After the game against the Saints on Monday Night Football, the Seahawks looked invincible. Against the 49ers, it looked like they were in another one of those close games they’d hang on to win, but this week it wasn’t meant to be.
With six minutes left in the game, the Seahawks held a one-point lead, 17-16 over their division rival. But their top-ranked defense, which held Frank Gore in check for most of the day, allowed him to break through for a 51-yard run that put the 49ers in position to win.
Colin Kaepernick helped seal the win with a designed run play to the left that gave San Francisco a first down and allowed them to run the clock down under 30 seconds before kicking the go-ahead field goal to take a 19-17 lead.
Golden Tate, after returning a punt to put the team in position to take the lead, was on the field for the final kick return but couldn’t even get to the 20-yard line. Wilson then attempted to link up on a deep play to Jermaine Kearse, but the pass was intercepted after Kearse tripped and couldn’t make a play on the ball.
The loss snapped a six-game win streak by Seattle, and took away an early opportunity to clinch the NFC West title and a first-round bye.
Even though the long run by core came late it the game, it’s hard to put too much of the blame on the defense. Overall, they did a good job to hold the 49ers to just one touchdown in three trips inside the red zone.
The most glaring issue with the team this week was penalties, particularly ones that were completely unnecessary, that killed drives on offense, and extended drives for the 49ers.
Though Jon Ryan was able to make it through another game and keep his season punt return total at 15 yards, he had one punt blocked that led to a 49ers field goal.
The 49ers now go on the road to take on the streaking Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After the Bucs lost to Seattle, they’ve won four of their last five games. The loss was on the road against Carolina.
Seattle could still clinch the division next week if the Hawks can win their game on the road against the New York Giants and the 49ers lose on the road in Tampa.
San Francisco has yet to win a game this season against an NFC South team. While the Seahawks always seem to draw the 10 a.m. time slot, this will be the first time the 49ers will have to start a game that early.
So just as Superman is harmed by kryptonite, the Human Torch is vulnerable to asbestos, and Daredevil is hindered by the same effect 12s bring on opposing teams at CenturyLink, it seems Russell Wilson and the Seahawks get just enough of their energy drawn out by traveling to San Francisco to lose by only two points.
The solution is simple: Win at least two of the last three games, clinch the top seed and guarantee the road to the Super Bowl will have to go through Seattle.