49ers vs. Seahawks: Another Offensive Explosion Fuels Seattle into the Playoffs
Everyone and their dog thought this week's game against the division rival 49ers would become an instant classic. It became an instant classic all right, but not because it was a dog fight—it was an instant classic because Russell Wilson and the Seahawks put it on San Francisco in a big, big way.
After putting up a 108 points of total offense over the course of the last two weeks, there was no way I thought the Seahawks had it in them to do it all over again. Tonight's 42-13 victory means the 'Hawks have now outscored their opponents 150-30 from Week's 14-to-16:
Thanks to the offensive surge, Seattle is now the hottest team in the NFL. No one has had an answer to Darrell Bevell's game plan and Wilson's execution. Four games ago it was the zone-read option that sunk the Bears; last week No. 3 ran for three touchdowns and now tonight it was a combination of the pistol and the zone-read option.
The lengthy use of the pistol was a new wrinkle that they must have added in this week, because they had maybe used it a handful of times before tonight's game. A part of me thinks Pete Carroll used the pistol out of spite because it had been working so well for Jim Harbaugh and Colin Kaepernick.
Regardless, his four-touchdown performance proved that it doesn't matter if he is in the shotgun, the pistol or under center. He can spin it from any formation and make plays when called upon. Yet of course, he can't escape the whole height issue from fans and media members alike.
I think Michael Schottey put it best with his tweet during tonight's game:
I hate how people write off Wilson's height as no big deal. No, it IS a big deal and it's part of why he's amazing.— Michael Schottey (@Schottey) December 24, 2012
Just as Drew Brees overcame all the height talk, Wilson is showing that his on-field performances speak for themselves. There aren't a lot of quarterbacks doing what he is doing in the NFL right now. After tonight's game, he is one shy of tying Peyton Manning's rookie record of 26 touchdown passes.
Not to mention he is the eighth best quarterback in the league, according to the analysts at Pro Football Focus. The only rookie above him on that list is Redskins' phenom Robert Griffin III. Moreover, Wilson has a quarterback rating of 105.6 for the season and has thrown for 2,868 yards on 237 completions—12 yards a completion is impressive to say the least.
However, no Seahawks post-game recap would be complete without the mention of Gus Bradley's uptempo, energetic defense. I feel as if those adjectives don't even do his defense justice as they held the 49ers to under a 100 yards rushing and under 250 yards passing. No easy task considering San Francisco was averaging 362.1 yards of total offense heading into Week 16.
Cornerback Richard Sherman stole the show again as he returned a blocked field goal back 90 yards for a touchdown and picked off Kaepernick at the beginning of the fourth quarter. While he may not be approaching the single-season sack record like J.J. Watt and Aldon Smith, he may receive a couple of votes for Defensive Player of the Year.
Heading into Week 17 at 10-5, Seattle still has a chance to take the NFC West from San Francisco. The Seahawks need to beat the Rams at home and the 49ers need to lose to the Cardinals at Candlestick. The odds of that happening are slim, but the NFL is truly a week-to-week league.
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