San Francisco 49ers
Marshawn Lynch scored three touchdowns, Seattle’s defense forced five turnovers, and in front of a CenturyLink Field record crowd of 68,338, the Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers, 29-3.
Prior to Sunday night, both teams were considered to be among the best in the NFC, but Seattle stood in a league of its own against its division rival in front of a national audience on Sunday Night Football.
The first quarter was offensively sloppy for both teams, while both defenses looked outstanding. Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick both threw interceptions before lightening forced a 60-minute weather delay towards the end of the first quarter.
The Seahawks put the first points on the board early in the second quarter, thanks to San Francisco’s Bruce Miller being called for a holding penalty in his own end zone. The result was a safety and a 2-0 Seahawks lead.
Later in the quarter, Steven Hauschka nailed a 30-yard field goal that gave the Seahawks a 5-0 advantage, one that they would take to the half.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, that 5-0 halftime score was the first the NFL had seen since 1992.
In the third quarter, the Seahawks offense finally got going. On their first possession of the half, the offense marched 80 yards in ten plays, the final one a 14-yard touchdown run from Lynch.
On the 49ers next possession, the Seahawks defense put up an impressive red-zone stand. San Francisco had a 1st and 10 on Seattle’s 10 yard line, but they managed only a field goal after going three and out. It was the last scoring play of the third quarter and made Seattle’s lead 12-3 going to the fourth.
Then the Seahawks erupted. Two interceptions allowed the offense to score 17 points in the final quarter, courtesy of two touchdowns by Lynch (one a 7-yard reception reception and the other a 2-yard rush) and another field goal from Hauschka.
Lynch finished the night with 28 carries for 98 yards (135 total) and two rushing touchdowns. Wilson had a tough night, going 8 of 19 for 142 yards and both a touchdown and interception.
The Seattle defense held San Francisco’s offense to just 207 total yards and forced Kaepernick to throw three interceptions. San Francisco also lost two fumbles.
For just the third time since 1979, the 49ers finished a game with five turnovers and no touchdowns, according to ESPN.
Turnovers weren’t the only thing that hurt San Francisco — the 49ers had a few costly penalties that ended up hurting them big time by allowing Seattle’s offense to stay on the field. The Niners finished with 12 penalties that went against them for 121 yards.
The Seahawks offense had possession for 36:43, while San Francisco had possession for 23:17.
Seattle (2-0) will host the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) next Sunday at CenturyLink Field, where they have won nine straight games.
The Seahawks will not play the 49ers (1-1) again until Week 14 in San Francisco.
11. Frank Gore sucks.
He scored a 6 on the Wonderlic test…out of a possible 50. His showing ranks as one of the worst all-time scores in Wonderlic history.
Rather than calling out coverages, perhaps Seahawks linebackers should pepper San Francisco’s running back with stupid questions before the snap. “Hey Frank! Spell all forms of the word ‘there.’ All forms, Frank! Not just one. And then use each form in a sentence so we know you’re not bullshitting us.”
10. Their mascot sucks.
Did you know that the Niners’ mascot is a cartoonish cowboy named Sourdough Sam? Probably not, since Sourdough Sam is the stupidest name ever. I imagine a cowboy named Sourdough Sam would be the first one to die of dysentery on the Oregon Trail. Or worse, he’d drown in the very first river you forded.
“All your oxen survived and all your supplies are intact. But Sourdough Sam is dead. R.I.P Sourdough Sam.”
9. Their dance team sucks.
The 49ers have dubbed their cheer squad the “Gold Rush.” Really? The Gold Rush? The California Gold Rush ended in 1855. The majority of people who participated in the Gold Rush were men. Nothing about the term “Gold Rush” indicates attractive women dancing and holding pom-poms. Your marketing team is an epic fail.
8. Their stadium sucks.
Candlestick Park. Most famous for withstanding earthquakes and being synonymous with a city that no one would give a shit about if it weren’t for Full House.
This butt-ugly venue was built in 1960, the same year that the laser was invented and John F. Kennedy was elected president. It’s fifty-three goddamn years old. The building qualifies for AARP and early-bird specials at shitty chain restaurants. It also holds the dubious distinction of being one of the worst places to play a football game because of the strong winds that swirl into the stadium, creating adverse conditions for, you know, sports.
On top of all that, this decaying rathole housed The Beatles’ final concert in 1966. And at the time, The Beatles had no idea it would be their final concert. Way to go, Candlestick. You’re single-handedly responsible for destroying The Beatles.
7. The best player in the history of their franchise sucks.
Seriously, Joe Montana, what the hell? You couldn’t spawn a better quarterback? Your kid came to the University of Washington for two years and barely cracked the two-deep. Now he’s playing at Tulane, the pride of Conference USA. All you are to us is the father of a kid who wasn’t good enough. That, and the spokesperson for two of the lowliest apparel brands in American history, Mervyn’s and Skechers.
6. The best player currently on their roster sucks.
There’s probably some debate about this, since no current 49er is really all that great. But for the sake of the hype machine, we’ll go ahead and say that Colin Kaepernick is the best player on San Francisco’s roster right now. And my god, is he just a disaster.
First of all, he looks like a Mii. For those of you who don’t know what a Mii is, go to the nearest GameStop, find a Nintendo Wii console, and create a male avatar. Holy crap, right away you realize that your creation bears a striking resemblance to the 49ers quarterback. Kaepernick is the product of an algorithm.
Second, there’s the whole bicep kissing thing. Look, unless you have the arms of a professional weightlifter, you simply cannot take a peck at any part of your body residing between the shoulder and the fingertips. Can’t do it. And if you do, you’re gonna look like a self-absorbed douchebag. This is why people the world around have issues with Kaepernick. Whether you loathe the San Francisco 49ers or not, it’s easy to despise someone who makes out with their scrawny noodle arms.
Third, the tattoos. What’s up with the tattoos, bro? You had a privileged upbringing in the suburbs of Wisconsin. Wisconsin. You’re not from the streets, you’re not from the hood, you aren’t part of some gang we should all fear. You’re just a dude who had disposable income as a child and apparently spent it all on ill-advised, meaningless ink. I get it: You’re biracial and you were adopted. In your own mind, that probably means you had it “rough.” Whatever.
So what’s your story? It was your time in Nevada, wasn’t it? That Reno. With all those geriatrics running around, it’s easy to get involved with a bad crowd.
5. Their uniforms suck.
Their two primary colors are also the colors of piss and blood. They should be sponsored by Tampax and Depends.
4. Their Super Bowl victories suck.
Two of the wins came against Cincinnati. Those shouldn’t even count.
3. Their players’ names suck.
NaVorro Bowman. According to a Google search, the name “NaVorro” has no meaning. Way to go, mom. Your kid is meaningless.
Anquan Boldin. The name “Anquan” means “companion.” You’re not a leader. You’re not a powerful individual. You’re an effing companion. Might as well be Tonto.
Perrish Cox. A misspelling of the word meaning “to die.” That’s, uh…cool.
Colt McCoy. Named after both a baby horse and the annoying middle child in the 3 Ninjas movies.
Kassim Osgood. His name means “dispenser of food and goods.” That’s just awful. He’s like a Safeway, or a Union Gospel Mission, or a…Pez.
2. Their fans suck.
I mean, they’re not that bad for uneducated inbreds.
1. Their coach sucks.
In general, society’s biggest gripes with Jim Harbaugh are the following:
-He whines too much.
-His fashion sense blows.
-He always has that goddamn red Sharpie hanging around his neck.
-He over-dramatizes every single little thing on the sideline.
-He makes ugly faces.
I understand all that and I certainly agree with the sentiments. But my biggest issue with Harbaugh is none of these things. No, I’m disgusted by the 49ers’ head coach for a different reason. What is that reason, you ask? Simple: He took an acting gig on Saved By the Bell: The New Class.
By now, this isn’t news. Everyone should know that Harbaugh was on the shitty red-headed stepchild spinoff of the Saved By the Bell series. But in case you weren’t aware, here’s a video of the Emmy-worthy performance:
That was horrendous. And there are so many things wrong with this.
First, everyone knows that The New Class was a disgraceful embarrassment to Saved By the Bell’s good name. It just was. As someone who avidly paid witness to all forms and spinoffs of Saved By the Bell, The New Class was little more than a train wreck. Trust me on this.
Second, Harbaugh played Screech’s cousin and Screech was the worst character in the history of the entire SBTB franchise. We’re talking about a guy who had a knack for screwing everything up all the time. Not only that, but the man who played this bumbling idiot went on to star in a homemade porno that was highlighted by a Dirty Sanchez, which is gross.
Third, what self-respecting athlete accepts a gig on The New Class, anyway? You either have to have the worst agent in the world — some Bob Sugar-esque ne’er-do-well concerned about nothing more than the almighty dollar — or possess no dignity whatsoever as a human being. With Harbaugh, I’d guess it’s the latter.
All things considered, Jim Harbaugh epitomizes the absolute suckiness of the entire organization he represents. So…much…suck.
Filed under: Seahawks, Top 11
The Seattle Seahawks took the league by storm in 2013, thanks to the always competitive Pete Carroll and an unlikely rookie sensation in quarterback Russell Wilson.
Backed by an elite rushing attack lead by Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks worked with their nasty defense to go 11-5 and make it to the second round of last year’s playoffs. With all of the same pieces intact, plus sound additions like cornerback Antoine Winfield and defensive end Michael Bennett, Seattle’s defense should be even scarier in 2013.
The team also improved on offense, adding the explosive Percy Harvin via trade, while also drafting former Texas A&M running back, Christine Michael. While Harvin is out (hip) until late November, his presence could still be felt late in the year as the Seahawks make another playoff push.
All we know for sure is this is still a very deep and balanced team on both sides of the ball and they’re fully expected to make another deep run in 2013 and fans in Seattle are excited. Currently, the average price of Seattle Seahawks tickets is $253. With that said, let’s take a look at how much it will cost for their NFC West games, at home and on the road.
- (9/15) vs. San Francisco 49ers | Avg: $473 | Get-in: $203
Clearly this is an expensive game, but few 49ers/Seahawks games will be more hyped than this one. It’s their first battle of the year and it’s in Seattle. It’s a toss-up, but it goes for 87% more than the home average for the Seahawks.
- (12/22) vs. Arizona Cardinals | Avg: $212 | Get-in: $75
This week 16 meeting with Arizona is Seattle’s cheapest home division game, which is ironic because it’s the one they’re most likely to win. Still, it’s actually a solid deal at 16% below their home game average for the season.
- (12/29) vs. St. Louis Rams | Avg: $222 | Get-in: $75
Seattle’s home/season finale against a competent division rival. Booyah. A lot could be on the line in this one, yet it’s still 12% under the Hawks’ home game average. It should be a tough battle, but the Seahawks are the better team and should prevail to enter the playoffs on a high note.
- (10/17) @ Arizona Cardinals | Avg: $119 | Get-in: $31
Seahawks fans get a discount in the first meeting with the Cardinals, but they’ll have to take it to the road to get it. This one should be a win on paper, yet it’s almost $100 cheaper than the battle in Seattle.
- (10/28) @ St. Louis Rams | Avg: $143 | Get-in: $29
Seahawks and Rams get another bargain here, as St. Louis is good enough to give the Seahawks a run for their money, yet this one is cheaper than their other showdown by about $80 on average.
- (12/8) @ San Francisco 49ers | Avg: $243 | Get-in: $79
This December meeting understandably isn’t going to be quite as intense as the first meeting in September, but it actually is the more important game. Even so, it’s over $200 cheaper than the first game these two wage war in.
The San Francisco 49ers and Levi Strauss announced today that they have reached an agreement for the naming rights of San Francisco’s new stadium. The deal is actually quite lucrative for the 49ers, but that doesn’t mean that the stadium’s name won’t end up sounding extremely out of place.
Why yes Victoria, that is an excellent idea!
Please let that come true. Please let that come true. Please let that come true.
Worst part of that joke is that, about an hour later, it was actually made by someone at the press conference officially announcing the deal.
Of course, there was a 49er fan who tried to join the party.
To be fair, Alex is a friend from back when we both were writers for Fansided’s Seattle Mariners site. We give each other crap all the time, he’s not the usual delusional trash-talker. So don’t give him too much crap for it. I know he was joking……mostly.
Of course, there’s also the interesting side story here that Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson is a paid spokesman for the brand.
I can’t wait to make that joke every time the Seahawks are in that stadium over the next decade to two.
Even NFL Network’s Rich Eisen couldn’t help from making jokes.
Of course, Eisen wasn’t the only media member to get in on the act.
Of couse, I didn’t let this opportunity for silliness go unheeded either. I decided to quickly (and poorly) mock up the 49ers uniforms as if they were wearing jeans. Take a look:
As usual though, there are people out there with better ideas than mine.
Why yes, yes they should. Wouldn’t that be an awkward site on Sundays? I think I might die laughing if that actually happened.
One of the best things about this time of year, and my role here at 12thMR, is getting invited to participate in mock drafts with draft experts from around the country. This week, I took part in a 2 round mock for FPFootball.
There were 8 people involved, one picking for every team in a division. I, of course, was picking for the teams in the NFC West.
Picking for teams other than the Seahawks in a draft like this was an interesting challenge. I tried to prepare and make sure I knew what each team needed and the types of players they prefer, but I doubt the fans of those teams will like the decisions I made.
I can say that I took picking for our division rivals seriously. A lot of these picks are ones that I hope they don’t make when the real draft finally gets here in April.
Take a look. And be sure to click the above link to see how the entire 2 round draft unfolded. Let me know in the comments how bad I did.
Strategy: Fix the offense, especially the offensive line.
Drafted Players: QB Geno Smith, OT Terron Armstead
The original plan was to select OT Eric Fisher at #7, but he came off the board before then. That also meant that when Geno Smith dropped to the Cardinals it became a no brainer. They need a franchise QB, and he’s likely the only one in this draft class.
Besides, the Cardinals were able to draft Terron Armstead in round 2. He’s a bit of a project compared to the first round tackles, but he has a high ceiling and will be better than the embarrassingly bad tackles who played the position for Arizona last season.
Strategy: Get Sam Brandford some weapons
Drafted Players: WR Tayvon Austin, S Jonathan Cyprien, TE Zach Ertz
Austin provides the Rams with instant upgrade for the offense. He’s not a classic route runner type wide receiver, but he’s still a dynamic athlete that will help Bradford. Ertz was the best player available in round 2 and made too much sense not to select. I know the Rams signed Cook in free agency, but he’s almost exclusively a receiver and offers nothing in terms of in-line blocking. Ertz adds an element that is missing in the offense, as well and just being an overall talent upgrade for the roster.
Jonathan Cyprien is a pick that will likely get some “what the heck?” comments. After Austin was taken, Cyprien gave me a chance to change the script by taking who I thought was the best player available. Safety isn’t a huge need for the Rams, but getting Cyprien gives them a young safety to pair with their young CBs and D-line as they build that defense for the future.
Strategy: Seahawks only have 1 pick in the first 2 rounds. Make it count by getting a playmaker.
Drafted Players: Khaseem Greene, OLB – Rutgers
Greene was a player I didn’t think would be available at #56. He’s an outstanding OLB who, like the other starting LBs in Seattle, is versatile enough to play multiple LB spots. Good against both the run and in coverage, Greene would give Seattle one of the best 4-3 linebacking groups in the entire NFL. I was more interested in getting a starting 3-tech DT, but none were on the board that I was comfortable taking at this spot.
Strategy: Fix the secondary, especially safety.
Drafted Players: S Matt Elam, CB Desmond Trufant, WR Quinton Patton
Elam was the best safety on the board, and will start right away. Trufant further upgrades their secondary, which is the closest thing to a weakness you’ll find in the 49ers defense.
Patton at the end of round 2 was good value, and provided them with another option at WR, where they need additional talent around their young QB. Thought about taking TE Travis Kelce here to replace the recently departed Delanie Walker, but Patton was above him on my draft board and also filled a need.
The Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl proving yet again that regular season records mean little in predicting the playoffs. By translating a 10-6 record in to a 4-0 playoff run, the Ravens have made history by becoming the first team in history to win a Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers.
When NFC West football coaches, players, and fans look back on this season, the biggest lesson might be, “Make sure to show up to play in the first half of playoff games.” While both the Seahawks and 49ers looked as talented as any team in football this year, their habit of digging themselves in to a hole and relying on perfect execution late in games backfired. Instead of the NFC West holding a Lombardi Trophy, the 49ers finish the season more closely resembling the team that couldn’t beat the Rams than the team that was predicted by many to win it all.
In my last article I predicted that the Ravens would pass to set up the run. As it would turn out, the Ravens rushing attack was never a factor at all. Luckily for them, they scored their three offensive touchdowns on pass plays. They ended the game with only 93 rushing yards, and averaged a measly 2.7 yards per carry. On a normal day, that would not be enough to move the chains.
However, especially for Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, this was not a normal day. His three first half touchdowns were enough to bury the 49ers in a deep hole. They were also enough to set a new NFL record with 11 touchdown passes in a single post season without an interception.
Flacco’s first pass was thrown to the middle of the end zone to Anquan Boldin who found a pocket between two defenders. The next touchdown was a 1-yard pass to Dennis Pitta who calmly spiked the ball. The body language of the Ravens squad exuded confidence. The third touchdown made people stop and look. It was a 56-yard completion to Jacoby Jones, who caught the ball in the air, fell down, and got up in time to elude San Francisco defenders on his way to the end zone.
With the possession of the ball to start the second half, the Ravens were in good position with a 21-6 lead at halftime. By the time Jacoby Jones returned the opening kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown, things were looking great.
It looked like a good old fashioned Super Bowl blowout, until, of all things, the power went out in the Super Dome. While the power outage delayed the game for 34 minutes, it is impossible to judge what effect it had on the two teams. Some say that the 49ers benefited by being allowed to regroup and kill Baltimore’s momentum.
It could be just as easily presumed that Baltimore benefited from the blackout, by being allowed to regain some energy that allowed them to withstand the onslaught that was soon to come. In the end, the real beneficiary of the power out was probably the bar owners across the world who kept their patrons drinking for an extra half hour. At the end of the unexpected intermission, the game really started to get competitive, and turned in to what many called an instant classic.
Colin Kaepernick, who was flustered and ineffective early, suddenly was able to connect with Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. Both receivers topped one hundred yards, and Crabtree hauled in a touchdown. The other two 49er touchdowns were run in by Frank Gore who ran for a game best 110 yards, and Kaepernick who celebrated his touchdown run with a highly predictable kiss of his tattoo.
While the touchdown brought the 49ers to within a field goal of the Ravens, perhaps Kaepernick’s celebration was a bit premature if not entirely unnecessary. The Ravens would go on to build their lead to 5 on a Justin Tucker field goal giving the 49ers time to take the lead.
However, Baltimore’s defense held tight on a four-down goal line stand that included one controversial non-call in the end zone on a ball thrown to Michael Crabtree. While Jimmy Smith clearly had a handful of jersey, Crabtree was also engaged in contact. Being that it’s a Super Bowl, I’m a big believer in letting the players play, and saving the flags for obvious penalties, like the illegal formation that stalled a promising opening drive by San Francisco.
After turning the ball over on downs, San Francisco’s defense was able to hold the Ravens to a three and out. The Ravens, who had faked a field goal earlier in the game, pulled another unorthodox special teams move. With twelve seconds left, the punter, Sam Koch, scrambled around in the end zone for eight seconds before running out of bounds giving the 49ers a safety and two points.
The score tightened to 3 points, but with four seconds left on the clock, a field goal was not a possibility. Instead of punting from the end zone with 12 seconds left, the Ravens were able to kick off with four seconds left. There were no repeats of the music city miracle as Baltimore’s kickoff team found the ball quickly, and made the winning tackle as time expired.
It was a fitting end to an exciting season of NFL football. The Ravens have some questions surrounding an aging defense, and a free agent quarterback, but have been consistently competitive over the years. The 49ers also look like they’re built to compete for years to come.
The Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, and Denver Broncos all exited the playoffs with unfulfilled expectations. Expect them to be in the thick of the hunt next season. But, until then, The Baltimore Ravens deserve to hold their well-earned title of NFL Champions.
Tags: Anquan Boldin, Baltimore Ravens, Colin Kaepernick, Dennis Pitta, Denver Broncos, featured, football, Frank Gore, Green Bay Packers, Jacoby Jones, Jimmy Smith, Joe Flacco, Justin Tucker, Michael Crabtree, NFC West, nfl, playoffs, Popular, power out, Sam Koch, San Francisco 49ers, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, St. Lois Rams, Super Bowl, super bowl mvp, Super Bowl XLVII, Super Dome, Vernon Davis
The match up for Super Bowl XLVII is incredibly difficult to call. Both teams have overcome adversity, and both teams have weaknesses. In fact, I don’t totally trust either quarterback, or defense. Baltimore shut out the New England Patriots in the second half of the AFC Championship game, but San Francisco runs a totally different offense. San Francisco plays physical, but their defense almost let the Atlanta Falcons run away with the game early on in the NFC Championship game.
As for the quarterbacks, Joe Flacco has won playoff games in each of his seasons in the league, but he has also lost playoff games in each of those seasons. Colin Kaepernick has great skills, but he was shut down by the Seattle Seahawks in a prime time match up earlier in the season.
Both teams also have questions on special teams. San Francisco’s place kicker, David Akers, has missed several field goal attempts. The Baltimore Ravens, on the other hand, have a better kicker in Justin Tucker, but have been known to blow coverages on kick offs and punts.
In the passing game, The Ravens have a slight edge with their deep threat of Flacco to Torrey Smith. Anquan Boldin, and Dennis Pitta are solid, but The 49ers have the better overall receiving corps with Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, and Vernon Davis.
Both teams are solid in the run game. Baltimore’s Ray Rice is the top rusher in the playoffs this season with 247 yards. However, Frank Gore is number three with 230 yards in one less game. Right behind him is San Francisco quarterback Colin Kapernick has put up a jaw-dropping 202 yards rushing in his first NFL postseason. 183 of those yards came in one game against the Green Bay Packers.
Historically, both teams boast impressive records. San Fransisco is undefeated in five trips to the Super Bowl, and Baltimore has won one Super Bowl, and holds the best post season record of any team in history at .650. Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco also has the most wins away from home of any quarterback in history at six.
San Francisco’s last Super Bowl victory was in 1988. Baltimore’s was in 2000. Because the 49ers history is much older than the Ravens’, I don’t see that playing any part in predicting this game. While they still have the mystique of being the 49ers, they are only three years removed from being one of the most underachieving teams in football. At the same time, the Ravens have been in the thick of the hunt for the better part of the past fourteen seasons.
In the previous round, both teams beat pass-first teams to get to the game, so it’s hard to tell how either will react to each other’s run-first attacks. But, it might be fair to say that the game will go to which ever team manages to pull off the first big pass plays, and if it comes down to that, my money is on Joe Flacco.
Being that both teams dodged bullets to get to the super bowl. The Ravens had a miraculous comeback against the Broncos, and the 49ers mounted an impressive come back against the Falcons. That should indicate that this game will be competitive until the end, even if one team gets off to a quick start.
On the line, the edge should go to San Francisco’s defense vs. Baltimore’s offense. Running the ball will be a challenge. So, I expect Baltimore to pass early to set up the run. Don’t be surprised if they take a shot at the endzone on first or second down of their first drive if they are not trailing.
San Francisco, on the other hand, has to hope that their read option offense has enough spark to confuse a veteran Ravens defense led by Ray Lewis who may have lost a step in terms of speed, but still reads an offense as well as anybody in history. I expect the Ravens to minimize Kaepernick’s rushing attack forcing Frank Gore to provide the bulk of the ground yards. Meanwhile, Kaepernick will have to rely on his arm, the major factor that set him apart from his teammate Alex Smith. Expect Gore to have a big game, and expect Kaepernick to air it out.
In the end, I believe that the Ravens’ experience, will outmatch the youth of the 49ers. The Ravens have spent years deliberatley improving their offense. The plan was to balance out their great defense to have a shot to win a super bowl. Now that they have made it back to the dance, I expect them to show up with their laces tied tight, and ready to rumble.
Ravens: 24 49ers: 17
Tags: afc, Alex Smith, Anquan Boldin, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Colin Kaepernick, David Akers, Dennis Pitta, featured, football, Frank Gore, Joe Flacco, Justin Tucker, Michael Crabtree, NFC, nfl, Popular, Previews, Randy Moss, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, San Francisco 49ers, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLVII, Torrey Smith, Vernon Davis
After a whirlwind of a weekend in the NFL, the dust has finally settled. And while teams are developing game plans for this week’s opponent, I’d like to shed some light on a quiet, yet growing line of thought regarding, not only the Seattle Seahawks, but the entire NFC West.
Entering into the 2012 NFL season, it was widely believed that the class of the NFC as a whole, and most certainly for the NFC West, was the San Francisco 49ers. And with a 13-3 record in 2011, who’s to argue that? Returning all 11 of its defensive starters, while adding depth on the offensive line, as well as speed to its receiving corps, one would be remised to not entertain the thought that the 49ers were a shoe-in for a return to the NFC’s elite, and a deep playoff run. And while that’s all very well and good, entering Week 4 of the 2012 season has most experts scratching their head as to the resurgence of this once afterthought of a division.
Week 1 started off with a rare inter-division matchup, as the ‘Hawks travelled down to Glendale and lost out in a defensive battle, 20-16. Many looked at this as a disappointing effort on the Seahawks part- as most gave Arizona, and its Quarterback carousel, little respect. However, sitting at 3-0, and in most publications Top 10, this team is the epitome of what has become a defensively dominant, offensively efficient division. Many look to the Baltimore Ravens of old as a blueprint for this style of football, and since they won a Super Bowl utilizing it, why not? Kevin Kolb seems to be on the road to redemption, while the Arizona run game sorts itself out, the defense has kept this team undefeated, even beating New England AT HOME. A statement win that helped spark the conversation regarding the new NFC West. The NFC “Worst”, no longer my friends.
The Seattle Seahawks are 4th in Total Defense (yards per game), Arizona is 10th, the 49ers 11th, and even St. Louis is 19th. The Seahawks also lead the NFL in Scoring Defense, at 13 Points Per Game. The Cardinals are 2nd at 13.3, and the 49ers 11th at 21.7. 3 out of the 4 teams in this division boast top 15 defenses. The Rams, while sitting at 1-2 have been in all of their games, playing right alongside the Lions at home, beating the Redskins, and losing to a tough Chicago team at home. One play goes their way at the end of that Lions game, and you’ve got a one 3-0, and three 2-1 teams. I don’t know about you, but that’s something to be proud of. Talk about transforming an image that just a few years ago was reliant on West Coast Offenses, and “Greatest Shows on Turf”. Most called this division “soft”. And while these philosophies took the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Rams to Super Bowls, the general feeling I gather from the collective NFL is that this new physically dominant, brute force identity is definitely more roundly respected, if not borderline feared.
The NFL Power Pendulum is a-swingin’ 12th Man. The NFL is no longer shouting from their posts that we’re part of the NFC Worst. Rather, they’re whispering the idea that this could be the NFC BEST. It’s still early in the season, but if the returns are any indication, they might be right.
The NFL season is upon us! Over the next couple days, my fellow writers and I here at 12th Man Rising will be previewing the Seahawks team and season to help everyone get ready for football games that actually count. I thought I’d start us off with something completely trivial, but ultimately pretty fun.
I simulated the 2012 season 20 times using EA’s Madden 13 in order to get an idea for how that game things this season is going to turn out. Normally I would simulate the entire season at least 100 times for this, but the new version of Madden only allows simulating one week at a time, so I had to stop at 20 seasons purely for my own sanity’s sake. Anyways, here’s how things worked out in the NFC West:
Rams: 3.8 wins
Cardinals: 4.3 wins
49ers: 8.9 wins
Seahawks: 9.4 wins
Obviously, things didn’t look good for the Rams or Cardinals. Neither team made the playoffs even once out of the 20 times I simmed the season. The Rams ended up with the #1 overall pick 4 times, and the Cardinal once. The two teams were in the top 5 of the draft a combined 16 times. Clearly, Madden doesn’t think either team is any good.
On the other end of the spectrum are the Seahawks and 49ers. Both teams averaged more wins than losses. While the Seahawks were more consistently good, the 49ers had the best single season. Then again, they also has more loosing seasons, for whatever that’s worth.
The 49ers won the division 8 times, and also claimed 5 wild card spots. Of the 7 times that they didn’t make the playoffs, they averaged just 6.1 wins, with a low of 5 wins. Their best season was one in which they won 13 games, and then lost in the superbowl to the Patriots.
The Seahawks won the division 12 times, and claimed a wild card spot and additional 5 times. So that’s 17 of 20 seasons in which the Seahawks made the playoffs. Their worst season was one in which they won just 6 games, but that was the only season in which they were below .500. In their best season, the Seahawks won 12 games, and lost in the NFC Championship game to the Lions.
Now, if you’d played this year’s version of Madden, you know that the Seahawks were given no love by the people who rate the players skill levels. In the game, the Seahawks are a bit below average when it comes to talent, so the fact that the Seahawks were consistently good when simulating seasons came as a bit of a surprise.
Now, I want to make sure that everyone realizes that results above are completely meaningless. The Madden franchise, while fun, has never been very accurate about predicting anything.
It’s time to take a brief break from the Marshawn Lynch hysteria to preview our final team of NFC West, other than our Seahawks. The 49ers are coming off a very surprising season, as they went from mediocrity it 2010 to the NFL championship game in 2011. Now the question is if they can build on that success and take the next step.
Helping out this time is Eric Melendez from Niner Noise.
Biggest Team Need Heading Into Offseason: Starting right guard
Key Free Agents Retained: QB Alex Smith
Key Player Additions: WR Mario Manningham
Key Players Leaving: Right guard Adam Snyder
Quick Thoughts on Draft: Going after WR A.J. Jenkins with the first round pick was a huge surprise as the team has no options at starting guard who have any previous experience as a starter.
Quick Thoughts on 2012 schedule: The 49ers’ secondary will tested often this season. The 49ers will go up against the Packers, Lions, Saints, Giants and Patriots in 2012. All five teams finished in the top-five of passing offense last season.
Most Interesting Roster Battle: Running back. With Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Brandon Jacobs, LaMichael James and Anthony Dixon the 49ers have a crowded backfield. It will be interesting to see who makes the team and who doesn’t, and where they fall on the depth chart.
Biggest Strength Heading Into 2012: Defense. The 49ers were completely dominant in all games last season on defense and will only get better in 2012.
Biggest Weakness Heading Into 2012: Right guard. If the 49ers want to continue their great rushing attack from last season and to improve their passing offense, they need a solid starter at right guard. Right now, there are not many options to be excited about.
Biggest Question Still To Be Answered: When will safety Dashon Goldson sign his contract? Goldson is the 49ers franchise tagged player and so far is holding out for more money than what the 49ers offered him in a multiple year contract.
2012 Prediction: 12-4, NFC West division champions.
I’m not sure where to start on my take on the 49ers. They’re a good team, but they were probably the least impressive 13-3 team I’ve ever seen. They’re bringing back all their talent from last season, but they didn’t make any upgrades and there are a number of warning signs that point to them not being able to match their 2011 success. Throw in that the 49ers were the league’s least-injured team in 2011, and that they’ll like see the other side of that coin in 2012, and they really are a tough team to preview.
Lets start with the positives. Their front 7 is scary. Justin Smith probably should have won the defensive rookie of the year award. He had an amazingly dominant year. That is especially true when you realize that move of Aldon Smith’s 14 sacks came on plays where he ran a stunt with Justin Smith, so essentially Justin Smith took out the blockers so Aldon Smith could come in clean. Justin Smith deserved an assist on almost all of those sacks. oh, and the rest of the front 7 is pretty damn good too.
On offense, the running game looks a lot like Seattle’s. Very solid blocking and a premier running back, and great depth behind him too. Combine a solid running game and a solid front 7 on defense, and you’re likely going to win the time of possession stat in almost every game.
Now for the bad. The secondary is very overrated. None of their 4 starters would start in Seattle. They also just paid a lot of money to keep a very average Rogers at CB, which is never a good idea. (Its the equivalent of the Seahawks giving Marcus Trufant a large contract this offseason. Surprisingly similar players when watching the game film.)
On offense, their WR corps is poor at best. They’re entire passing offense predicated on the fact that Randy Moss will suddenly become productive again, after 2 seasons of looking old. Crabtree is rapidly approaching getting hit with the bust label, and first round draft pick AJ Jenkins has looked so bad in practices so far that team doesn’t expect him to get on the field at all until late in the season.
And finally we come to Alex Smith. Harbaugh managed Smith in the best way possible last season. That is, they essentially removed him from the game plan. That’s the right idea what your QB was one of the worst players at his position in the league for the previous 6 seasons. I just don’t see how they can keep on a lid on this barrel of crap for another 16 games without it exploding all over the field. Especially not after the ego laced drivel that’s come out his mouth this offseason. Expect Smith to lose at least 2 winnable games for the 49ers this season.
One more thing (so I guess my comments on Smith shouldn’t have been preceded by “finally”) Much of the 49ers success was because of their record +28 turnover differential. As I’ve shown statistically on this site before, turnovers are a cruel mistress. Over the past 2 decades, teams that are the best at creating turnovers in any given season, are almost always below average at doing so the next season, even with the same players. The 49ers likely wont be able to depend on turnovers to make up for their other shortcomings again in 2012.
I still expect the 49ers to be good, and most likely win the division, but 10 to 11 wins seems like the max for the talent on their roster.
The Seattle Seahawks are still looking for a new QB, and an interesting option may have just opened up. I must admit that I didn’t see this coming, and need to give credit to the Seahawks blog visit site to read more]