It's weird how last Thursday's game was probably the most meaningful game of the 2012 regular season. Especially in light of today's events. The Seahawks had a lead as late as the 3rd quarter and blew multiple scoring chances. Had they won, they'd have the inside track on a 49ers sweep, and would have added a game in the standings vs. the entire division- for the second week in a row. Playoff odds sites like coolstandings.com don't give odds for results that didn't happen, but I would guess there was a 20 point swing in Seattle's postseason chances based on the outcome of that game. If they beat SF, they are on the inside track for the division.
But they didn't win, and now the division is looking pretty doubtful. On the plus side, Seattle is emerging from a brutal opening 8 game slate with either a 4-4 record or a 5-3 record pending next week. That they've lost all 3 division games sucks (a lot), but I blame that on the schedule makers. First, you never want to open a season on the road at a division rival. The next two division games after that were both on short weeks after emotional wins. We caught Arizona and St. Louis at the wrong time. Arizona is now on a 3 game losing streak after starting 4-0 and the Rams are losers of two straight after starting 3-2. I would much rather be playing those teams on the road later in the year, when historically those teams are essentially playing for draft position.
The 49ers are a different story. They are a team much like Seattle, except more successful. There is no good time to catch a Jim Harbaugh team, and Seattle lost a winnable game from one of the few things that hadn't been a problem this season: drops. As said before, this game was massively important. Without a division crown, Seattle would have to win 3 games on the road in the playoffs to make the Superbowl (barring a rare 5-6 seed championship game). Anyone see that happening? Not me. And by starting 0-3 in the division and losing a chance for a series sweep, Seattle has very likely lost their division tiebreaker against a team that will probably finish with 11 or 12 wins. It is a distinct possibility that the Seahawks might have to win out with 9 games to go to take the division. Anyone see that happening? Not me. So yeah, that last game was kind of important.
And yet, I was totally fine with a loss when the game was over. I went into the game expecting a loss and I got just that. Emotional safety valve? I just don't get myself sometimes. But based on some of the posts I've read here, it appears I was hardly alone in feeling that way. I guess it's because I'm just not quite ready to have unrealistic expectations of this team. Not yet. I imagine this is the same feeling Jets fans had today when they blew a 4th quarter lead at New England.
Instead of being upset, I take it as a positive that we played an elite team in their house on a short week and that our team probably should have won the game if not for self inflicted wounds. Even though we lost, I feel more confident about beating SF in Seattle late in the season than I did a week ago.
Watching the game though, it was almost like an out of body experience. It felt like I was watching the 49ers play some other team that wasn't the Seahawks. It felt like I was watching some other NFL teams playing a football game. It felt... strange. I have no negative feelings right now, but I'm glad it's over. It was a weird situation and a weird game.Random thoughts:
-The definition of a drop changes from person to person, but Seattle had (officially per the broadcast) six drops in this game, versus just 9 balls that were actually caught... yikes. A lot of people beat up the WRs after the game, but I think that's painting with a broad brush. Only half of those drops were by WRs. Turbin had a huge drop. Lynch had an important drop. And Moore had an ugly drop. But not a peep about them. Golden Tate had a lousy game catching the football, but he had some company.
-I thought Baldwin and Rice played very well, at least in the first half. Rice had a terrific leaping grab to beat good coverage, then turned around and raced up field for another 10 yards or so. Baldwin had a leaping grab of his own, and on a separate play made a clutch third down catch by pinning the ball to his shoulder. It reminded me of the David Tyree "helmet catch" from Superbowl XLII. If you ask me, there's room for improvement in our receiving corps, but it doesn't lack for talent. In the first half, I was actually impressed by how our receivers were doing, until things went to hell later, mainly in regards to Golden Tate.
-I thought it was interesting how Jim Harbaugh uses up 1st half timeouts like candy whenever there was any situation he didn't like. I wish Pete Carroll would take a page.
-I didn't watch Marcus Trufant all game, but he had one pretty amazing tackle that saved a first down and forced a punt. Trufant was never an elite corner, but I'm going to miss him as a sure tackler.
-Candlestick park was very quiet for most of the game.
-I forget the exact time in the game, but you probably will know what I'm referring to. That deep pass to Tate where the defender practically tackled Tate and wasn't flagged for it. How can you not call that? Both teams got breaks- there were at least two obvious penalties I saw Seattle get away with- but that non-call really hurt in a 6-3 football game.
-What was up with that illegal formation flag that extended a Seahawks drive? I would have loved to have won this game on a call that nobody in the broadcast could have explained. Alas...
-Wilson's interception was pretty bad. That said, I don't really care too much about interceptions thrown roughly 50 yards downfield. The way Tedd Ginn was playing, it's preferable to a punt. And no disrespect intended, but I disagree with anyone that gives Edwards even 1% of the blame for that pick. Watch it yourself
. Edwards is being screened out of the play and even if he fights into it better he'd come nowhere near the ball. It was just a very poor throw by Wilson.
-That throw aside, I thought Wilson played pretty well. Statistically, it was his worst game of the year, but in the first half he had over 8 yards per attempt despite 3 horrible drops on what would have been long completions. Second half Russell Wilson wasn't as good, but first half Russell Wilson started right where he left off in the Patriots game. I'm really looking forward to seeing Wilson consistently put together 3 or 4 quarters of good football on a regular basis. When he's on, he looks like a no doubter franchise QB.
-On Tate's last drop which denied Seattle a first down in the red zone, I just knew the game was over. I also said a lot of bad words. I made Andrew Dice Clay look like Tim Tebow. And for the first time all season
, that "I knew it was over when" feeling was actually
right! What a crazy season.
-The 49ers O-line is kinda good.
-Strangely enough, this game was the first time in the Harbaugh-Carroll era where I actually felt like Seattle had the more talented team. It feels like the 49ers have peaked, but Seattle hasn't reached the mountain top yet, and still has a ways to go. This could very well be Seattle's division to lose by next year. It felt like Seattle dominated about 50% of this game, but just couldn't cash in.