08 Dec Fire Them All?
C’mon, I’m not Grant Cohn, but we can still provide some constructive criticism & feedback about the 49ers/Seahawks game.
We knew from my preview article that it was likely to come down to the final play & it did. We knew that Russell Wilson could shake off the rust at any time & he did. We knew that it would be tough to win without Deebo Samuel & Fred Warner, and it certainly was. The matchup was even tougher for the 49ers, as they were facing a Seahawks defense that knows how to defend Jimmy Garoppolo. We knew that George Kittle would have to step up & he did, big time, with 181 receiving yards & two TDs! We knew that Brandon Aiyuk would have to as well, but he didn’t, as he finished the night with two big drops.
What we didn’t know was that Trenton Cannon would be carted off of the field in an ambulance, after the very first play of the game. We should’ve known right then, that this injury would really set a negative tone for the rest of the game for the 49ers. We also didn’t know that Emmanuel Moseley would injure his ankle shortly after that & sit out the remainder of the game. This was arguably the key to the game, as rookie Deommodore Lenoir gave up two TDs & veteran Josh Norman gave up another one himself. Other keys to the game were: missing Deebo Samuel & Fred Warner, Special teams blunders, blunders by Jimmy Garoppolo & the crooked referees. If any one of these five things didn’t happen, then 49ers likely would’ve soared higher than the Seahawks. Unfortunately for the 49ers. all of these things did happen. Let’s break it all down!
The 49ers started off the game on defense and came out hot, forcing the Seahawks into a 3 & out! The energy was immediately on their side, but that didn’t last long at all as Pete Carroll faked the punt, which went for a 73-yard TD. 49ers special teams unit also lost a fumble on a kickoff return by Travis Benjamin to start the second half. This was very ironic, since Benjamin was replacing Trenton Cannon, who lost a fumble in week four when the 49ers hosted the Seahawks in Santa Clara.
The 49ers’ defense played well for the most part, forcing the Seahawks to commit three key turnovers. Azeez Al-Shaair once again had an outstanding performance, and was all over the field all game long. He has really come into his own since replacing injured LB Dre Greenlaw. One notable exception on defense was rookie CB Deommodore Lenoir, who gave up a big catch to DK Metcalf & a committed DPI that gave the Seahawks 1st & goal from the 1 yard line, which led to a TD run by veteran RB Adrian Peterson. Lenoir also gave up a TD catch later in the day. It’s safe to say the rookie was thrown to the wolves in his first extended playing time in a few weeks.
Jimmy Garoppolo threw two bad interceptions, lots of high balls & got sacked for a safety. Veteran OL Tom Compton was flat out bad in pass-protection. He got beaten, almost immediately, on the safety & also on the final play of the game. Garoppolo’s potentially game-tying pass was batted down at the line, as Compton got pushed straight into Garoppolo’s lap. The 49ers had some bad penalties, that were rightly called. Arden Key and Charles Omenihu were both flagged for roughing the passer on the same drive that ended up ending in a touchdown for the Seahawks. Dontae Johnson was also penalized for a helmet-to-helmet hit on a defenseless receiver on what would’ve been a third-down stop. The 49ers also got some penalties that they didn’t deserve in my opinion. Arden Key’s “roughing” was ticky-tack. Russell Wilson deserved an Oscar for his acting job for the referees. Laken Tomlinson’s “hold” was utter BS, as the DT was flat-footed & just threw up his hands for another Oscar performance. The referees completely took the bait and threw the flags without question.
On the other hand, penalties that should have been called on the Seahawks, weren’t. DK Metcalf stomped on Jaquiski Tartt’s ankle, after his big catch against Lenoir. As usual, Nick Bosa was held on nearly every play. Charles Omenihu was blatantly held on the TD pass that Lenoir gave up. Elijah Mitchell now has a concussion due to defenseless hit to the head that wasn’t called. Most importantly, on 3rd & goal on the last drive of the game, Trent Sherfield was blatantly held and/or interfered with. There were simply too many bad calls & non-calls to be a mere coincidence. Color me shocked that the 49ers just happened to be flagged for more penalties on Sunday in Seattle than any other game this season. While it’s possible they were just playing sloppy football, we all saw otherwise with our own eyes.
There has been talk of firing the 49ers’ special teams coach Richard Hightower. However, I don’t blame him for the Trenton Cannon or the Travis Benjamin fumbles. Mitch Wishnowsky missing a tackle could easily be due to lack of sleep from having a new baby in the house for about a month. The fake punt that went for 73 yards for a TD was completely awful, but other than that, the 49ers’ special teams have been much better than 2020 and years prior, so I’m against firing him.
With all that said and done, Lumen Field remains a house of horrors for the 49ers, with only two wins there since Russell Wilson arrived in Seattle.
The bad news is that the 49ers lost the game 30-23. The good news is that they are still the 7th seed in the NFC, thanks to losses by both the Minnesota Vikings & Atlanta Falcons.
I was hoping to see more of Trey Lance. After Garoppolo’s performance on Sunday, it’s hard to argue that the rookie QB wouldn’t have been better than he was.
Moseley has a dreaded high-ankle sprain, so that usually means 4-6 weeks. Josh Norman, Dontae Johnson, & rookies Ambry Thomas & Deommodore Lenoir will all have to step up their games in his absence for the 49ers to make the playoffs
Two articles ago, I asked if the injuries from Vikings win might pillage the 49ers’ season. Well, the 49ers are 0-1 so far since then. They have three tough games remaining in their schedule – at Bengals, at Titans & at Rams. They also host the Falcons & Texans, which won’t be easy either (well, the Texans matchup might be). Realistically, the 49ers will likely need to win four out of their five remaining games. Three out of five wins might do it, but that’s pretty risky. The only way they are 100% able to make the playoffs, as of now, is if they win out – going 5/5. That’s the beauty of football, sometimes it all comes down to whether or not you have it in you, and only time will tell if the 2021 San Francisco 49ers do.
Be sure to keep an eye out for my 49ers vs Bengals preview soon!