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The NFC West belongs to the San Francisco 49ers, and they’re stuck in the no-longer-terrible place that is Lumen Field.

It was always going to be a tough task for the Seattle Seahawks to get anything out of this game, and while they were competitive enough only losing 21-13, the game was more lopsided than that. We’ve had upsets and more wins than most expected, but there’s still a huge talent disparity between the best in the NFL (49 of which are in that group) and where the Seahawks are. That was evident in the losses to sub-.500 teams and confirmed just how overmatched they were against the 49ers. Unlike other games this season, it was an almost horribly unenjoyable affair, so devoid of big plays that it was mostly boring to watch.

The time of winners and losers.


Winners:

Miles Adams

Stepping in with Brian Mone injured, Adams defended the pass at the line of scrimmage and had the only tackle for loss the Seahawks managed on any 49ers rushing attempt.

Noah Fant

Fant has emerged as the team’s best receiving option at tight end. He finished the night with 5 catches for 32 yards and the Seahawks’ only offensive touchdown in 120 minutes of football against the 49ers.

Godwin Igwebuike

Please make him a permanent member of the active list. Watching him fight back is like a different experience compared to…well…everything else we’ve seen over the past few years.

Jason Myers

He’s not lost yet. No missed field goals or PATs since Week 5.

Michael Dixon

Wasn’t the 1 yard line awesome?

Losers

Quandre Diggs

I really don’t like doing it, but I have to. Diggs hasn’t been great this season, and that miss was huge. Seattle got the ball back anyway, but field position was so important and would affect the half and the decision-making for the rest of the half. Quandre was tackled on George Keattle’s first touchdown and then fumbled on the second.

The injury last season against the Cardinals was really scary and it definitely affected his play this year. I don’t know what the implications of 2023 will be, but Diggs is really struggling there and it’s unpleasant to watch.

Travis Homer

Can’t slip. Can’t do it. Seattle has turned it over every game this season and it was the most damaging play of the game and one of the most damaging all season.

The entire offensive line

They never had much of a chance. Charles Cross and Abe Lucas are intercepted by Nick Bosa and Samson Ebukam. Against an elite defensive line, you can expect the rookies to struggle, so I’m not too worried. Run blocking remains an issue again, but the 49ers run defense is phenomenal.

This interior is so bad though. Damien Lewis was good, if not very good for the most part, I think. What I am certain of is that Austin Blythe cannot be the starting center for this team in 2022. I know there’s a Kansas City Chiefs star we’d rather see be the C on this team, but we’ve covered it all the way. Blythe is essentially a better Joey Hunt, and that’s not a ringing endorsement. A Gabe Jackson/Phil Haynes rotation has me going “none” in 2023.

OL is still in progress. In the next season, a new center and a right defender are needed… especially the center. It turns out that signing Ethan Pocic (who is injured himself at the moment) would be good based on his performance in Cleveland.

Darrell Taylor

The good news is Darrell forced a holding on Mike McGlinchey, Seattle’s first penalty drawn on a passing play since the Chargers game in October. Two plays later, he fumbles an offside on 4th and 7 when the 49ers were never going to go for it and just wanted to run down the clock. Just a bad disciplinary move that I suspect is part of why the coaching staff didn’t want to play him much.

Taylor’s roster, even with a year left on his contract, shouldn’t be a lock for 2023. Seattle is really struggling to draft reliable rushers under Pete and John.

DK Metcalf

It wasn’t a productive game for DK who had 7 catches for just 55 yards and rightfully so for OPI. I’m really angry about his penalties. Off the top of my head, that’s the third during this 1-4 stretch, and two of those came when the Seahawks were losing. You can complain about the refereeing all you want, but it has to stop.

Jordyn Brooks

Perhaps it’s time to look at Brooks a little more critically. He couldn’t bring down Ray-Ray McCloud on 3rd-and-15 and was eventually blocked by George Keatle. Ryan Neal didn’t help him either, taking a terrible corner. Like Diggs, Brooks was iced by Brock Purdy on the second pump fake with Kittle (admittedly well-worked) on the first down. His highlight of the night was actually stopping the screen, which I didn’t think was possible with this defense. While neck pain kept him out of the final few possessions, it wasn’t one of Brooks’ best outings. Choosing Cody Barton was too easy. Brooks is one I’m not too high on. The disparity between him and Burton, Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw is staggering.

Geno Smith

The final stats show Smith 31/44 for 238 yards and a touchdown. He was constantly under pressure, and it felt all too familiar when thinking back to some of the Seahawks’ worst games over the past few seasons.

I don’t want to look at Geno through the prism of Russell Wilson or his past game with the New York Jets. It’s more useful to compare him to 30+ starters this season. But I do want to point out that he was once again fortunate not to have multiple interceptions, including being denied a 6 on a horrendously rough hit on a passer call against Nick Bosa. The stats show that Geno has 0 turnovers, but his efficiency has dropped significantly over the past few weeks. They start to rally, and even though every turnover (like Dee Eskridge’s throw-in) is his fault, Smith is undeniably back down to Earth. He was still better than bad, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that the impressive start was never sustainable.

With a poor running game against this strong defense and an offensive line out of its depth, Geno was up against it tonight. But in the long run, these last few weeks could shape what the Seahawks see in Geno and whether or not they move on with him long-term, short-term or completely. I’d love to see Geno stay with the team in 2023, but I’ll admit these past few weeks have made me worried about a big-money, long-term commitment.

Shane Waldron

Beyond the shotgun-heavy approach, the takedown of his scheme wants tight ends to be taken as passing targets, and everything else…

STOP THE DAMN SCREEN TRANSITIONS! STOP! STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP!!

Pete Carroll – Defense Programmer

It must pain Carroll to watch another game in which his team struggles to run the ball while the other team can run it. I think I know what his priority will be in 2023. The 2022 Draft class was a promising start to the rebuild, but watching the blown coverages and blown assignments on a weekly basis, regardless of the experience level of the roster, is maddening. The Chargers are a terrible defense, and they’re shutting down the Miami Dolphins’ vaunted offense while missing half of its lineup.

Carroll, the coach, can’t seem to get this defense ready to anything resembling an acceptable NFL standard, and it’s been years since they’ve had above-average talent to compete with the best in the league. It falls on crew boy Carol. We’ll see if 2023’s efforts to improve the trenches can go as well as 2022’s improvements at the cornerback position. If not, more of the same is coming.

Final notes

  • I don’t know what else to add to the news about Tyler Lockett’s injury. That sucks, and the Seahawks offense is going to crater significantly.
  • Brian Mone’s ACL injury is considered season-ending, which is also bad.
  • The run defense gave up 170 but held it better than I thought, which is partly due to the lack of man and partly because the run defense has been much worse all season.
  • It’s nice to see Darek Young make his first NFL catch, even if it doesn’t count. Oh, maybe he’ll get more opportunities after Lockett’s out.
  • Kenneth Walker III looked healthy and had 79 yards of offense. His opportunities against defenses were always going to be limited, but he at least had a good catch and run for the 34 yards that led to the touchdown.
  • The Seahawks played the 31st ranked schedule in DVOA heading into tonight. Only the 49ers and (next week) the Chiefs can be Super Bowl contenders. Ten of their games come against teams currently below .500, and even the Los Angeles Chargers 26th in DVOA against teams above .500. This schedule was terrifying in May, but it turns out to have been pretty easy, and the Seahawks sit at 7-7. Now that we have a large enough sample size, it looks like Seattle, even with a moderately tougher schedule, will be a 4 or 5 win team. We know that after the fact, but in the moment it was fun to watch this underdog story race to a 6-3 start. Reality has set in and they just aren’t there yet. Don’t be surprised if the Seahawks lose, because that’s much more likely than 9-8 and a shot at the playoffs.



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