49ers vs. Seahawks: Seattle's Biggest Winners and Losers from Week 16
The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers both came into this game desiring a victory for somewhat different reasons.
Seattle needed a win in order to clinch a playoff spot.
San Francisco had already clinched a playoff berth prior to this game, but the Niners had not yet wrapped up the division title.
In addition, there is something to be said for beating your fiercest division rival late in the season. Certain victories can set the stage for possible rematches in the playoffs.
Needless to say, the Seahawks took control of the game early and cruised to a 42-13 victory.
The winners were plentiful in this game, and while there were some losers in the Seattle lineup, their losses did not have a major impact on the game.
Here are some of the key winners and losers from the big Seattle victory.
Winner: Marshawn Lynch
On the opening drive, Marshawn Lynch ran through the Niners defense like it wasn't even there. He followed that up by catching a pass for his second touchdown of the first half.
Beast Mode finished with 111 yards on 26 carries, and he also caught two balls out of the backfield.
Lynch did not match the staggering yards per carry of the last two weeks, but Marshawn was clearly running the ball effectively against the 49ers.
The Seahawks as a team ran for 176 yards, and San Francisco had no answer.
Loser: Offensive Line (1st Half)
Measuring the effectiveness of an offensive line is a challenge, simply because numbers and general perception can tell different stories.
Russell Wilson was 8-of-9 in the first half, and the Seahawks did run for 89 yards. In addition, Seattle went into halftime with a 28-3 lead.
However, Paul McQuistan and J.R. Sweezy were both whistled for holding calls in the first half. Neither were drive-killers, but they represented one of the small challenges in this game.
In addition, Wilson was on the run throughout the first half as the line was not able to give him much time in the pocket.
The line only gave up one first-half sack, but they were not necessarily the reason for the big lead.
Winner: Russell Wilson
Yet again, the numbers were not huge in terms of yardage for rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
However, the pass efficiency was very good, and Wilson threw four more touchdowns to give him 25 for the season.
This is one shy of Peyton Manning’s record for touchdowns thrown by a rookie quarterback.
Russell was not as effective as a runner in this game, but he was active enough to keep the 49ers defense guessing.
His interception was a tough break, particularly since it went off Robert Turbin’s hands and right into the arms of the defender.
Loser: Kam Chancellor
Kam Chancellor is not a loser based on his performance, because he played well against the 49ers. He recovered a fumble and was a big part of containing San Francisco.
Rather, Chancellor is a loser because he got hit with a tough personal foul call in the first half.
I understand that these are tough calls in real time, but to me the replay looked like Kam just made a really hard shoulder-to-chest hit.
You can start to get why some of these defensive players are upset about the rules, since it is difficult to change your angle at full speed.
Winner: Richard Sherman
Apparently, Richard Sherman was not distracted by his appeal meeting on Friday.
The confident cornerback not only played some stifling defense, but he was involved in some dramatic plays.
Sherman tipped a key third-down pass from Colin Kaepernick in the first half, which forced a field goal. The field goal was blocked and Sherman ran the block back for a touchdown.
Richard topped off the night by picking off Kaepernick to start the fourth quarter.
Not a bad game for Optimus Prime.
Hopefully, this will not be Sherman’s last game of the season.
Loser: Matt Flynn
Well, Matt Flynn did get to play in this game.
Granted, his playing consisted of kneeling down to end the game.
Flynn has been on this list before, simply because he can't seem to get any quality playing time.
The more touchdowns Russell Wilson throws, the less likely it seems like Matt Flynn is ever going to play for the Seattle Seahawks.
Of course, I suppose you could argue that making millions of dollars standing on the sidelines is not a bad gig. However, I am guessing that Matt would like to play.
That does not seem likely in the future.
Winner: Doug Baldwin
The Seattle Seahawks did not pile up a ton of passing yardage against the Niners, but it did not impact the outcome as the running game and the defense led the way to the victory.
Doug Baldwin was the leading receiver for the Seahawks, and he was Wilson’s go-to guy in this game.
Baldwin made an acrobatic grab in the first half, a leaping touchdown in the third quarter and another solid touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.
The young receiver only pulled in four balls, but he certainly made the most of his catches.
Loser: Sidney Rice
Sidney Rice was questionable for this game, so apparently Russell Wilson decided to give him the night off.
Rice has been Seattle’s best receiver this season, but he was only targeted twice in this game, and he finished with one catch for 14 yards.
Again, Russell Wilson did not need to complete a large number of long passes in order to beat the 49ers.
Translation? Rice was a loser in the box score, but perhaps you could argue that he was a winner in the rest column.
Winner: The Crowd
Cold? Not a problem.
Rain? Nothing that can't be handled.
CenturyLink Field lived up to the hype, as the crowd was loud and the Niners could not get into sync.
In the end, the Seahawk faithful were treated to a fantastic game, and Seattle maintained its undefeated record at home.
You have to assume that the fanbase felt pretty good going into this game, but I wonder if a high percentage of people expected a blowout against a great team like the Niners.
Fear the Clink.
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