Week 12: Seahawks Stifle 49ers; Garoppolo Debuts

After a slow start, the Seahawks score 17 unanswered points until…the debut of 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo

Seahawks 24 49ers 13

After dropping two games at home, the Seattle Seahawks got back on track with a road victory over their divisional rival, the San Francisco 49ers. It was a defensive battle in the early on until Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner snatched the ball from 49ers’ Trent Taylor to set them up at the 49ers’ 16-yard line for their first score. That essentially set the tone as the Seahawks would pile it on in the second half with 17 unanswered points.

San Francisco 49ers

Pass Protection — The Seahawks only blitzed three times and were still able to bring the pressure, showing just how troublesome the 49ers have been in pass protection. 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard was pressured on half his drop back and hit six times along three sacks. Some of that has to do with Beathard’s internal time clock — he holds the ball for too long — but nonetheless, the 49ers continue to struggle in this department. 49ers’ Eric Magnuson in particular struggled in his start at right tackle, allowing two sacks. With the Seahawks’ defense sitting in their coverage, Beathard continued to check down his receivers; 49ers’ Carlos Hyde was targeted 13 times as an indicator.

Jimmy Garoppolo — The 49ers scored zero touchdowns through 59 minutes of game play — until Beathard got hurt. With a little over a minute left in the fourth quarter, Jimmy Garopollo was inserted into the lineup and made an immediate impact. He was 3-for-3 for 19 passing yards, rushed for 4 yards, and threw the 49ers’ lone touchdown in the final seconds. It was only a small sample size but for those that attended the game — myself included — it offered a glimmer of hope for the future. It was announced earlier in the week that Garoppolo will be the starting quarterback against the Chicago Bears this upcoming week.

Seattle Seahawks

Bobby Wagner — Stats wise, the Seahawks’ middle linebacker has been off-the-charts all season. Wagner has the highest Pro Football Focus grade among all NFL defenders at 98.1 overall. He certainly looked the part against the 49ers both in coverage and run defense. Wagner was thrown at six times and allowed just four catches for 11 yards along with his game-changing interception. If it wasn’t for Wagner anchoring the Seahawks’ front seven defense, they’d be in trouble — especially wit the secondary so banged up this season.

Russell Wilson — Early in the game, it was looking to be an ugly ordeal similar to what we saw in their Week 2 matchup where the Seahawks barely won 13–10. Between Wilson and Beathard, both quarterbacks were struggling against the opposing defense; Wilson was picked off on the very first play of the game while Beathard was under duress the majority of the game. What separated the two was Wilson’s elusiveness. Time after time, it seemed like 49er defender were about to sack Wilson but in Russell Wilson fashion, he would get the ball out before going down. Wilson was sacked zero times and ended up passing for two scores and running for another as the Seahawks’ offense continues to fall under Wilson’s leadership.

Overall Thoughts

Quite frankly, the Seahawks outclassed the 49ers for their ninth consecutive victory in this once competitive rivalry. Quarterback play was the obvious difference in this one. Perhaps with Garoppolo under center moving forward for the 49ers…we could see a more interesting matchup in the future.

Next Game

The San Francisco 49ers play at the Chicago Bears.

The Seattle Seahawks host the Philadelphia Eagles.

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