The Seattle Seahawks fell to the San Francisco 49ers 19-17 on a last-minute field goal. It was a tough road loss for a Seattle team that had won seven straight, including three straight in blowout fashion.
FINAL: 49ers 19, Seahawks 17. Seattle moves to 11-2 on the season and maintains two-game lead in the NFC West. #SEAvsSF— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) December 9, 2013
So just who shined for the Seahawks in San Francisco, and who is most responsible for Seattle's loss? It is time to find out with this week's report card.
- A's are reserved for individual players who dominated the opposition.
- B's are for players who played well but didn't dominate.
- C grades are given to players who struggled for most of the game.
- D's are for players who truly struggled and were occasionally dominated by the opposition.
- F grades are rare and reserved only for players who were completely dominated by the other team on almost every play.
- Plus and minus modifiers bridge the gaps inside those definitions.
All stats are taken from ESPN.com.
Seattle's franchise quarterback didn't play up to the standard of the past few weeks. Russell Wilson finished 15-of-25 for 199 yards and a touchdown. Those are decent numbers, but not what fans have come to expect from the MVP candidate.
Wilson also made a habit of holding onto the ball for far too long at times, which led to both sacks by the 49ers.
Marshawn Lynch: B-
Robert Turbin: B
Seattle's running game continues to be stuck in first gear. The run blocking was poor in this game, but Lynch didn't help matters by failing to break tackles with the usual ferocity that fans are used to seeing from the star running back. Perhaps the Seahawks need to rest Lynch some before the playoffs begin.
Aside from a pair of early runs, Robert Turbin failed to make much of an impact in this game. Turbin showed his blocking skills against the blitz on a few plays, but he was mostly not a factor.
Doug Baldwin: B-
Golden Tate: B
Jermaine Kearse: C
Overall, the wide receivers struggled to get open for much of the game. Wilson was forced to hang onto the ball too often and repeatedly had no one open to pass the ball to.
There were some plays made by the receivers. Golden Tate finished the game with six receptions. Jermaine Kearse had a great driving catch for a first down. Doug Baldwin made a pair of tough catches.
Overall, though, it wasn't a great game for the receivers. Kearse fell down on Seattle's last play, and he appeared to be trying to get a flag that wasn't thrown, only to have the pass intercepted. Baldwin dropped a long pass that hit him in the hands. Tate stood and waited for pass to get to him rather than backtracking to his QB, only to have a defender jump in front of him and knock the ball away.
This group of receivers has been playing well recently, and the Seahawks need them to get back to that form in time for the playoffs.
Zach Miller: B-
Luke Willson: B
A week after leading the Seahawks in receiving, Zach Miller was held to just one catch this week. The Seahawks tried to get Miller open on a few plays, but San Francisco wasn't fooled. Miller was still able to make a positive impact on the game with his blocking skills.
With all of the defensive focus on Miller, Luke Willson was able to get free in the passing game. Willson led the Seahawks in receiving with 70 yards on just three receptions. It wasn't all good for Willson, though. He missed a couple of key blocks in the running game, adding to Seattle's struggles on the ground.
Run Blocking: D
Pass Blocking: B-
For the third straight week, Seattle's run blocking played well below expectations. The Seahawks could get nothing going on the ground and finished with just 3.7 yards per carry. Lynch had very few running lanes to work with and was forced to try to break tackles just to get beyond the line of scrimmage.
The pass blocking was much better. San Francisco's pass rush is among the best in the NFL, and Seattle's offensive line kept them away from Wilson on most passing plays. The unit gave up pressure on some plays, but overall, it held up fairly well throughout the game.
Michael Bennett: C+
Chris Clemons: B-
Cliff Avril: C-
Red Bryant: A-
The standout in this position group was clearly Red Bryant. Bryant was instrumental in shutting down the 49ers' rushing attack. Bryant isn't much of a pass-rusher, but he showed his importance to Seattle's run defense throughout this game.
The three pass-rushers, on the other hand, struggled to get much pressure on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick had way too much time on most of his pass attempts, which put a lot of pressure on Seattle's secondary.
Chris Clemons did manage to get a sack in this game. It was his first sack after a five-game stretch without one.
Brandon Mebane: B+
Tony McDaniel: B-
Clinton McDonald: B+
Seattle's trio of defensive tackles played well for most of the game. The easiest way see that is in the rushing stats. Aside from the one big run at the end of the game, the 49ers had just 109 yards on 32 carries. That is a solid performance.
The one concern for this group is the general lack of an inside pass-rusher. Clinton McDonald was the only one of the three to make an impact against the pass, and even he was inconsistent in his ability to get pressure on the quarterback.
Bobby Wagner: C
K.J. Wright: Incomplete
Bruce Irvin: B
Malcolm Smith: B+
Overall this group played well, but there were key mistakes that ended up costing the Seahawks the game. The best example of this would be middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. He led the defense with nine tackles and mostly played well, but he was also the player in coverage who gave up the touchdown to tight end Vernon Davis and was the defender who left his gap on the big run by running back Frank Gore that decided the game.
The big news here is the loss of K.J. Wright to a broken bone in his foot, as was reported by KJR's Curtis Crabtree. The difference in the quality of the defense was noticeable after he left the game. Malcolm Smith played well in relief of Wright, but he isn't as good in the pass defense.
Bruce Irvin continues to adjust to being a linebacker and had one of his better games this season. His ability to set the edge against the run was tested often by the 49ers, and Irvin stood up to the challenge quite well.
Richard Sherman: A-
Byron Maxwell: B-
Jeremy Lane: A-
Seattle's cornerbacks had their hands full this week and were mostly able to rise to the challenge. The biggest problem from the cornerbacks in this game came in the form of penalties. The officials called the game very tight in terms of contact on the outside, and it took the Seattle defenders some time to adjust.
Overall, the Seahawks held the 49ers to just 175 passing yards. Kaepernick was only able to complete 51.7 percent of his passes, and this unit was a big part of why that happened.
The 49ers started out picking on Byron Maxwell early in this game and had some success in doing so. That changed when Maxwell picked off a Kaepernick pass. After that, San Francisco seemed to be much less inclined to throw the ball in his direction.
Jeremy Lane put together an impressive performance, as did All-Pro Richard Sherman.
Earl Thomas: C+
Kam Chancellor: B
It is difficult to grade Earl Thomas and not put too much weight on the game's decisive play. Earl Thomas took a horrible angle on Gore and allowed him to turn a 10-yard run into a 60-yard game changer. Overall, Thomas played fairly well, but that mistake and a few others cost the Seahawks a win on Sunday.
Strong safety Kam Chancellor had a bit of a quiet game. He was second on the team in tackles with six, but he wasn't around the ball as often as he usually is. Chancellor spent much of this game chasing the ever-dangerous Davis and overall did a solid job of containing San Francisco's dynamic tight end.
Steven Hauschka: B-
The overall performance of kicker Steven Hauschka slipped a bit this week. His kickoffs didn't get as deep as they have in the past, and he came very close to missing a short field goal. Hauschka has played very well this season, and the Seahawks need him to step up his game back to the level from earlier this year.
Jon Ryan: B+
Jon Ryan gave up exactly zero punt return yards yet again for the Seahawks. Through 13 games, he has surrendered just 15 punt return yards all season. While it would be nice if he could average more than 37.2 yards on his punts like he did on Sunday, he is still having an amazing season.
Return Units: B-
The kick return unit remains mediocre at best for the Seahawks. Of the three returnable kicks, the Seahawks were never able to bring the ball out to the 20-yard line. This is the one area where Seattle clearly misses Percy Harvin.
The punt return unit fared much better. Tate average 16.3 yards on his three returns, including a 38-yard return that set up Seattle for a go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter.
Coverage Units: D
Seattle's special teams made another huge mistake this week, giving up a blocked punt. The 49ers turned that mistake into three points. In a two-point game, that mistake proved costly.
Even the punt coverage team, which is usually a major strength of Seattle's special teams, made some mistakes. The worst was when O'Brien Schofield interfered with a fair catch, giving the 49ers a free 15 yards.