Seattle's 26-23 loss at San Francisco in overtime on Sunday defined how a superior team in the NFL can fall victim to a vastly inferior opponent when the better team shoots off all of its toes with a glut of unforced errors.
Seattle (8-6) had no business losing to the 49ers (4-10) especially with a playoff berth waiting to be clinched. But, lose the Seahawks did and now it's time to grade their sad loss that included some quality performances overshadowed by a team-record 148 penalty yards on 14 penalties.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Seattle got the job done on the ground with 168 yards rushing led by 119 for running back Chris Carson (see below). On the flip side, the Seahawks surrendered three sacks of quarterback Russell Wilson and penalties were a huge problem. Guard J.R. Sweezy got called for holding in the second quarter dooming a drive to end with a punt and early in the fourth quarter his holding penalty helped limit a promising drive to a field goal that made the score 23-23. More damaging were the two holding penalties called on guard Ethan Pocic. His first negated a 19-yard run by running back Mike Davis to the San Francisco 38-yard line with under 90 seconds remaining in the game. That drive ended with a punt. The second came in overtime to erase a 32-yard pass to running back J.D. McKissic to the San Francisco 48. Seattle was without right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring) and his replacement, Jordan Simmons went down with a knee injury. Still, Seattle's line must play smarter for this team to win. GRADE: C-minus.
SECONDARY: San Francisco quarterback Nick Mullens threw for 275 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions after two weeks ago going or 414 and two touchdowns at Seattle. So, there's that. However, penalties also hurt Seattle's defensive backs. In the third quarter, Justin Coleman was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty that helped set up a field goal that gave the 49ers a 20-13 lead. In the fourth quarter, safety Delano Hill was flagged for pass interference right after San Francisco had been called for holding. That drive ended with a field goal that gave the 49ers a 23-20 lead with 9:51 remaining in the game. The killer penalty came in overtime when a pass interference call on cornerback Shaquill Griffin gave the 49ers the ball at the Seattle 41. A few plays later, San Francisco won the game with a field goal. Not a good day for Seattle defensive backs despite reducing San Francisco's passing production from the previous meeting: GRADE: D.
DEFENSIVE LINE: Now for something positive. Seattle's defensive line had a good day generating pressure and was able to sack Mullens three times including twice late in the game. San Francisco had to grind out 94 yards on the ground as Seattle held running back Matt Breida to 50 yards on 17 carries. Rookie defensive tackle Poona Ford had three tackles for loss and defensive tackle Jarran Read had two sacks. Defensive end Frank Clark also added a sack. All told, this unit played winning football. GRADE: B.
RUNNING BACK: More positivity. Seattle was without rookie running back Rashaad Penny but Carson more than carried the load and his one-yard touchdown run on fourth down in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 20 apiece was a thing of beautiful brutality (video below). His 119 yards on 22 carries set the tone for the offense. He also caught six passes for 29 yards. Mike Davis rushed for just 21 yards on five carries but he caught eight passes for 63 yards. Great day for this duo and Seattle's running game. GRADE: A.