Richard Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks dominated the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, 29-3.
The balance of power in the NFC West—and the entirety of the conference, for that matter—may have shifted completely to the Pacific Northwest following Seattle's victory over San Francisco on Sunday evening.
Here are five things we learned about Seattle following its rout of San Francisco.
Although Seattle has been marred by several key injuries, it has looked the part of the deepest team in the league in the early going of the season.
Consider this: Seattle was without cornerback Brandon Browner (hamstring), defensive end Chris Clemons (knee) and strong-side linebacker Bruce Irvin (suspension), yet managed to silence San Francisco's offense.
In 2012, Irvin, Clemons and Browner combined for 19.5 sacks, three interceptions and seven forced fumbles.
However, their presence wasn't missed. The 49ers totaled 207 yards on 51 plays and couldn't capitalize on two red-zone attempts.
On a night when the Seahawks' "12th Man" reportedly set a Guinness World Record for loudest stadium at CenturyLink Field, it is increasingly hard to imagine Seattle losing at home. This is a team that entered the season as the NFC favorite and only looks better after two weeks. Bruce Irvin, Chris Clemons, Brandon Browner and Percy Harvin haven't even played yet for this team.
If the 49ers can't win in Seattle, who can?
Seattle's depth at every position is arguably unmatched. In two games, the defense has surrendered just 10 points despite being short-handed.
And with Cliff Avril slowly working into a role on the defensive line, Seattle's pass rush is bound to get much, much better.
While Percy Harvin's return will add an element of creativity to the offense, Seattle doesn't need him just yet.
Though only two Seattle players (Anthony McCoy and Golden Tate) eclipsed 100 receiving yards in a game last year, the team still reached the NFC playoffs.
Whenever he is able to return to action, Harvin will certainly provide the vertical threat Seattle has dearly missed in recent years. More importantly, he'll take the focus off of Marshawn Lynch and the run game.
But for now, Seattle is built to run the football and that may be all it needs for the better part of its next few games.
As if playing Seattle wasn't difficult enough, teams traveling to the Pacific Northwest should be on notice: CenturyLink Field is the loudest and most difficult NFL stadium to play in.
Sunday night's record attendance of 68,338 registered a noise level of 136.6 decibels, good enough to set the Guinness World Record.
The 49ers were flagged 10 times for 121 yards on Sunday night. Over a three-play stretch, they recorded a false start and delay of game penalty.
Rick Chandler of sportsgrid.com commented on the effectiveness of Seattle's home crowd, writing, "From 2005, when the stadium was built, and 2010, there have been 127 false start penalties called against visiting teams. Seattle’s home record at CenturyLink is 59-29 (5-1 postseason)."
And that number could certainly rise if Seattle secures home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Russell Wilson threw for an uncharacteristically low 142 yards, yet the Seahawks won convincingly versus the 49ers and now sit atop the NFC at 2-0.
It wasn't a surprise to see Marshawn Lynch rush for 98 yards on 28 carries. What's surprising is how good Seattle was against one of the NFL's most complete defenses without a productive showing from its quarterback.
The really scary thing about Seattle? Russell Wilson isn't playing that well right now, and that will change.— SI_DougFarrar (@SI_DougFarrar) September 16, 2013
Wilson didn't have a hand in the run game either.
Seattle combined for 172 rushing yards in Sunday's game. Wilson, who rushed for 33 yards, saw limited success on read-option plays.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Seahawks averaged 200.8 rushing yards per game after the read-option was introduced in Week 13 of the 2012 season. Moving forward, that number will only increase.
As Wilson finds his way, and with the return of Percy Harvin, the Seahawks will almost certainly be more explosive and harder to game-plan against.
A weather delay couldn't stop Richard Sherman from doing Richard Sherman things.
The All-Pro cornerback recorded two tackles, one pass deflection and an interception that all but ended the game on Sunday evening.
Even more impressive, Seattle's secondary—led by Sherman—kept San Francisco's passing game in check despite being without No. 2 cornerback Brandon Browner.
Browner's fill-in, Walter Thurmond, played very well.
Following the game, Sherman shared his thoughts with the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com):
We did what we expected to. I think you guys expected something different. I think you guys expected something a little more Kaepernick-y. We didn’t expect any of that. We expect guys to play discipline ball.
If Sunday evening was a good indication of what is to come from this secondary, expect few teams to succeed through the air versus Seattle in 2013.