Week 13 – Seattle @ San Francisco: Ain’t no gunslinger today

I have long penciled in this game (and the one in two weeks time) as the one to watch based on the rivalry of recent years. You sense it will determine the playoff picture for the NFC. As a Niners fan, I’m still upset about last year’s playoff loss and expect it to be the primary motivation for the team.

I’m hoping now that with injuries largely resolved and suspensions sorted, San Francisco is peaking. The main concern is Colin Kaepernick and whether his game is up to scratch. Jim Harbaugh’s deliberate use of the running game over the last month or so, while effective, may have led to wins that weren’t really deserved.

The Seahawks on the other hand have demonstrated glimpses of brilliance but the all too familiar pattern of reigning world champions, struggling to repeat their on field dominance, despite the continuing good form of the “Legion of Boom.” Last week’s comprehensive win over division leaders Arizona was, however, highlighted by numerous field goals, so maybe they’re not quite there yet.

Anyway, from my perspective, all indicators are there that today’s Thanksgiving Special will be season defining, guaranteeing the winner a wild card berth (at least). And after what happened in the MLB this year, that could mean ultimate success for two experienced teams.

It’s fair to say the start of the game is bland. Really bland and dominated by brilliant defensive plays against the run from both teams. For memory there were four consecutive punts before Kaepernick makes his first mistake and it ends up being the turning point of the game, when ex-Stanford player Richard Sherman reads Kaepernick like a wide receiver and intercepts late in the first quarter.

Russell Wilson then does what Russell Wilson does and takes the ball to the endzone via Robert Turbin. Kaepernick’s struggles continue with the next drive which goes nowhere and you wonder if it’s game over.

Seattle now has the ball and starts an impressive drive deep in their own territory. Within a couple of plays, tight end Tony Moeaki receives a third and long pass in midfield and takes it all the way up to the 1/2 yard line. From there the Hawks can only manage a field goal making it a 10 point game a little before the half.

I say to myself, “C’mon Kaepernick, this is your time” to get over your form slump and take the ball downtown but its a bad throw to Stevie Johnson and Andy Lee is punting yet again.

The 49ers defensive line is out again and generally doing well, but it is clear the blitz isn’t going to work on Wilson. I’ve decided he is slippier than a cracked egg and oyster that have combined to combined to create some almost frictionless substance. I don’t know how but that “slippery little rascal” manages to beat numerous defensive geniuses and under duress, find receivers down field.

Kaep, I hope you are paying attention. Incredibly Seattle can’t get in the red zone and it’s a field goal, and visions of the Arizona game resurface.

The 49ers get the ball again and it is the worst drive to date and Kaepernick’s frustration is palpable and now he loses the home crowd who start booing him. Not a good sign.

Seattle has the ball and it looks like it will end harmlessly enough. For a moment I get excited as their punter fumbles the ball but somehow he manages to kick it long; somehow he gets it away deep before Perrish Cox returns it, only for Ricardo Lockette to dislodge the ball from his grip. From nowhere Seattle has the ball in good field position, just shy of the two-minute warning.

Proving my point that Wilson is slippery, he is running alone with the ball and loses it at midfield as if it had the viscosity of water. It’s all good for Seattle who recover the ball but thankfully the drive goes nowhere.

At the half Kaepernick is 7-16 for about 50 yards. Not good enough. Alex Smith – where are you? We need a Harbaugh spray of unparalleled scale if there’s any chance of winning.

It doesn’t happen and it’s more of the same. Apparently Kaepernick was told “don’t be a gunslinger” and all will apparently be okay. There ain’t no gunslinger today and a little later he is intercepted again by that introverted figure of Richard Sherman (can someone please give him a confidence shot?).

What was seen today was an unconvincing quarterback, low on confidence (36.7 QB Rating says it all), throwing for just over 100 yards. As it turns out, this was just about the total yardage from Seattle penalties. Not good.

With a couple of extra days to regroup for Oakland before playing Seattle at Seattle the week after, it is crunch time for the organisation, whereas the Hawks now seem irresistible.

Nov 27
Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA (70,799)

Seattle 7 6 3 3 – 19
San Francisco 0 0 3 0 – 3

Passing: Russell Wilson (SEA), 236 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Marshawn Lynch (SEA), 20 car, 104 yds
Receiving: Tony Moeaki (SEA), 1 rec, 63 yds
Pigskin Almanac “Reads Kaepernick’s throws better than his receivers” award: Richard Sherman (SEA)

About Tony Reed

A 49ers fan from the the Joe Montana days, now enjoys wearing his Kaepernick top when watching games

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