NFC West at its best: Hawks vs Niners rekindled

by Kevin Nesgoda

There is a frenzy in the chatrooms of CSN. Some speak with disbelieving gibberish and others sit with stunned silence. Matt Tucker summed it up best.

“That was a hell of a game. Ugly, beautiful, fun, frustrating. NFC West at its best. Hawks-Niners rekindled.”

What we areall frenzied over is the absolutely bananas game that just occurred in SantaClara. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks go down to the dragons den and slay thebeast. It was not a noble affair, with turnovers galore and astronomicalmomentum shifts.

A 51 point content coming down to the last possible play of overtime – the result of a last chance 49ers field-goal from 47 yards to tie at 24.

But lets rewind all the way back to the start of the game.

Penalties plagued the first drive. Following several 3rd down escapes, San Francisco was held to a Chase McLaughlin field-goal- the centerpiece of what was ultimately a bizarre tale. The Seahawks followed up with a dud of their own thanks to a drive ending sack which set a tone that many believed would take us through the final whistle.

Injuries began to take a toll on both teams, none more devastating than Emmanuel Sanders who left the contest with a rib injury. A shot in the foot for a team whose number 1 target, George Kittle, was ruled out prior to action and found himself watching from the club suites.

The scoring was far lower than many expected with the 49ers the only side to put points on the board in the first quarter. A 10 yard touchdown by K.Bourne capped a long drive by the 49ers. The 2nd quarter was much the same until a rare Seattle sack, wherein the ball was scooped up by clear man-of-the-match, Jadeveon Clowney. The athletic DE scooped up the rock and took it on a short trip to the house.

Momentum eventually seemed to swing towards Seattle thanks to Wilson finding a way to drive forcefully down the field. A screen to Metcalf saw him utilize that enormous frame and brutal stiff arm on a push for the TD. The opportunistic Jimmie Ward fought back and seized the ball from Metcalfs grasp at the 2 yard line.

The half concluded with the rare case of both teams feeling things could’ve been a lot worse.

The 2nd half began with the Hawks, who looked to be working well until a Rashad Penny fumble gave the ball to the 49ers with good field position. Following another sack on 2nd down and a catch and run not making the first down, the 49ers opted to go for it and failed to convert.

The Hawks, yet again, struggled to piece together a solid drive.

With the 49ers now with the ball, on a first and 10 in their own territory, Quandre Diggs stepped up to the plate as he plucked a pass out of the air. Setting the Seahawks up in prime position after solid run back.

For a brief moment, it appeared that the offense would fail to capitalize yet again following a fumble. The tables turned however and it became the only fumble of the game in which the offense retained the ball.

After a classic Wilson scramble, a fantastic athletic catch was made by tight end Jacob Hollister. At the cost of a 2020 7th rounder, Hollister appears to be a steal from the Patriots. The touchdown placed the Seahawks in the lead for the first time in the game and 5 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter.

To effectively finish the 3rd quarter, the 49ers looked very familiar to the Seahawks in that first down was a long sack, (this was brought back by another costly penalty of lowing the helmet) and then almost immediately after, committing a holding penalty on a successful play, before capping it all off with yet another QB fumble.

Clowney again, very literally, had a hand in this big play as he capitalized on the short distance with a quick score.

As the 4th quarter opened, the 9ers struggled to generate offense and the Seattle offense took to the field… only to have a rare double fumble turnover. Wilson somehow awkwardly fumbled the ball into Ifedis hands, who then attempted to tuck and run like Dan Connolly in 2010.

A swift, well aimed punch and good hands ensures the 9ers fumble is scooped up to bring the score to within three.

Drives come and go for each team, with the 49ers drive ending in a successful 39 yard kick from McLaughlin and Seattle pushing to set up a lead changing 46 yard field goal.

The 49ers, down 3 and with 1:45 left to go, rally to put on an equally impressive display. In 10 plays totaling 40 yards, they cut the clock down to 6 seconds. McLaughlin, having just joined the team on Thursday and who had kicked the ball only 3 times professionally before this game, nailed the 47 yarder to send the game to overtime.

The coin toss goes Seattle’s way, just as in the last weeks thriller.

Wilson jogs on to the field and, for 8 plays and 61 yards, put on a clinic – including a questionable standing sack that led to a substantial 3rd and 16. Second year man Malik Turner came up with a massive play to convert.

The next play saw Wilson float a ball that was ultimatly intercepted by the athletic Greenlaw in front of a waiting Hollister. Running it all the way back from his own 4 yard line to the 49.

The Niners then made a strong attempt to further get into range and convert but come up one yard short of a first down. The protagonist of every storyline the Bay Area will speak of this week walked onto the field to attempt a 47 yard field goal – No good.

Seattle was given a final opportunity on a rare 2nd overtime possession but was unable to secure the win. The Seattle defense kept Jimmy G and his then undefeated 49ers in check to give Wilson one final shot.

The 5th overall overtime possession started with Seattle at their own 36 yard line.

With the commentators contemplating a draw, the playmakers of the offense once again pieced together a 40 yard drive on the back of a Wilson scramble. Jason Myers, coming off a difficult week, walked on to attempt a 42 yarder.

He kicks it dead center but to no reaction as a timeout is heard just before the snap.

With 1 play, 5 seconds and 42 yards of grass, he is is vindicated of his past misses. A narrow margin, probably less than a few feet from the upright, the ball squeaks through and the game ends.

27-24 Hawks win.

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