By Dave Thomas
As it turns out, there is still life in those Seattle Seahawks.
Needing a win in the worst way, Seattle (5-5) used old NFC West rival San Francisco to climb back to the .500 mark, rolling to a 29-13 win in the Pacific Northwest Sunday afternoon. While Arizona still controls the division, Seattle let it be known that the NFC West is not signed, sealed and delivered to the Cardinals quite yet.
Coming into the game, Seattle was looking to rebound from last Sunday’s 39-32 setback at home to the aforementioned Cardinals. With the win, Seattle will look to close out its three-game homestand next Sunday when the Pittsburgh Steelers pay a visit.
So, what got the Seahawks back on track on this Sunday afternoon?
While it is not big surprise that San Francisco’s defense is not exactly running away with the title of best ‘D’ in the league, Seattle still had to work for a fair amount of its yardage. The big story on this afternoon was rookie running back Thomas Rawls. All Rawls did was rumble for 209 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries (also had three receptions and one TD through the air). With starting running back Marshawn Lynch still ailing with an abdominal injury, Rawls picked up the slack and then some. Meantime, QB Russell Wilson had one of his best days of the season, finishing 24-of-29 for 260 yards and three TD’s. On the receiving end, Tyler Lockett only accounted for 48 yards on four catches, but two of those receptions resulted in touchdowns. Doug Baldwin led the way with six catches for 60 yards. The Seahawks tallied 28 first downs, along with amassing 508 yards of total offense.
With Colin Kaepernick done for the season (on injured reserve), Seattle’s Legion of Boom went up against backup Blaine Gabbert (22-of-34, 264 yards, one TD). While Gabbert had a decent day, Seattle locked down San Francisco’s running game, holding the Niners to a mere 59 yards on the ground. Leading the way for the ‘Hawks was Bobby Wagner (eight total tackles), Cliff Avril (two sacks) and K.J. Wright (six total stops). With San Francisco in the rear-view mirror, the defense will likely get tougher tests the next weekends in Pittsburgh and Minnesota, respectively.
Special Teams: (B-)
Nothing spectacular on this afternoon from the special teams, but they did enough to get the job done. Steven Hauschka went two-of-three on extra points, while adding a 33-yard field goal. Meantime, punter Jon Ryan only punted four times on the day, though three of them went inside the 20 yard line.
After some questionable decisions in other games this season, Pete Carroll and Co. seemed to be hitting on most cylinders on this day, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Granted, this current edition of the Niners is a far cry from the glory days in the Bay Area, but Seattle has been rather dominant in both wins (beat San Francisco 20-3 earlier this season). The goal now is to transfer that dominance into Seattle’s two remaining NFC West games (home to St. Louis, at Arizona to end the regular season).
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.