Boy, were they sadly mistaken.
In front of a national audience and representatives from Guinness World Records, the Seahawks established themselves as the most complete team in the NFL. They put up 29 points to the Niners 3 on the back of Marshawn Lynch, but it wasn't the offense that won this game for them. Seattle's defense, lead by the the Legion of Boom, fed off of the record-breaking crowd noise to accomplish what no other team in the league can: contain Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick, who is now 0-2 in games started against the Seahawks, was once again flustered and inconsistent. The 49ers quarterback was responsible for 4 turnovers, 3 interceptions and a fumble, never seeming to find an open receiver.
The same guy that Ron Jaworski and Mike Greenberg were touting as the future greatest quarterback who ever lived looked a lot more like Mark Sanchez than he did Peyton Manning. When the game is put on Kaepernick's shoulders, he seems unable to win the game for his team.
The Seahawks offense again struggled to fire on all cylinders, but were able to lean on one specific facet of their offense when the others weren't effective. Last week, it was the run game that couldn't get going. This week, it was the pass game-- but that's what makes this team so special. They will find a way to beat you.
The team certainly did their part, but the game ball has to go to the 12th Man last night. Seattle's fans were able to set the record for the loudest crowd noise in spite of an hour-long delay due to lightning. Despite the obvious body language and the tightest huddles I've ever seen, the 49ers continue to deny the impact the crowd noise has on them every time they come here. But as Richard Sherman says, "We keep putting it on tape!"
Marshawn Lynch was in full Beastmode last night, amassing 135 all-purpose yards and scoring all three of Seattle's touchdowns. Russell Wilson was never able to get much going in the pass game and threw an interception when Golden Tate fell down on a deep route, but you have to be impressed with the maturity with which he carried himself all game long. Wilson took a beating last night as the 49ers implemented the very same 'hit-the-quarterback-if-he-becomes-a-runner' game plan Jim Harbaugh bitched about the Packers running. There were a couple plays that bordered on unsportsmanlike conduct, but Russell stayed cool and took it like a champ.
There was some bad news that came out of last nights game-- Russell Okung left the game early with an apparent ankle injury and did not return. Paul McQuistan filled in admirably, but losing your Pro Bowl left tackle is always a tremendous concern. Outside of that, there did not seem to be any significant injuries on the Seahawks side, which is a huge accomplishment given how physical these two teams always play-- especially against each other.
We can't talk about last nights game without giving all the credit in the world to Seattle's defense. 3 Points-- that's all they allowed one of the most dangerous offenses in the league to put up on them. Cliff Avril was spectacular in his Seahawks debut, racking up a sack, forced a fumble and never let Kaepernick get comfortable. The Seahawks other free agent acquisition, Michael Bennett, was every bit as dominant himself. No matter where they lined him up, inside or out, Bennett was wreaking havoc all over. The three active members of the Legion of Boom, Chancellor, Thomas and Sherman all had clutch interceptions last night. It's almost crazy to think that this team is only going to get better when Chris Clemons, Bruce Irvin and Brandon Browner get healthy and back on the field.
Relish this week, 12s. This was an incredible victory over a tough team and our path to the Super Bowl is starting to look a lot more realistic than even we had previously imagined.