a touchdown pass from Wilson to Everett instead bounced off Everett's hands, then hit his foot on the way to the ground, leading to an interception. The Seahawks added one more touchdown on a beautiful Wilson-to-Tyler Lockett touchdown pass, then put together a nice drive that should have provided an insurance score, but unfortunately ended near the goal line on another Everett fumble.
For Wilson, who hasn't quite been himself since returning from injury, it was by far his best performance in his four games back. It wasn't quite perfect—most notably Wilson overshot DK Metcalf on a potential touchdown—but overall, Wilson was the most accurate he has been, and he finished 30 for 37 for 231 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 99.4 that would have been higher if not for the interception on what should have been a touchdown pass to Everett.
And a big reason Seattle's offense got on track? They improved on third down, an issue that has plagued the offense throughout the season. After staring the game 0 for 4 on third down, the Seahawks converted five of their next seven on their way to three touchdowns that gave them the lead.
2. The Seahawks defense did a lot of good things, but George Kittle was a problem.
The Seahawks defense did plenty of things well on Sunday, including forcing a pair of turnovers—interceptions by Bobby Wagner and Quandre Diggs—and getting as safety on a sack by Carlos Dunlap II. They also held in check Elijah Mitchell and a 49ers running game that has been dominant in recent weeks, limiting Mitchell to 66 yards on 22 carries, and the 49ers as a team to just 71 yards. And most notably, the Seahawks got a huge stop in the red zone to secure the win, with Sidney Jones IV coming up with a pass breakup on third-and-goal, then Dunlap batting down a pass on fourth down to seal the victory.
But the 49ers led the game early and were very much in it late in large part because of Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle, who was a handful throughout the game. Kittle finished with 181 yards and a pair of scores, including an incredibly impressive 48-yard score on which he tight-roped down the sideline before breaking free.
Fortunately for the Seahawks, their defense did enough right to overcome Kittle's monster game.
3. Adrian Peterson provided a spark.
No, Adrian Peterson's Seahawks debut didn't start off well. First, he was hit in the backfield nearly as soon as he took the handoff for a 5-yard loss on his first carry, then he fumbled on his second carry, with Will Dissly recovering to avoid a turnover. When Peterson got back on the field late in the second quarter, he had a 7-yard run, a great second-effort run to convert third-and-short, then he scored on a 1-yard run, the 126th touchdown of his career.
4. Dee Eskridge had the best game of his young career.
While Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf led the way for Seattle's receivers, combining for 12 catches for 128 yards and a core, rookie Dee Eskridge had his biggest impact on a game, catching only three passes for 35 yards, but making the most of those catches, one of which was on third down to extend a drive late in the first half, and another was a touchdown, the first of his career, to punctuate the drive.
5. Travis Homer is a big-play machine on special teams.
Running back Travis Homer doesn't get a ton of touches on offense, but he has shown this season that he can do special things with the ball in his hands, particularly on special teams.
6. Special teams as a whole had a great game.
Homer's touchdown run was the biggest play of the game for the Seahawks on special teams, but it was far from being the only big moment for that group. Most notably, Nick Bellore forced a fumble on kick coverage that was recovered by Homer to open the second half, though the offense was unable to capitalize on that. The Seahawks also got another standout performance by Michael Dickson, who pinned the 49ers inside their own 10-yard line twice and averaged 51.3 yards per punt, and DeeJay Dallas added a couple of nice kick returns with a long of 33 yards.
About the only negative was a missed field goal by Jason Myers, though that was on a 56-yard attempt.
The Seattle Seahawks take on the San Francisco 49ers during Week 13 of the 2021 season at Lumen Field. This album will be updated throughout the game. Game Action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.