By Dave Thomas
Back in the day, children who went missing oftentimes had their pictures/information printed on milk cartons, billboards and other means of helping track them down; don’t be surprised if you soon see members of the Seattle Seahawks showing up on the sides of milk cartons. After representing the NFC the last two seasons in the Super Bowl, fans of the Seahawks are likely wondering where their team disappeared to.
This past Sunday proved yet another disheartening moment for a team that came into the season with such high hopes. In a 27-23 loss to Carolina (Seattle knocked the Panthers out of the NFC playoffs a season ago), Seattle (2-4) did everything but win the game. Letting Carolina tight end Greg Olsen get wide open for the game-winning score late in the game was yet another black eye on a season that could spiral out of control if the Seahawks don’t get back on track starting this Thursday evening at San Francisco.
So, where do things go from here? Is the season a loss or are the Seahawks just playing possum with the rest of the NFC West Division?
Niners Had Mild Expectations Coming Into Season
While Seattle came into the 2015 season with very high hopes, the same can’t be said about the five-time Super Bowl champion 49ers. Just a couple of seasons removed from a narrow Super Bowl loss to Baltimore, the 49ers saw a massive turnover (including head coach Jim Harbaugh now at Michigan) from just a season ago. Throw-in the erratic play of multi-million dollar quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and one can see why this year’s edition of the red and gold has struggled for the most part.
Sitting at 2-4, San Francisco did prevent some more bleeding this past Sunday as it escaped at home with a 25-20 win over those very same Ravens. While all wins are big, this was especially needed for a team that had to get a victory to keep any of its slim playoff hopes alive.
So, with a pair of 2-4 squads taking to the field this Thursday in Santa Clara, what can the Seahawks expect from Kaepernick and Co?
This season, Kaepernick has thrown for 1,329 yards and six touchdowns, giving him a mild passer rating of 84.7. Kaepernicks’s top receivers to date have included veterans Anquan Boldin (333 yards receiving) and Torrey Smith (323 yards). With veteran Frank Gore having taken his game to Indianapolis in the off-season, former Ohio State product Carlos Hyde has taken over the bulk of the action in the backfield, tallying 430 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball, San Francisco is led by the likes of NaVorro Bowman (59 total tackles ties him for second place in the NFL), Aaron Lynch (three sacks), and Kenneth Acker and Tramaine Brock (two INT’s each). While the 49ers have some solid individual numbers on defense, they rank 31st overall in the league as a team (give up on average 409 yards per game), 26.7 ppg), something Russell Wilson and Co. can and will need to take advantage of come Thursday evening.
For the Seattle Seahawks, beating San Francisco on the road is not only something they would like to do, it is something they need to do to resurrect any hopes of making the NFC playoffs.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.