Photo Credit: seattletimes.com
Seahawks win over the 49ers changes the shape of the NFC
Let’s face it, what was the clear cut #1 seed in the NFC, if not the NFL, was taken down by a team that had more heart and sheer will to win. The Seattle Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers on their own home field in Santa Clara sending a clear message to the Red and Gold that there are no free rides to the NFC Championship.
Russell Wilson was not his usual dominant self however, a defense sparked by Jadeveon Clowney and newcomer Quandre Diggs showed a defiance in the Seahawks that has not been seen in a while. It is time to re-evaluate who is atop the NFL and it seems that the Seahawks belong there.
After Monday’s win, the Seahawks’ odds sit at +260 to win the NFC West, according to Sports Betting Dime. That’s an improvement, albeit a slight one, as they were previously at +310. However, this has more to do with the 49ers sitting on only one loss; a second between now and December 29th will change everything. With the Cardinals in rebuild mode and the Rams spiraling out of control, the 49ers are still the odds on favorite (-260) to win the NFC West and there is a reason.
Pulling the offensive stats off NFL.com, wee see that the Hawks sit at #7 in the NFL with 27.5 points per game. The team once known for the Legion of Boom on defense are now one of the best offenses in the NFL. Against the best defense in the NFL, the 49ers, the Hawks managed 336 yards with 147 on the ground. While the total yards was below their 389 average, their rushing yards were higher than their 6th ranked average (133.2). This is a team that is in the upper-echelon of teams with a dominant offense.
Defensively however, the Hawks had struggled all year. Against the Niners, the Hawks surrendered just below their yearly average of 25 points per game, but it is important to note, that seven of the 49ers points came off a TD return off a fumble and honesty shouldn’t count. In fact, this number lies a bit as the defense has been awarded points allowed off of things like pick-6 and fumble returns for TDs.
It was exciting to see that the Hawks forced 3 turnovers and essentially shut down the passing and ground game of the 49ers offense. Jimmy Garoppolo was harassed all day by Clowney and managed just 3 pass completions over 10 yards. The devastating run game of the Niners saw just 87 yards, well below their 162 average per game. All the good aside this was just 1 game, this is a bottom 10 team ranking 24th in total yards allowed and 23rd in points allowed. To convince the critics and the odds-makers, defensive coordinator Ken Norton must prove that he can keep the ship righted as the Hawks move into the most difficult portion of their schedule which is listed as the 4th most difficult remaining schedule in the NFL. The good news? The 49ers have the 2nd hardest schedule in the final 7 weeks.