Well, everyone saw that coming.
The Seattle Seahawks (4-3) and San Francisco 49ers (5-2), to no one's surprise, played a hard-fought, low-scoring game on Thursday night that centered around both teams' elite defenses. In the end, the Niners squeaked out a 13-6 victory to take control in the NFC West.
Seattle controlled the first half, but because of dropped passes and small mental mistakes, it left points on the field and entered halftime with just a 6-3 lead.
The 49ers came out to start the second half with a terrific 10-play scoring drive that ended with an Alex Smith-to-Delanie Walker touchdown to take the 10-6 lead, and that—and almost 200 total yards from Frank Gore—was all their dominant defense needed.
Russell Wilson was unable to complete a potential game-tying drive and San Francisco secured an important home victory.
As the Seahawks continually got pressure on Alex Smith in the first half, Yahoo! Sports' Doug Farrar noted that the Niners QB was forced to look a certain receiver's way multiple times:
Per the unofficial game sheet, Alex Smith's primary target so far is "Section 165."— SC_DougFarrar (@SC_DougFarrar) October 19, 2012
Seattle's secondary has received the nickname "Legion of Boom," but former linebacker Tedy Bruschi may have come up with a better one (via ESPN's Trey Wingo):
best line this year about Seattle's defense from our own Tedy Bruschi: they have C.O.U.S's: corners of unusual size #princessbride— trey wingo (@wingoz) October 19, 2012
Bleacher Report's Dylan MacNamara believes that dynamic second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick's time as the starter could be nearing:
MacNamara (@DylanMacNamara) October 19, 2012
The hard-nosed running and elite defenses turned this game into an absolute battle, or as Yahoo! Sports' Brad Evans puts it, maybe "war" is the more appropriate word:
This is a battle reminiscent of the Hundred Years' War. Red. Blue-ish. Long drawn out affair. War of attrition. Ugly.— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) October 19, 2012
Whatever Jim Harbaugh said at halftime must have worked. Things weren't going so well for San Francisco's offense in the first half, but it was nearly perfect to start the second (via NFL Network's Albert Breer):
Monster drive by the Niners ... Dominant series for their offensive line too. Smith had plenty of time to operate, Gore had room to run.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 19, 2012
Frank Gore and the Niners were nearly unstoppable on the ground in the second half. Grantland's Bill Simmons had some advice for the Seattle Seahawks:
Hey Seattle - this isn't rocket science, stack the line already. Alex Smith couldn't throw a loaf of bread into a grocery cart right now.— Bill Simmons (@sportsguy33) October 19, 2012
I don't think they received the message. If we aren't allowed to count the entire 49ers defense, Frank Gore was the clear MVP of this game.
If you had the defenses or starting running backs, you're probably in good shape.
The Seahawks gave up just 13 points, forced a turnover and sacked Alex Smith twice, while the Niners only allowed six points, forced a turnover and sacked Russell Wilson twice. Although, if you end up losing by less than two points, you can blame Jim Harbaugh, who oddly decided to decline a safety in the final minute of the game.
Marshawn Lynch racked up 122 rushing yards and even added a catch for 13 yards. Frank Gore was even better, totaling a ridiculous 182 total yards with five receptions to boot.
If you had any of QBs or receivers from this game, however, chances are you aren't too happy right now.
Wilson had just 122 yards passing and threw an interception, while Smith only hit 140 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Michael Crabtree had a decent four catches for 31 yards while Delanie Walker grabbed a 12-yard touchdown with his only catch of the night.
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks: B-
Man, what's wrong with Russell Wilson? I know he's made pretty much all the right throws, but why can't he turn into Bugs Bunny and catch all of his own pass attempts, too?
Seriously though, Wilson's final numbers look ugly, but not many quarterbacks can complete passes that are dropped by their wide receivers. The Seahawks not only dropped multiple throws, but they were perfect throws by Wilson that would have—directly or indirectly—led to points.
Wilson's grade drops significantly, however, after a second half that saw him throw an atrocious interception and not much else.
Where does Marshawn Lynch rank among running backs in the NFL?
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks: A
Remember last week when Ahmad Bradshaw became just the second running back in about infinity weeks to run for 100 yards against the 49ers?
Well, Lynch, who happens to be the other back on that list, didn't feel like being shown up.
The Skittles-powered back got some good run-blocking in front of him, but he seemingly racked up four or five yards after contact on every single run. As one of the most underrated ball-carriers in the league, Lynch did everything he could to lead his Seahawks offense against a scary defense.
Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers: C+
Alex Smith couldn't get anything going the first two quarters, as he led stagnant drive after stagnant drive.
However, once his line started giving him some time to operate in the second half, he looked comfortable and made some smart, solid throws.
Nonetheless, if it weren't for his terrific defense, Smith's terrible interception in the end zone would have been a lot more painful. It was a bad decision and an even worse throw that took potentially crucial points off the board.
Who was more important to San Francisco's win?
Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers: A+
You know who else doesn't let running backs tally 100 yards against them? The Seahawks.
You know who tallied 100 yards (and a lot more)? Frank Gore.
The veteran back wasn't expected to do much in this one, but he hit holes hard, broke tackles and established himself as Alex Smith's most dangerous receiver. Just call him the Seahawk-killer—he has done this to the 'Hawks multiple times in his career.
The Seahawks head to Detroit to take on the Lions, while the 49ers go to Arizona for a Monday-night battle with the divisional-rival Cardinals.