Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Rapid Reaction to 49ers’ 26-21 win over the Seahawks

Matt Andruscavage
Dec 30, 2019 at 6:03 AM


The 2019 San Francisco 49ers are NFC West champs and have home field advantage throughout the playoffs! It's been a long, long road, but the rebuild under John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan that started in 2017 is finally over. This team is for real, has a legit quarterback, and is ready to shine in the postseason. Here are my takeaways from last night's thriller in Seattle:

1) Winning in Seattle is Huge for Several Reasons


What a finish! As if any of our hearts can take this amount of stress, the 49ers won in Seattle by a razor-thin margin as Dre Greenlaw tackled tight end Jacob Hollister inside the one-half line! It was reminiscent of Dan Bunz in Super Bowl 16 (who also wore number 57 and the final score in that game was oddly 26-21) when he tackled Charles Alexander short of the endzone on that memorable goal line stand. Greenlaw's tackle ended a nightmarish losing streak at Century Link Field that began in 2012 and lasted eight games, including the 2013 NFC Championship Game.

San Francisco just seemed snake-bitten whenever there was a game in Seattle against Russell Wilson. Somehow it would lose. Somehow, Seattle would get it done and it felt like the pain would never end. Well, last night, it ended. The 49ers sent the Seahawks and the "12s" home searching for answers, while the good guys can rest up and prepare for either Minnesota, Philadelphia, and yes, even Seattle.

Overcoming Seattle gives the 49ers confidence that they can beat the Seahawks in the postseason if necessary and it also prevents San Francisco from having to jump on a plane and go across the country to immediately face the Eagles in a Wild Card matchup. With home field advantage, rest, and the confidence that they can beat any of the NFC's contenders, the 49ers are set up with solid odds to get to the Super Bowl. It doesn't get much better than that.

2) The Offense is Taking the Next Step


At the start of the season, the defense and the ground game were the talk of why the 49ers were good. Jimmy Garoppolo was viewed as a simple "game manager" who was asked to "not screw it up", at least in the eyes of most pundits. Very few people believed Garoppolo was going to be as good as he is turning out to be. The offense is a complete unit. The ground game is still very, very good, especially with the emergence of Raheem Mostert. Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman are more than capable backs, each with the ability of a starter. Mostert is becoming the most consistent and when it's all said and done, could be the starter going forward.

The biggest positive change has come from the addition of wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Since he arrived, everyone's numbers are up, especially rookie sensation Deebo Samuel.

Teams can no longer lock in on George Kittle. Sanders is the sure-handed receiver who is money on third down, but also, as the Rams can attest, is capable of the big play. His leadership and experience have helped the development of Samuel, Kendrick Bourne, and all of the young receivers. But perhaps most importantly, the addition of Sanders has given Jimmy G the confidence boost he needed to get his game to the next level.

During this last five game stretch, the offense has shouldered the load as the defense got depleted with injuries. These games contained some of the most difficult teams in the league in Green Bay, Baltimore, New Orleans and Seattle. The offense did the job, scoring 37 and 48 against the Packers and Saints, respectively, and played very well in Seattle.

Against the Seahawks, Garoppolo completed 18 of 22 passes for 285 yards. The ground game did all the scoring, but Garoppolo moved the chains repeatedly, made plenty of big throws, and did not turn over the ball. There was a great mix of run and pass, and had just a couple of small things not gone wrong, this game could have been a rout.

It is now apparent that the 49ers can win any way, play any style, and compete in any conditions. They are going to be as difficult to beat as anyone. If the defense can get back even somewhat to what it was earlier in the year with Dee Ford, Jaquiski Tartt, and possibly Kwon Alexander returning, they will win it all.

3) Dre Greenlaw is the Real Deal



Greenlaw, a rookie fifth round pick, has far exceeded most expectations this year. Early in the offseason, it was thought that Greenlaw would be a special teams stud and work his way into playing time. San Francisco never did find a "SAM" linebacker better than what Greenlaw showed in preseason, so the job was his.

He had a huge game against Seattle in Week 10, but has been very consistent after he had to fill in for Kwon Alexander, averaging just over nine tackles per game. There was no play bigger than his tackle of Hollister on the one inch line.

Greenlaw is another mid-round draft pick who has turned into a homerun by this front office and should be a key player for years to come.

4) Help is on the Way for the Pass Rush



The defensive unit has fought through a lot of adversity with injuries and young guys getting settled into their positions. The unit most decimated has been the pass rush. Julian Taylor, Ronald Blair, D.J. Jones, and Demontre Moore are all out for the season. Dee Ford has missed several games with hamstring and knee issues. The pass rush is still very good at creating pressure, but the sack totals have definitely dropped.

Against Russell Wilson, the pass rush just couldn't finish many times and the scrambling wizard figured out how to beat the defense most of the second half. Obviously, Wilson does this to pretty much everyone, but the 49ers can't allow these great playoff quarterbacks to have time and make consistent plays on the defense.

There have been many instances where the defense needed to get a little more in the way of a pass rush to close out games and it just hasn't been there. Once Dee Ford returns and if he can remain healthy, sack totals should rise again. A large part of the issue has been generating a rush from the opposite side of Nick Bosa. The reserves haven't been able to do it and the snap counts for Bosa, DeForest Buckner, and Arik Armstead have been higher than in games past. Ford should be able to provide pressure and allow the starters to get more rest during the postseason.

A bye week will greatly help the entire unit get rested up for the next, hopefully, three games.

Extra Points


- Ahkello Witherspoon struggled again at times and near the end of the game, was subbed out for Emmanuel Moseley. Coach Shanahan stated that "Witherspoon did not have a bad game." Overall, that is mostly true, but there were also the several catches that receivers made on him and the coverage wasn't there. Hopefully, both Witherspoon and Moseley will play better in the postseason.

- Marshawn Lynch was held to 31 yards on 12 carries. Half of that yardage came on one play. While his energy pumped up the Seahawks and the crowd, the 49ers ensured he did not have a big game and treated him like they would have any other back. While Lynch scored from a yard out, rest assured, Rashad Penny and Chris Carson would likely have done the same.

- Jadaveon Clowney did not have nearly the game he did in Week 10. Joe Staley was on his game and held Clowney to one tackle. Overall, Seattle's pass rush was a non-factor as the 49ers' offensive line gave Garoppolo plenty of time for most of the game.

- Robbie Gould continues to silence his doubters, going two for two on field goals, including a big 47 yarder. Gould very much looks like his old self again.

- Deebo Samuel was a huge part of the offense again, finishing with five catches for 102 yards and also scoring on a big 30-yard end around. His toughness and willingness to fight for every yard is contagious. This rookie class is shaping up to be one of the best in football.

- This week, the 49ers will rest during their bye week and await either Philadelphia, Seattle or Minnesota.
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.


0 Comments

  • No Comments

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



Recap: 49ers build big lead before holding off late surge in 41-33 Week 1 win over Lions

By Kirk Larrabee
Sep 12

The San Francisco 49ers started their 2021 season on Sunday with a win that was equal parts convincing and frightening, holding the Lions at Ford Field in Detroit by the score of 41-33. The 49ers built a 41-17 fourth quarter lead before the Lions added two late scores, due in part to them recovering an onsides kick with under two minutes to play. The Lions



Key stats from the 49ers' 41-33 Week 1 win over the Lions

By Site Staff
Sep 12

At one point, the San Francisco 49ers looked to be on its way to a dominating victory over the Detroit Lions in Week 1. However, a late surge by the home team at Ford Field made the game closer than anticipated. The Niners did manage to escape with the 41-33 win, though. Below are several statistics and notes from Sunday's game, which were provided by the 49ers Communications staff. With The Win… The 49ers improved to 39-28-1 overall against the Lions, including a 15-18 record on the road. San Francisco has now won 18 of the last 21 regular season matchups and 11 of the last 12 overall. Head coach Kyle Shanahan is now 2-0 against the Lions as a head



49ers RB Elijah Mitchell nominated for Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week after win over Lions

By David Bonilla
Sep 14

San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell has been nominated for his first Pepsi Zero Sugar NFL Rookie of the Week Award. The nomination comes after the Niners' 41-33 Week 1 road win over the Detroit Lions. Mitchell finished the game with 104 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, entering the lineup after Raheem Mostert exited with a knee injury. The other award nominees are quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Mac Jones of the New England Patriots, wide receivers Ja'Marr Chase of the Cincinnati Bengals and DeVonta Smith of the Philadelphia Eagles, and cornerback Paulson Adebo of the New Orleans



Recap: 49ers ride big plays in all phases to grind out 17-11 win over Eagles

By Kirk Larrabee
16 hrs

The San Francisco 49ers fought off a slow start in Philadelphia on Sunday and delivered big plays on offense, defense and special teams at key times to come away with a hard-fought win over the Eagles, 17-11. 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 189 yards and one touchdown on 22-of-30 passing while engineering two drives for more than 90 yards. Eagles


Featured

More by Matt Andruscavage

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone