This post was initially published in The Cliff Notes by CSN contributor Cliff Gibson.
Despite Gerald Everett’s best sabotage efforts, the Seahawks’ losing streak is no more and Seattle’s chances of making the playoffs in the NFC improved from >1% to a more optimistic 3%. Sunday’s 30-23 win at Lumen Field was impressive for many reasons, and gives The 12’s a small glimmer of hope that the ‘Hawks can reel off a string of wins to make an improbable run to the postseason.
There were some areas of concern – aside from Everett’s three turnovers – that the team still needs to correct: pass protection (the 49ers were able to get to Russell Wilson with just a three-man rush) and poor tackling being the most obvious. But there were FAR MORE good things to mention, so let’s look at a few.
Russell Wilson – There were a couple of throws that sailed off the mark, making you think maybe Russ is still struggling with the finger issue, but that touchdown throw to Tyler Lockett was a thing of beauty. He also completed 30 passes, which helped the Hawks move the chains for 21 first downs and actually have MORE TIME OF POSSESSION than the Niners.
Special Teams – Aside from Jason Myers missing a field goal, the special teams units shined. Travis Homer’s fake punt run resulted in the game’s opening touchdown, Michael Dickson was his usual phenomenal self and the kick coverage unit forced a turnover. Add it all up and they made a HUGE difference in the final outcome.
Receivers – Lockett’s TD catch was ridiculous, but Seattle got boosts from DK Metcalf, especially on a catch in double-coverage in the red zone, and rookie Dee Eskridge got in the end zone for the first time in his career. The trio combined for 15 catches, 163 yards and two scores.
Defense – Don’t look now but Seattle’s defense has actually been one of the best in the league for the past couple of months and Sunday was no different. The Hawks gave up just 71 yards on the ground, forced three turnovers and limited the Niners to 3-of-10 on third downs. But the biggest number was on the scoreboard – after leading 23-21 at the half, San Francisco was SHUT OUT in the second half.
With five games to go, Seattle travels to Houston next weekend for a game against the worst team in the league, the 2-10 Texans. But any loss in the last five games eliminates the Hawks from playoff contention, so the last thing they need is to drop an egg in a game they should win handily. For now, there’s still hope.