Photo Credit: Bettina Hansen – The Seattle Times
Seattle’s (7-4) offense struggled throughout the first half, but they managed to scrape together 24 points in an uncomfortable 11-point victory over the San Francisco 49ers (1-10) Sunday afternoon.
Jimmy Graham would catch the Seahawks’ second touchdown pass to give Seattle a 21-6 lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter. His touchdown came at the end of a physical drive that saw Seattle chew up 5:37 of the clock using 11 plays on its march to the end zone. This drive clearly was too much for the 49ers defense as several players limped off of the field after Graham’s touchdown and another one went down with an angle injury.
Blair Walsh would seal the victory with a 34-yard field goal that extended Seattle’s lead to 18-points with just under three and a half minutes left in the game. The made field goal was Walsh’s first made attempt of the game.
After CJ Beathard was injured in the final two minutes, Jimmy Garoppolo would come in for a couple of plays. Garoppolo would throw his first touchdown pass in a 49ers jersey as time expired when he found Louis Murphy in the end zone for the Niners only touchdown of the game.
Tight end Nick Vannett would cap off a six play 71-yard one drive with a leaping 17-yard touchdown reception to give Seattle a 14-6 lead. Vannett’s first career touchdown catch came after he created space from the defender with a brilliant turn to the front corner of the end zone. The Hawks relied heavily on the running game in the first part of the drive to pull San Francisco’s safeties in and then used the play action pass to beat them over the top.
During their first drive of the after the break, the 49ers offense repeatedly shredded Seattle’s defensive front with runs repeatedly through the A and B gaps to get into enemy territory. But the Hawks defense would buckle down to keep San Francisco out of the red zone to force a 42-yard field goal attempt, which Gould (again) nailed to narrow Seattle’s lead to one.
San Francisco’s offense would hit its groove in the final two minutes of the first half to get into field goal range. Beathard would complete four of his five pass attempts during the Niners final drive of the half and Gould would split the uprights as time expired to cut the Seahawks lead to four at halftime.
Seattle’s first offensive touchdown came two plays after middle linebacker Bobby Wagner picked off Beathard on a pass that was corralled before it touched the ground. Wilson scored from two yards out on a fake pitch that caught everyone off guard. JD McKissic would carry the ball outside of the tackles for a 14-yard gain on his first carry of the game to set-up Wilson’s easy two yard scamper into the end zone. The fifth year quarterback’s touchdown run came off of a beautiful fake handoff that froze the 49ers defense.
The touchdown occurred because the Seahawks defense gave their offense a short field. Outside of that drive the offense struggled to get anything done against an attacking San Francisco defense. At the half, Eddie Lacy was Seattle’s leading rusher with 21 yards on eight carries; while Wilson was outplayed by Beathard, as both quarterbacks had an interception…but only San Francisco’s signal caller had completed over 50% of his passes.