Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
It must have been a fantastic birthday for Pete Carroll. After all, the crowd, myself included, set the record for loudest stadium in the world. Ever. Not a bad thing to put on the ole’ mantle.
The Seahawks’ coach also received marked improvement in vital areas in contrast to last week. The team managed only one quarterback hit against Cam Newton in week one. This week that number jumped to five as the Seahawks applied pressure on Colin Kaepernick throughout the game.
In maybe the most important gift of game, Marshawn Lynch kick started the running game. After managing an uncharacteristic 43 yards on 17 carries against Carolina last week, Beast Mode broke out for 98 yards and three total touchdowns, including one where “He was kind of surprised nobody was there”. Often left by his lonesome in the passing game, Lynch picked up 37 yards through the air — the most receiving yards and catches he has accumulated in a regular season game since last September against the Rams. (Fun fact: Lynch also picked up 37 yards through the air on the same number of catches in the playoffs against Atlanta last year.)
The Seattle defense continued their gift giving by shutting down the 49ers’ key players on offense. Anquan Boldin was held to one catch and seven yards after his 13-catch, 208-yard thrashing of Green Bay’s secondary. Frank Gore was held to 16 yards on nine carries. Vernon Davis had three catches for a pedestrian 20 yards. Colin Kaepernick, though, may have been the biggest name to be bottled up. The Hawks held Squidward the 49ers QB to a paltry 127 yards passing and his lowest QBR rating and passer rating, by far, as a professional. (The second lowest in each category? Last year’s 42-13 implosion at the hands of the Seahawks.) Kaepernick did rush for 87 yards on nine carries, but most of that is attributed to the fact that the defense had his receivers blanketed and his running backs were continually hitting their heads against the wall that was the Seahawks D-line. (Ire drawer Anthony Dixon tried to agitate the crowd more times than he touched the ball.) Meaning he had no way to effectively move the ball except for his own two feet.
Kaepernick’s stat line against Green Bay: 27 of 39, 412 yards, 69.2 completion %, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, QBR 89.8, Passer Rating 129.4.
Kaepernick’s stat line against Seattle: 13 of 28, 127 yards, 46.4 completion %, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, QBR 14.0, Passer Rating 20.1.
Seattle also gifted Pete Carroll the turnover margin. The team forced five turnovers while only turning it over once themselves. Even better? The only turnover was an interception of a pass intended for Golden Tate. Tate fell down
towards the end of the route, leaving 49er DB Eric Reid by himself to easily catch the pass. So in all likelihood, if Tate doesn’t fall down, it probably isn’t picked off.
All in all, not a bad birthday for Coach Carroll. He got to beat his, and the team’s biggest rival, in a game of monumental importance in terms of the season. He also got to beat them with a pretty convincing effort that translated to a pretty convincing score line: 29-3.
Who knows, maybe the Seahawks do their birthday shopping early for next year and get him something shiny from New York.