Seahawks lose to 49ers when clock management cost them the NFC West

The Seahawks lost to the 49ers in week 17 and they will now be the number 5 seed in the NFC. But they lost a game they could have won.

The Seahawks had the storybook finish right in front of them. They had the ball 2nd and goal from the one with under a minute left and Marshawn Lynch was there to run the ball in for a touchdown that would have given Seattle the victory and the NFC West title.

Then, as often happens nowadays, horrible clock management came into play. Pete Carroll has struggled with his use of time outs this season and misuse of time in the final two minutes of halves and ends of games. But Seattle not getting off a play while the ball was on the one-yard line and taking a delay of game penalty probably changed the outcome of the game and season.

There isn’t a good excuse for it. Some coaches who might be hanging onto their jobs would be fired for this. Carroll isn’t getting fired but he also has failed to quickly make calls this season numerous times and that is inexcusable.

Of course, Seattle losing to the 49ers 26-21 on Sunday seemed a bit like a relief. The game was 13-0 at halftime and the 49ers were dominating total yards and time of possession and dictating style of play. 13-0 seemed like 35-0.

But then the Seahawks did what the Seahawks do and made a game close, win or lose, that had no business being close. Russell Wilson was under duress the whole first half and yet was only sacked once in the game. San Francisco finished with 9 quarterback hits but a lot of them came early.

And at one point San Francisco had 186 total yards to Seattle’s 36 and yet by the end of the game, the 49ers had outgained the Seahawks just 398 to 348. Seattle held the ball for nearly six more minutes than San Francisco. For a team without safety Quandre Diggs and left tackle Duane Brown, Seattle found a way to be in a position to win at the finish.

The great ending would have been Lynch, who finished with 34 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown, crossing the goal line and giving Seattle the NFC West title and home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Instead, Seattle took a five-yard penalty and a pass from Wilson to Jacob Hollister was an inch short of giving Seattle a game-winning touchdown.

Still, there are positives. Travis Homer ran hard and gained 62 yards on 10 carries and caught 5 passes for 30 more yards. Tyler Lockett caught 6 passes for 51 yards and a touchdown and was huge in the second half. D.K. Metcalf had six catches too, a lot of them in the second half when Seattle outscored San Francisco 21-13. And Seattle now travels to Philadelphia next Sunday to play an Eagles team they could easily beat.

The Seahawks season is not yet done and they might easily play the 49ers again late in the playoffs. If Seattle plays its best, they can defeat anyone. It is just up to Pete Carroll to stop making dumb time management mistakes and allow his team to get the victory.