The last time the Seahawks played the 49ers without Russell Wilson
Seaside Joe 1291: Can Seattle keep their momentum against San Francisco going without their former franchise QB?
Russell Wilson’s career record against the Los Angeles Rams: 8-12
Wilson has been 372-of-578 for 4,304 yards with 26 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, averaging 7.45 Y/A but getting sacked 77 times in 20 games. Wilson has also averaged 29 rushing yards per game against the Rams. I think no person deserves more blame for those sacks than Wilson, as he never figured out a way to mitigate the impact of Aaron Donald on his performances.
Russell Wilson’s career record against the Arizona Cardinals: 11-8-1
371-of-595, 4,428 yards, 32 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 7.8 Y/A, 64 sacks, with 28 rushing yards per game. The numbers don’t see dramatically better than his games against the Rams, but Wilson has fumbled 21 times(!!) in 20 games against Arizona, which is the same number of career fumbles as he has against the Rams and 49ers combined. Speaking of…
Russell Wilson’s career record against the San Francisco 49ers: 16-4
*regular season numbers only
Again, his number of completions and attempts is almost identical to the other NFC West teams: 369-of-570, 4,169 yards, 36 TD, 10 INT, 7.3 Y/A, 54 sacks, 23 rushing yards per game. Wilson has thrown more touchdowns against the 49ers than against any other team and the Seahawks have dominated the 49ers since the change at quarterback in 2012, but really his numbers are not that much different than the “pitiful” outcomes from the games against the Rams.
So why do things always end up better against San Francisco? The Seahawks have only lost two games to the Niners since 2014. It has a lot to do with defense.
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The Seahawks have allowed only 16.4 points per game against the 49ers since 2012. In the same period of time, 20.4 points per game to the Rams, 19.2 points per game to the Cardinals.
Based on what I’m seeing and expecting from the Trey Lance offense that lacks experience—and that extends to the entire interior of the offensive line, the running backs, the receivers, and George Kittle’s backups at tight end—Clint Hurtt’s defense does have a legitimate chance to keep Seattle’s offense in the game against the 49ers on Sunday, even without Wilson for the first time since 2011.
I am NOT surprised that the 49ers are favored by more than a touchdown. What I’m surprised by is the fact that the Seahawks haven’t lost to the 49ers by more than a touchdown since 2011.
I distinctly remember being hungover and in bed at my first L.A. apartment over a decade ago, watching the Seattle Seahawks play the San Francisco 49ers in the opening game of the 2011 season. Hopes were reasonably higher than they had been the year before because the Seahawks were less than a year removed from Beastquake and maybe Tarvaris Jackson would be an upgrade to what remained of Matt Hasselbeck.
Maybe that was true, but he wasn’t enough of an upgrade and reality hit me harder in the face than the booze I drank the night before.
Marshawn Lynch rushed for 33 yards on 13 carries, an undrafted rookie led the Seahawks with 83 receiving yards and a touchdown, but Jackson fumbled three times—losing two—and added an interception in Seattle’s 33-17 loss on the road to open the 2011 campaign.
The game was closer than the final score, as Doug Baldwin’s touchdown came with 3:56 remaining and cut the lead to two points. However, it also felt fitting that the game was almost immediately out of reach after Ted Ginn returned the kickoff for a touchdown, then returned a punt for a touchdown only a minute later.
The Seahawks hadn’t exactly played well, so losing by 16 points didn’t feel incomprehensible, even though the game was very close late in the fourth.
Or maybe I was just too hungover to recall my exact emotions from that morning.
That was the last time the Seahawks have lost by more than seven points to the San Francisco 49ers. Jimmy Carter was president, the top movie at the box office as Casablanca, and the world was only 100 years old.
A couple of months later, Seattle was 2-6 after scoring 13 points in a loss to the Cowboys. The Seahawks ranked 28th in scoring at the midway point of the season, only a hair away from ranking 30th. Then Pete Carroll started to find his footing, in large thanks to what was developing in Seattle’s secondary at that time.
From games 9-14, the Seahawks ranked FIFTH in scoring, winning five of six. Going into a Week 16 home game against the 49ers, Seattle had blown out the Eagles, Rams, and Bears in their previous three games. Jackson wasn’t great, losing two more fumbles, but he didn’t throw any interceptions and wasn’t setting back the team other than his inability to hold onto the football.
The Seahawks had rebounded from a 2-6 start to potentially finish with a winning record. Though Seattle would not have made the NFC playoffs with a 9-7 record, the New York Giants did WIN THE SUPER BOWL that year with a 9-7 record.
The Seahawks also beat the Giants that year, 36-25. (Scorigami at the time, since happened one more time.)
Everything was on the table then to beat San Francisco and get over .500 and the Niners were the second-toughest team in the NFC at the time.
Baldwin gave the Seahawks a 7-0 lead with a 13-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter, then Stephen Hauschka made it 10-3 with a second quarter field goal. The 49ers eventually led 16-10 in the fourth quarter after three David Akers field goals, but Lynch made it 17-16 with 6:41 remaining following a blocked punt against Andy Lee.
Cut to 10 years later and Lee is with the Cardinals when this happens:
But Michael Crabtree immediately gets the 49ers into field goal range, which ends in Akers giving San Francisco a 19-17 lead. Then at midfield, Jackson loses another fumble, crushing Seattle’s best chance to win the game. The Seahawks got one more desperation opportunity and the game ends on two Jackson incompletions.
49ers 19, Seahawks 17—and that’s the last time Seattle faced the 49ers without Russell Wilson.
The Seahawks then fell an OT loss to the Cardinals short of a .500 record for the 2011 season. Wilson would lose his first start against the 49ers, 13-6 (that was the last time Seattle has lost a game by more than five points to San Francisco), but the Seahawks really made themselves known to the world as a powerhouse with a 42-13 domination of the Niners in Week 16. Billed as one of the biggest games of the year, Seattle embarrassed Colin Kaepernick and Jim Harbaugh on December 23, 2012.
13 months later, the 2013 NFC Championship happened and the Seahawks have kind of carried that momentum with them against the 49ers ever since.
Now the quarterback is Geno Smith and the Seahawks again have something to prove. My only advice to Geno: Protect the football.