The Seahawks ended with a game that perfectly represented their year. They started slowly, fought back, looked great, faltered, and fought back at the end. They’ll be home watching the rest of the playoffs like us, but few expected them to make it this far. These players stood out in the playoff loss.
I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t be more proud of this Seahawks team. Okay, sure, if they’d pulled off the upset over the Niners, I’d be happier – a lot happier – but I don’t think I’d be more proud. The 49ers are the hottest team in the league and have now won 11 straight games. There is zero shame in losing to a team that hasn’t taken an L since the week before Halloween.
Listen, I’m not taking a victory lap for a game that saw the Seahawks lose 41-23. The loss hurts, and it pointed out virtually everything Seattle needs to clean up this offseason and in training camp next season. But we also saw a lot to build on in this loss. Let’s look at the players that had the biggest impact on this game.
Seahawks special teams stars paid off big
At the risk of sounding like a broken record – yeah, vinyl, baby! – I’ve already done a lot of shouting about the great year Jason Myers has had. He didn’t get a lot of opportunities to score in the game against the Niners, but he nailed a 56-yard field goal to retake the lead to close out the first half. That was his seventh kick in seven tries over 50 yards this year. He also hit on both of his extra-point tries.
What’s gone unnoticed by too many is how great he’s been on kickoffs this year. Coming into the postseason, Myers had forced touchbacks on just over 58 percent of his kicks. That’s after he slumped to just 37 percent in 2021. He’s far off the pace of the league leader in touchbacks, but he didn’t allow a single return in this game. The 49ers had to drive the length of the field after every Seahawks score. It wasn’t Myers’ fault they were able to do that too often.
His kicking – okay, punting – buddy Michael Dickson had a solid game as well. Despite heavy pressure from the Niners on a couple of his punts, he averaged 48.5 yards on his four kicks. Only one was returned, and that was for 16 yards. He did his job as well as any of the Seahawks. Well, almost as well.
I can’t move on without mentioning Godwin Igwebuike. This was hardly the first time he’d made a difference in a Seahawks game. While his performance vs the Niners wasn’t quite as scintillating as against the Panthers, he still put the Hawks in a position to score with most of his returns. He averaged 25 yards on his six returns, with a long of 37. The threat of a long return by Igwebuike had to factor into the Niners’ decision to make the squib kick that led to the Hawks field goal to close the first half. He wasn’t enough, but then, no one player could have made the difference in this game.