ReFo: 49ers @ Seahawks, Week 15

Steve Palazzolo shows off some of the standouts -- including Bobby Wagner and Joe Staley -- from this tough NFC West matchup.

| 3 years ago

ReFo: 49ers @ Seahawks, Week 15

2014-REFO-WK15-SF@SEAThe NFC West matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks may have lost some of its luster due to an uneven season by the 49ers, but was still a hard-fought battle that we’re accustomed to seeing. Both defenses played tough up front, but it was the Seahawks who managed to make a few more plays in the end to salvage the victory.

With the win, Seattle moves to 10-4 as they head for a showdown with the first-place Arizona Cardinals with a division crown, and likely homefield advantage, on the line next week. On the other side, the 49ers are now eliminated from playoff contention as they were simply unable to overcome injuries on the field and perhaps some unrest off the field among the coaching staff and front office. Here’s a look at the key performances from this NFC West showdown.

San Francisco 49ers – Performances of Note

Antoine Bethea, FS: -4.1

Breakdown: One of the best free agent acquisitions in the league this season, Bethea put together his worst game of the year. He finished with four missed tackles and gave up a 35-yard completion on his only target. He was used around the line of scrimmage a bit more than usual (31 of 68 snaps came at strong safety), but when he wasn’t missing tackles, he was often sealed out of plays by Seahawks tight ends and wide receivers at the second level.

Signature Plays: The missed tackles stood out, whether it was meeting running back Marshawn Lynch in the hole and getting run over at the 11:08 mark of the first quarter or a near-identical meeting with Robert Turbin with 3:05 to go in the third quarter that ended with the same result.

Joe Staley, LT: +4.3


Breakdown: As usual, quiet is good for offensive lineman when it comes to pass protection and Staley’s only mishap was losing to OLB Bruce Irvin at the 2:29 mark of the second quarter on an otherwise quiet afternoon for him. Staley’s +0.8 pass blocking grade was complemented by an impressive +3.3 grade in the running game.

Signature Plays: Staley had a key block on RB Frank Gore’s 10-yard touchdown in the second quarter as he sealed DE Tony McDaniel on the edge. On back-to-back plays in the third quarter, Staley did a nice job of sealing SS Kam Chancellor at the second level before coming back to wash DT Jordan Hill down the line on the next play.

Justin Smith, DE: -1.4

Breakdown: A rare negative grade for Smith included his first three missed tackles of the season, though he was quite disruptive on a couple of the misses. He did a nice job getting inside LT Russell Okung at the 12:34 mark of the second quarter, but was unable to complete the play on Lynch. It was a similar story at the 6:32 mark of the third quarter as Smith got outside LG James Carpenter and once again failed to slow Lynch down while the next play was a good one by Smith as he got into the backfield to contact RB Christine Michael but again, was just unable to finish.

Signature Plays: As mentioned, the some of the missed tackles were still disruptive plays and they didn’t crush Smith’s grade, but he was also sealed out of the action a bit more than usual. On back-to-back plays early in the first, Okung controlled him down the line of scrimmage while Carpenter got a nice seal after taking over a double team on the very next play.

Seattle Seahawks – Performances of Note

Bobby Wagner, MLB: +3.8

Breakdown: As Seattle’s defense continues to round back into form, Wagner has done his part by grading at +7.8 since returning to the lineup in Week 12. He was all over the field Sunday, finishing with a team-high seven stops, including a sack. He graded at +2.6 in the running game to go with a +1.0 grade in coverage.

Signature Plays: Q3: 8:47: On the sack, Wagner got some help from fellow linebacker K.J. Wright who knocked center Joe Looney right into RB Bruce Miller, but Wagner did a nice job finishing the play and ensuring that Miller didn’t have a chance.

Marshawn Lynch, RB: +1.7

Breakdown: Another classic outing from Lynch who broke 11 tackles and picked up 58 of his 91 yards after contact. It’s not always flashy, but his ability to pick up positive yards, even with subpar blocking, is crucial to Seattle’s success and keeping the offense on schedule. His run at the 11:08 mark of the first quarter was a great example as on 3rd-and-2, he ran through two would-be tacklers to turn what should have been a three-and-out into a first down and another life for Seattle’s offense.

Signature Stat: Lynch’s Elusive Rating of 138.1 topped all running backs in Week 15 and his 84.5 mark leads all running backs for the season.

Lemuel Jeanpierrre, C: -3.6

Breakdown: Seattle continues to miss starting center Max Unger as Jeanpierre posted his third straight negative game in his place. Seattle has managed to win despite Unger’s injury, but his ability to control the point of attack has been missed. Jeanpierre only gave up one hurry in the passing game, but he struggled with 49ers nose tackles on his way to a -4.0 grade in the run game.

Signature Plays: On the 3rd-and-2 that saw Lynch convert, Jeanpierre was tossed aside by NT Quinton Dial who missed the tackle on Lynch. It was a similar effort at the 3:46 mark of the third quarter as Dial bullrushed Jeanpierre into Lynch, but this time, Lynch went down for the 1-yard gain.

PFF Game Ball

Bobby Wagner was the catalyst to a strong defensive effort by the Seahawks, and he gets this week’s game ball.


Follow Steve on Twitter: @PFF_Steve

| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • 24 is the magic number

    Wilson sinking to a new low isn’t even noticiable now. People are starting to realize he’s just one step ahead of Geno, Bortles and Carr.

    • Chris

      The league’s best defense and a top 5 running game can make anybody look competent. We’ll see how good he really is in a few years when some of these pieces go by the wayside. Right now all he needs to do is keep managing games.

      • Bob

        Nah. They’ll keep paying the refs and cheathawking their way to victory.

        • eYeDEF

          Wouldn’t have made a difference, without that call niners would have lost 13-7 instead of 17-7.

          • PetEng

            Yes, because all other plays would have occurred exactly the same.

          • Ben Peterson

            No reason to believe that they wouldn’t have.

          • PetEng

            Other than logic?

          • eYeDEF

            Based on the fact that their offensive output in the 2nd half was nil and they couldn’t move the ball no matter what they tried, logic dictates an epic fail to score regardless.

          • PetEng

            Umm, they had a 55 yard drive immediately after the penalty drive. Did you neglect to see that?

          • eYeDEF

            That they couldn’t extend in spite of using four downs to try and do so. Yeah I remember it well.

          • Kazinski

            They took 8 minutes to drive 55 yards in the 4th quarter, with time starting to become critical. They turned the ball over on downs on their 2nd 4th down play of the drive.

            Yeah, give the 49ers credit for sustaining an 11 play drive, but that is the Seahawk defense’s strength: keeping the play in front of them, making all the tackles and forcing the opponent into multiple 3rd and 4th downs that eventually are going to fail before they can get into scoring territory.

          • eYeDEF

            No doubt. Sf couldn’t generate any offense in the second half, getting stuffed at two fourth and ones. It was pathetic.

          • PetEng

            You believe in momentum as well?

          • eYeDEF

            Sure but I don’t see kicking a field goal there instead of scoring a touchdown causing any real swing in momentum.

      • gomer_rs

        Pretty sure either Pro-Football Focus or Outsiders ranked the Seahawks o-line as 30th out 32 teams last year.

        I’d like to see how many QBs can win a Super Bowl with a below average offensive line, let alone an offensive line that was graded out as worse than the NY Jets, TB Bucks, Ten, etc.

        • Chris

          A mobile QB can compensate for a poor OL. Their offense is built to move the QB and help alleviate some of that pressure. Wilson is one of the best at handling pressure by moving the pocket.

          • gomer_rs

            Something that RGIII, Eli Manning, Cam Newton, Drew Brees, Nick Foles, Colin Kaepernick, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, either are not doing or have not been able to do in the past.

            Also on a team w/o a true #1 WR, and Wilson is definitely part of the running game and must be accounted for on every running play.

          • Chris

            Yea uh Eli, Brees, Foles, Romo, and Cutler do not fall into the same category as Wilson. The only comparable ones are RG3, $Cam, and Kaep, all of whom are obviously not as cerebral as Wilson.

            I honestly don’t know where you were going with that. I said he’s one of the best at it and that’s a huge reason why they are able to get by with a below average OL. And you come back with a list of guys he’s better at it than? Okay? I just said he’s one of the best at it.

          • gomer_rs

            Must have missed the complement.

          • Scott@Seattle

            So compensating for a poor OL doesn’t add value? The fact is that this offense doesn’t work without Russell Wilson.

      • nogoodnamesleft90210

        Wilson is a large reason their running game is as efficient as it is, especially this year. Seahawks o-line was good 3 years ago, but past couple years injuries and guys not living up to expectations have really hurt them. Tom Cable is a terrible talent evaluator.

    • Billy Pelton

      While you two are sitting in your dirty underwear wishing you could be in the NFL, Wilson is shining his Superbowl ring.

      • Scott@Seattle

        I went to the UW, so i sit polishing my purple helmet.

    • eYeDEF

      Yet PFF graded him at a +2.0 for this game. Looks like he’s not ‘sinking’ as fast as you would like.

      • Scott@Seattle

        He had a better game last week when they graded him -3.5. I can never figure out their wonky grading.

        • Jonny

          He made a lot of really good throws this weekend (that deep ball!) and had a couple of drops. There were two bad ones in there, but did he really miss that many throws? PFF does a great job looking beyond the stats.

          • Scott@Seattle

            I thought he threw about the same as last week but made less plays with his legs. He wasn’t reading the rush very well and ran into a couple of sacks that he usually avoids. Threw his first pick in 4 weeks, although that wasnt a horrible play. He’d have had a TD if he didn’t overthrow it.

          • Jonny

            Last week’s throw to Malcolm Jenkins was just as bad as this week’s interception, if not worse. Again where the stats can often lie

          • Scott@Seattle

            Yeah i agree with that. On the other hand every QB has those, if we wanted to count we could give Jay Cutler 40 picks.

          • Jonny

            But PFF actually counts those things and they reflect in the grades. They go beyond just saying “every QB does it.” That’s why I think the grades are really good, especially for quarterbacks. They say they add context to the stats and if you really pay attention, I think they’re right on.

          • Scott@Seattle

            I haven’t noticed them being right on. Did you think Antoine Winfield was the best corner in football in 2012 considering he got cut the next year?

          • Jonny

            That grade was mostly run defense. They graded him as a good slot cornerback with very good run stopping ability. PFF even talks on twitter about using the context of the grades, not just looking at the overall.Seems right on to me.
            But we also know that football players age quickly and who knows what type of shape he was in during training camp in 2013. A lot of factors there.

        • Izach

          That’s the PFF reputation. Great stats and converging stats to become meaningful but grades never match up

          • Jonny

            Focusing on the actual credit or blame on a given play will often lead to grades and stats not matching up. But go look at the overall grades for the season. The best players rise to the top. Think they do a great job of analyzing true on field performance.

          • Izach

            Not very true in that regard they place blame on what they think happens, it’s been well documented that the way they grade and attribute scores some things is off from the pros thus affecting grades, also by treating all phases equal despite not all phases of a players game being equal harshly affect grades either positively or negatively if something happens out of that players average skills set or normal usage

        • eYeDEF

          His grade last week was adjusted upwards to -3.0 after the All-22 came out.

    • Izach

      I honestly Think your confusing Russell Wilson for colin kapernick, RW is the perfect QB for this seahawks team and hopefully more team realize you don’t need an “ELITE” QB as long as you have a franchise game manager

  • Football

    Pete Carroll is really good at paying the refs. They’re Seattle’s real “12th man”

    • RA

      Is that why they are the most penalized team in the nfl with the the highest differential vs opposing teams penalties? Sounds super legit

  • bert1913

    Santa Clara left it’s heart in san fransico

  • Scott@Seattle

    Bobby Wagner is a BEAST. Since returning from injury he’s the best middle linebacker in football.

  • Scott@Seattle

    This sums up how the Seahawks are playing right now.

  • Scott@Seattle

    Seahawks extend KJ Wright another 4 years.