The Seahawks weren’t supposed to be here, remember? Yet here they were, giving the hottest team in the league all they wanted. At least for one half.
The Seahawks defied all expectations this season. All expectations except their own, that is. Many of the football pundits said the Hawks would max out at three wins. One even said Seattle wouldn’t win a single game. And yet they made the playoffs for the 10th time in 13 seasons under Pete Carroll. Once you’re in the postseason, anything can happen, and Saturday’s wild game was as good an example of that as you’ll ever see.
The 49ers were the hottest team in the NFL coming into the playoffs, having won 10 straight. The Seahawks gave them a better game in their second chance this year but still couldn’t come away with the win in week 15. They couldn’t stop RB Christian McCaffrey or TE George Kittle then, and the Niners had more weapons back for their postseason run. Elijah Mitchell and Deebo Samuel were both back and that only spelled trouble for the Hawks. Or at least, that’s a lot of us thought heading into this game.
Seahawks play mistake-free in the first half
Seattle took the opening kickoff and did virtually nothing. Eight yards and three plays, and they were forced to punt. The Niners settled for a field goal, but then held the Hawks to another eight-yard three-and-out sequence. This time, McCaffrey ripped off a 68-yard run, and a few plays later, the Niners were up 10-0. This was shaping up to be the game we all feared. And then, Geno Smith took control.
Smith directed a masterful blend of runs and passes to drive the length of the field. He completed four of five passes, while Kenneth Walker III added 29 yards, including the finishing touchdown. Seattle mixed in two direct snaps to the running backs that kept the ferocious Niners defensive line guessing. After a slow start, suddenly the Hawks were back in the game trailing 10-7.