Talk about a game neither team wanted or deserved to win. Being a Seahawks fan, I’ll gladly take the win as it gives the team one more than all of last season, but it was ugly. Despite a close score, it was a boxing match between two guys with their gloves tied together.
The play of the game was three plays from the end. Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck dropped back with 20 seconds left in the game. He glanced left and then threw a beautiful pass that dropped perfectly in rookie wide receiver Deon Butler’s hands. The completion went for 32 yards and put Seattle in position to kick the game winning field goal.
1. Seahawks third down defense. San Francisco went 1-for-13 on third down. Part of the reason, I felt was that the 49ers completely forgot they had Frank Gore, who has a history of gashing the Seahawks, in the backfield. Gore ran the ball nine times for 25 yards with a longest run of six yards. In the last meeting, he went 207 yards on 16 carries against basically the same defense. Instead the 49ers took to the air and Alex Smith threw a career high 310 yards on a career high 45 attempts. In 11 more attempts, Smith only completed two more passes than Hasselbeck.
2. Fourth down defense. On the 49ers second drive, which started on the Seahawks 22 after a sack and forced fumble my 49ers linebacker Manny Lawson, they went for it on 4th and goal rather than take the field goal. Seattle stopped them cold and took over on downs. Naturally the Seahawks went three and out but the early stop set a tone for the game.
3. Running game. Julius Jones was back in the lineup after missing a couple of games with a bruised lung. Although he didn’t run badly, 20 carries for 67 yards, watching him showed how much Justin Forsett suits this offense better.
1. Hasselbeck. Although he finally threw a touchdown pass, breaking a two game drought, it was painful watching Hasselbeck out there. He clearly didn’t trust his line and was breaking out of the pocket repeatedly when the pressure wasn’t there. An early sack and lost fumble contributed to the feelings, I’m sure, but as a usually calm leader, Hasselbeck has one of his worst games as a Seahawk.