The San Francisco 49ers beat a very good Seattle Seahawks team on Thursday night, 13-6, in front of its home crowd at Candlestick Park. The game played out how most expected it to—a tough, grind-it-out, defensive struggle.
San Francisco is winning with defense, a solid running game and minimizing its turnovers. While it certainly isn't the prettiest brand of football, the NFL isn't built on style points—so it works.
Being able to thwart an upstart Seahawks team—led by rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, bruising running back Marshawn Lynch and the league's fourth-ranked defense in terms of yards allowed (294.7 YPG) and second in points (15.5 PPG)—is proof that the 49ers can win against any type of opponent.
Last week's 26-3 home loss to the Giants could have sent San Francisco into a tailspin, but it didn't. The 49ers are now back on the right track and shouldl take commanding control of the NFC West with wins in their next two games against the Cardinals and St. Louis Rams.
The NFC is much more competitive than the AFC at this point in the season. The 49ers will have a tough road if they intend on building off last year's result of making it to the conference championship, where they would eventually lose to the New York Giants.
The 6-0 Atlanta Falcons are the only team ahead of San Francisco in the standings. But the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Vikings, Giants, Cardinals, Rams and Seahawks are all within striking distance.
The remaining nine games for the 49ers feature eight teams currently .500 or better. The only team with a losing mark is the dangerous New Orleans Saints.
Their schedule didn't appear so daunting when the NFL released it back in April, but the early part of this season is proof that games aren't played on paper.
If San Francisco is able to make a return trip to the playoffs, the fact that this team is battle-tested will give them an edge over its competition.