Seahawks need to look toward next year now
The second half was a very different story for the Seahawks. They played mistake-free ball – as in literally zero penalties and zero turnovers – and still only led by one point. And that was basically courtesy of Jimmie Ward’s amazingly stupid play. I’m not emphasizing the play because he’s a Niner – although, yeah, the heck with those guys – but I absolutely hate when any player makes that kind of stupid mistake.
Unfortunately, it didn’t exactly haunt the 49ers. They took the opening kickoff and executed a masterful 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that not only gave them the lead for good – sorry for not giving you the spoiler alert – but took 7:45 off the clock. Now the Hawks were down 23-17. Okay, no worries, we’ve got our guys, right? They’ll get it done again.
Well, they almost did. The Hawks launched their own long drive, reaching the Niners 15-yard line after 11 plays. A penalty on rookie Charles Cross moved the ball back to the 19, and then disaster struck. Smith dropped back and was literally swarmed by four garnet jerseys. The ball was batted loose, Nick Bosa recovered the fumble, and the Seahawks season was over.
I didn’t think so at the time, but it sure didn’t feel great. Purdy and McCaffrey carved up the Hawks defense again, this time in seven plays. That pushed the lead to 31-17 after the Niners converted on a two-point play. The Hawks continued to unravel, as they committed two straight penalties, and had a third declined. Michael Dickson was forced to punt – he hit a beauty for 60 yards – and the Niners were back in business.
Sadly, business was good for San Francisco. After a two-yard catch by Deebo Samuel got the ball to their own 26, Purdy connected with Samuel again. This time, no one remember to cover him, and he turned an eight-yard pass into a 74-yard backbreaking touchdown. After another Robbie Gould extra point, the score was 38-17. The game might not have been over, but with just 10:51 left in the fourth quarter, the Hawks faced a huge task to come back.
That wasn’t going to happen. Geno’s first pass of the drive was picked off and returned to the Seattle 37. The Niners added a field goal to stretch the lead to 41-17, and it was well and truly finished. Smith did march the Hawks down the field on a 15-play touchdown drive that ended with a three-yard strike to DK Metcalf, Smith looked solid, mixing in passes to Dareke Young and Cade Johnson along with Lockett, Noah Fant, and Metcalf along the way, but it was obviously far too late. The Hawks went down 41-23.
It was too late for this game and this season, but I prefer to think of it as preparation for this coming season. As they said on the broadcast, the Seahawks logged more snaps by rookies than any other team in the league this year. How much better will they be after the experience of learning what it takes to get to the playoffs? The future is very bright indeed in Seattle.