In the last week of the regular season in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks traveled to the Bay to take on the San Francisco 49ers in what was perhaps Chip Kelly’s last game as head coach.
With a multitude of playoff scenarios swirling around, it was one of those games which was a formality and where the result would simply dictate a matter of seeding.
The lowly 49ers, whom Seattle handily defeated back in Week 3, were only playing for pride whilst the Seahawks seemed to be going through the motions, with one eye on the NFL scoreboard to see who their first-round playoff opponent would be.
The game began with the ‘Hawks kicking off to the Niners, and, two plays later, SF fumbled on Colin Kaepernick’s attempted handoff to Shaun Draughn. Bobby Wagner, the NFL’s leader in tackles, recovered the pigskin, giving Seattle excellent position. The Birds got a field goal out of the early miscue, giving them a quick 3-0 lead.
But the 49ers, with absolutely nothing to lose, would rally, and answered with a seven play, 75-yard drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run from the aforementioned Draughn. The drive was filled with Kelly’s penchant for running a no-huddle offense, with the players looking to the sideline in the middle of the drive to get the play call — a nod to Kelly’s college ways which have so far not worked at all in the big league.
The next Seattle possession resulted in a quick three-and-out, which led to another Niners touchdown drive — this one chewed up about eight minutes of game time and featured Kelly going for it twice on fourth down and coming up successful. Again, San Francisco had absolutely nothing to lose and definitely played like it early in the game. By the time you’re reading this, Kelly may have been fired by now.
But those two TD drives would pretty much be the last highlights from a terrible season of lowlights for SF, as Seattle answered with a field goal and a Luke Willson touchdown, the latter occurring after another fumble recovery, putting the score at 13-14 in favor of San Francisco.
After the Seattle defense settled down and forced a 49er punt, Russell Wilson came back with a couple of long passes to get the Birds right back in it. He found Doug Baldwin, who snaked around his defender to get loose for a 41-yard gain, then followed that up with a deep 42-yard bomb to Jimmy Graham, who boxed the hell out of his defender and made the leaping grab, securing both of his feet inbounds in the process. Thomas Rawls then punched in the TD, giving Seattle a 19-14 lead which they would keep until the final whistle.
After a couple punts from both teams to begin the second half, Seattle scored on a field goal to up their lead to 22-14. The Seahawks later gave up a safety midway through the third quarter after a snap went over punter Jon Ryan’s head and out of the end zone, cutting the lead to 22-16.
Seattle later got another field goal and surrendered a touchdown to San Francisco late in the game, but the damage was already done and the Seahawks closed out the 49ers, 25-23. Pete Carroll pulled Wilson early in the fourth, perhaps after hearing about the Atlanta Falcons’ large lead over the New Orleans Saints (a Falcons win kept Seattle out of the coveted first-round bye).
It was a game with an expected outcome, and which wrapped up a peculiar season for Seattle, which saw issues from the offensive line, the running game, and from behind center. Despite these issues, they still finished 10-5-1 and easily clinched the NFC West, guaranteeing them a home game in the playoffs.
They take on the Detroit Lions and former Seahawk Golden Tate on Saturday, January 7th at home. Here we go.