The Seahawks suffered their first defeat of the young season yesterday, losing to the 49ers in San Francisco 23-10. Already without nearly half of their starting players due to various injuries, Seattle was dealt a couple more blows during the game.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck suffered a rib injury, tackle Sean Locklear left the game with a leg injury, Lofa Tatupu injured his hamstring, and Josh Wilson left with an injured ankle. Am I missing anyone?
I hate to create excuses for losing in San Francisco, but the Seahawks were hopeless with so many starters out. Imagine the 49ers without Frank Gore, Shaun Hill, Patrick Willis, and others; the Seahawks are 2-0 and probably would’ve won big.
Hopefully, the injured players can recover quickly and we won’t have to endure anything like last season.
But excuses aside, the Seahawks lost to the 49ers 23-10.
Here were my keys to victory, and how the team fared:
Protect Matt Hasselbeck.
Of course, this key was assuming that Matt Hasselbeck was going to play the entire game. But the offensive line wasn’t at fault for Hasselbeck’s injury. He left the pocket, scrambled towards the end zone, and dove just inches shy of the goal line. Linebacker Patrick Willis applied an explosive shot on Hasselbeck’s exposed back, leaving the quarterback injured and short of a touchdown.
The offensive line actually performed quite well, even with the injuries. San Francisco’s only sack came in an obvious passing situation in the first quarter.
Take care of the football.
The Seahawks did a decent job of avoiding turnovers, which kept the game close until the fourth quarter. The lone turnover came on a Seneca Wallace pass that was deflected off the hands of Nate Burleson and caught by Dashon Goldson.
Unfortunately, Seattle was also unable to move the football effectively or convert on third downs. And the defense didn’t create any turnovers.
Limit San Francisco’s playmakers.
Frank Gore had two runs of 79 and 80 yards and finished the day with 207 yards on only 16 carries. The 80-yard run was the first play of the second half.
Frank Gore has made big games against the Seattle Seahawks an annual habit; three of his top-five rushing games have come against Seattle.
If Seattle had any chance of beating the 49ers on the road, they had to limit the effectiveness of Frank Gore. Unfortunately, they did anything but. The Seahawks played with eight-man fronts, but Gore was still able to break loose for a 200-yard day.
Oh, and linebacker Patrick Willis had the most important hit of the day, knocking Matt Hasselbeck out of the game at the goal line before halftime. Willis didn’t have a standout performance yesterday, but his lone shot on Hasselbeck could impact Seattle’s entire season.
Seahawks 24, San Francisco 20
Seahawks 10, San Francisco 23
Apparently I was a little too optimistic after Seattle destroyed St. Louis at home. But I also wasn’t expected Seattle to play most of the game without so many starters.
Obviously, I still think that the Seahawks are a good football team. However, the big question is if they can stay (and get) healthy.