The Seattle Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13 and here are three things we learned from Seattle’s victory.
First of all, though, didn’t it simply feel good to finally win another game? The way the Seahawks were playing the last several weeks, it didn’t seem like they could even beat the Detroit Lions (they still might not later this year). Seattle was bad.
But it takes just one game to re-start the season. While Seattle would have to win every game remaining and still get help to make the playoffs, at least the way they performed in Week 13 seemed like there won’t simply be gloom the rest of the way this year.
Seattle is now 4-8. They have lost a bunch of close games. The Houston Texans are up next and they are awful. Seattle should get its second straight win this Sunday. But a few thoughts before we get there.
3 things we learned from Seattle Seahawks feel-good victory in Week 13
Travis Homer is a special teams genius
Travis Homer has the green light to call fakes on punts, only the Seahawks hadn’t really seen an alignment before Week13 that allowed them to fake. Remember that this isn’t Homer’s first run on a fake. In 2019 against the Minnesota Vikings, Homer called a fake and gained 26 yards and a first down. Sunday’s fake went just a wee bit better.
For all the criticism that Homer gets for not being a very productive running back, he is a very good special teams player. He calls the alignments on punts and the coaching staff has total faith in him to call fakes, if he sees fit. The play on Seattle’s first drive didn’t in itself produce a Seattle victory (Seattle still fell behind 17-7) but it gave the entire team a spark that seemed to carry throughout the game.
Carlos Dunlap needs to play more – at defensive end
Carlos Dunlap has had a very bad season. He has also been asked to play a different kind of role in this year’s defensive scheme for some reason. When Dunlap came over halfway through the 2020 season from the Bengals, he produced 5 sacks in 8 games. But defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. saw that success and thought of a way to mess it up this year.
Dunlap has played a lot of downs in 2021 not as a defensive end, Dunlap’s natural position, but as a hybrid linebacker and has dropped into coverage more than he ever has. Dunlap’s lack of productivity has caused him to get fewer and fewer snaps per game as the season has worn on as well.
But a lot of the problem might be he is simply asked to play a position he isn’t good at. Dunlap is a good defensive end, though. He only got 7 snaps in Week 13 and had two of the game’s bigger plays. His 7 snaps were as an edge rusher, not a linebacker. Dunlap had a sack-safety in the fourth quarter that tied the game and then on San Francisco’s final drive, Dunlap batted a ball down on fourth down that basically ended the game. He needs to play end more and stop the experiment at linebacker.
Rashaad Penny can be maddeningly good and that’s a problem
Penny is one of the more frustrating players to me in recent Seattle history. A first-round pick in 2018 who has never produced anywhere close to that. He is seemingly always hurt. In the last three years combined, Penny has played in 18 games.
But the biggest problem is when he is able to play for longer stretches, he has plays that remind a person of just why Seattle thought he would be a very good player. Penny ran for 35 yards on 10 carries in Week 13 but also took a short throw from Russell Wilson and turned it into a 27-yard gain. Penny showed speed and power and the potential to be a very productive back.
But that is all Penny has ever been: Potentially good. He likely won’t be back with the Seahawks next year as he is a free agent. But you just know one year soon he is going to stay mostly healthy and have a big season.