Seahawks @ 49ers
Despite trailing by 10 points late into the third quarter, the Seattle Seahawks were able to turn it on late and defeat the San Francisco 49ers 26-23. Seattle finishes the season 12-4 and will face the Los Angeles Rams in the first round of the playoffs, while the 49ers end an injury-ravaged season with a hard-fought 6-10 record. For a game with only minor playoff implications, both teams played to win, and the Seahawks ultimately had to recover the 49ers’ onside kick to seal the deal at the end.
Russell Wilson: 20/36, 181 yards, 2 TDs, 2 sacks | 5 carries, 29 yards
All of Russell Wilson‘s struggles from the past few weeks popped up again today, but he was able to make just enough plays to pull out a victory as he has done his whole career. Seattle started slow with a quick punt on their first two drives, completing a 3rd and 8 just short of the sticks on the second drive. Wilson was able to put together a first-quarter field goal drive where he peppered Tyler Lockett with a few short passes and got a chunk play on a nice dump-off under pressure to Chris Carson. But the drive stalled in the red zone, as the pressure got to Wilson on 2nd down, and on 3rd down he misfired on a ball to D.K. Metcalf that would have been short of the first down marker anyway. Wilson led a second-quarter drive for a field goal where he had more protection, but missed on a downfield shot to Metcalf and threw an incomplete pass on 3rd and 3 to Lockett that was a high-difficulty timing route. Seattle ended the half with two consecutive stalled drives where the 49ers’ pass rush overpowered Seattle’s line and sacked Wilson.
Things got worse in the second half, as Wilson at one point had at least six straight incompletions. The game went into the fourth quarter with the Seahawks trailing 16-6, but naturally, Wilson saved his best for last. The 49ers helped jumpstart the first drive with two unnecessary roughness penalties. On 3rd and goal, Wilson bought time and threaded the needle to Lockett for a touchdown that only a handful of quarterbacks could pull off, as seen in the GIF below. Seattle got the ball back with 7:46 remaining, down four points, and Wilson began to make plays with his legs to finish the comeback. Wilson hit Lockett for his second touchdown of the game with 2:20 left to take the lead, and they never looked back. The Seahawks added a three-play drive for a touchdown off of a turnover, but Wilson wasn’t needed for that drive. Wilson isn’t playing like he was at the beginning of the season, but he still has the magic to bail Seattle out at the end of the game.
— QB List (@TheQBlist) January 3, 2021
Chris Carson: 11 carries, 44 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 39 yards
Rashaad Penny: 6 carries, 19 yards
Alex Collins: 5 carries, 29 yards, 1 TD
With Carlos Hyde missing this week due to an illness, the backfield saw a bit of a shakeup behind starter Chris Carson. Carson was used sparingly in this one but was generally able to make plays when needed. He had a couple of nice gains in the passing game and converted a 3rd and 1 on the ground. Other than a run that he seemed to bounce outside too quickly, Carson took what he was given, but Seattle was never able to truly establish the run. Carson missed a bit of time late as he was seen bleeding from his ear, but it shouldn’t be an issue for the playoffs. Rashaad Penny played as the backup and saw a decent amount of snaps, but was never able to find any space, and left late in the game with what looked like cramping. Alex Collins got all of his work late in the fourth quarter, and actually looked like their best option on the ground. Much of that likely was due to his fresh legs against a tiring 49ers defense, but Collins provided a spark when called upon.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
D.K. Metcalf: 9 targets, 3 receptions, 21 yards
Tyler Lockett: 14 targets, 12 receptions, 90 yards, 2 TDs
Jacob Hollister: 3 targets, 1 reception, 6 yards
Will Dissly: 2 targets, 1 reception, 20 yards
D.K. Metcalf saw a lot of cornerback Jason Verrett in this one as Richard Sherman sat out, and Verret played a heck of a game guarding the talented Metcalf. This is becoming a bit of a trend for Metcalf where he struggles against top-end corners, but that is certainly something he can improve on next year in his third season. Metcalf had a tough catch in the red zone that he was unable to haul in, but it would have been short of the first down marker anyway. Metcalf set the single-season Seahawks’ receiving yards record in this one, passing Steve Largent in the second quarter. Metcalf had a step deep where Wilson missed him but otherwise was bottled up in this one.
Tyler Lockett was the workhorse in this one, and while much of the work was in the short game, he came through on two touchdown receptions when Seattle needed a score. Lockett was peppered with targets from the very start, and he set a record of his own as he now holds the Seahawks’ single-season receptions record. Lockett finished the season with exactly 100 receptions, which came on the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. While Lockett and Wilson only missed on two passes all game, one was a deep shot where Lockett had a step on his man, preventing an even bigger day.
Touchdown Tyler Lockett!! On his 100th reception too.
— Samuel Gold (@SamuelRGold) January 4, 2021
Outside of Lockett and Metcalf, there was nothing noteworthy from the rest of the passing game. Seattle really needs to find a third option, or else defenses will continue to focus solely on these two talented wide receivers.
San Francisco 49ers
C.J. Beathard: 25/37, 273 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble, 3 sacks | 3 carries, 10 yards
C.J. Beathard really struggled in this one, looking uneasy in the pocket for most of the day. He had a few nice plays with his legs when he quickly decided to scramble or was given a designed run, but the longer he sat in the pocket the more trouble he got into. He missed several downfield shots and was looking in the wrong direction on multiple occasions when there was a wide-open option. Beathard hit a nice downfield ball to Richie James towards the end of the first half, but otherwise took some bad sacks and didn’t sense pressure on batted balls at the line of scrimmage. Beathard was strip-sacked to set up a short field to essentially end the game late and padded his stats with some yardage and his only passing touchdown on his final drive with the team down 10. San Francisco will hope to have improved quarterback play in 2021.
Jeff Wilson Jr.: 20 carries, 76 yards, 1 TD | 7 targets, 3 receptions, 12 yards, 1 TD
Jerick McKinnon: 1 target, 1 reception, 6 yards
Kyle Juszczyk: 1 carry, 0 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 4 yards
Jeff Wilson Jr. was the clear workhorse in this one and soaked up almost all of the work. Wilson did what he could with his opportunities, but with star offensive tackle Trent Williams on IR, the 49ers’ third-string quarterback under center, and both of their starting wide receivers injured, San Francisco just couldn’t get anything going offensively. Wilson is certainly the most trusted running back currently healthy and playing for the 49ers, but the offense couldn’t move the ball on Sunday.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
George Kittle: 9 targets, 7 receptions, 68 yards
Richie James: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 66 yards
Kendrick Bourne: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 76 yards
Ross Dwelley: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 21 yards
With Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel both missing action in the season finale, the offense lacked playmakers outside of tight end George Kittle. Kittle could have had a bigger day, as he just missed hauling in a deep pass from Beathard in the third quarter, and then later in the quarter was wide open in the end zone where his quarterback somehow didn’t see his talented tight end. Kittle made a spectacular one-handed catch on a poorly thrown pass, however, and had a solid game despite constant attention from the Seattle defense.
GEORGE KITTLE ARE YOU KIDDING
— PFF (@PFF) January 3, 2021
Richie James got deep on a 3rd and 14 up the seam for a 49-yard reception but otherwise was relatively quiet. Kendrick Bourne came up with big 3rd and 9 and 4th and 3 receptions toward the end of the third quarter but was otherwise an afterthought. This San Francisco offense desperately needs its young wide receivers healthy and back on the field for 2021.
— Erik Smith (@ErikSmithQBL on Twitter, truebest on Reddit)