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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

19 quick observations from the 49ers Wild Card win

Marc Adams
Jan 15, 2023 at 7:42 AM--

It started just as we had hoped. The San Francisco 49ers jumped out to a 10-0 lead over the Seattle Seahawks in Saturday's NFC Wild Card Game. It looked like they might run away with it. But then as quickly as they built that lead, it was gone. The 49ers entered the locker room trailing 17-16.

But there was something I noticed as the first half was coming to a close. The 49ers looked unhappy, no doubt frustrated with how they had played. The Seahawks were laughing, happy, almost celebrating how they had played. It was at that point that I knew things would change in the second half. The 49ers were far from satisfied, while the Seahawks seemed happy just to not be getting blown out.

One team seemed to know they had underperformed. The other team appeared to know they had overperformed. Fortunately, the 49ers came out and scored 25 points in the second half to send the Seahawks home, and advance to the divisional round of the NFL postseason.

Here are my Wild Card observations:

  • The 49ers' defense opened the game with two 3-and-outs. But then followed that by allowing Seattle to drive down the field and score a touchdown. The defense wasn't good in the first half. And though they looked more like themselves in the second half, I have to confess that I'm a little concerned about this unit, which has been the best in the NFL all season.

  • Christian McCaffrey is fast. And he can move piles, too.
  • Great job by Brock Purdy on that first-quarter touchdown pass to McCaffrey. More on Purdy below.

  • The 49ers' run defense hasn't looked the same in recent weeks. Granted, they've faced some good running backs. I'm just not used to seeing teams run on the 49ers.
  • Charvarius Ward had a terrible second quarter. He was better in the second half, as was the rest of the defense. Hopefully, Ward can bounce back next week.
  • Purdy wasn't as accurate as he usually is in the first quarter. But he settled in and was great in the second half. He passed for more yards on Saturday than Steve Young ever did in a postseason game. He'll likely never be on Young's level, but it's still impressive. And if Purdy wins a Super Bowl, he will be just as legendary as Young is in the Bay Area. But we still have a way to go before that happens.

  • Robbie Gould. First half MVP.
  • Jimmie Ward committed a horrible penalty in the first half, just like he did in the second half of the NFC Championship Game last year. He's such a smart player, so it's shocking that he's done this in some crucial situations.
  • The squib kick was a terrible decision. And it cost the 49ers three points. Well, that and Ward's penalty.
  • Deebo Samuel is such a huge weapon. Some have said he looks fat and slow. He doesn't look like that to me. He made some big plays in this game and turned on the jets on his long touchdown reception.
  • The Seahawks are dirty. I'll always hate that team. I hate the Mariners, too, by the way.
  • That said, I'd like to thank them for waking up a sleeping giant.

  • The fumble recovery late in the 3rd quarter was a big one. The offense had already given the team the lead, but considering the Seahawks were driving again, the takeaway was probably the biggest play of the game.

  • Levi's Stadium was loud in this game, especially in the second half. Well done, Faithful.
  • I'm so happy for Deommodore Lenoir. He deserved that pick.

  • Has the 49ers' offense become the strength of the team? They're legit. They scored 41 points and scored on 8 of 9 drives.
  • That Purdy pass that Brandon Aiyuk dropped in the end zone—wow, what a throw. And perhaps even more impressive was how Purdy escaped, getting into a position to throw it.
  • Aiyuk had a great game, but if he had caught that touchdown, Levi's Stadium would have blown up.
  • The offensive line has really come together. I should probably apologize to Mike McGlinchey. He's been much better.

The 49ers have so many weapons on offense and so many great players on defense. They'll go as far as they allow themselves to go. The only team in the NFC that can beat the 49ers is the 49ers.

We'll find out on Sunday who will be coming to Santa Clara next week.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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