Hawks 27 49ers 24

Pretty damn entertaining.

Jim Rome
November 12, 2019 - 9:31 am
Russell Wilson

USA Today


Seattle-San Francisco on Monday night was billed as the game of the year. And it lived up to the hype. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t a perfect game. Far from it. It wasn’t clean.  It was actually pretty damn sloppy. But pretty damn entertaining, nonetheless.

Russell Wilson called it “Probably the craziest game I’ve ever played in.” I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it was really good. And really crazy.

The 49ers came out on fire. The crowd at Levi’s, which had been mocked in the past, was absolutely rocking, just like for the Cleveland game on Monday night. And just like the Cleveland game, San Francisco got up early. They were up 10-0 and it looked like they might in route to a nationally televised beatdown.

But that was never happening. Not last night and not with Russell Wilson playing the way he is. And not when Seattle’s defense got rolling.

It felt like every time Jimmy Garapollo dropped back, Jadeveon Clowney was in his face. And he was definitely in his head. There was a stretch where Jimmy G seemed to be rattled.

And I get it. Clowney is a giant man and he was putting clownsuits on the 49ers offensive line. Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey might not be fully healthy, but Clowney was destroying them. He was just moving back and forth along the line, humiliating guys. And scooping up the rock and scoring.

That play obviously changed the entire game. I mean….Did you forget about Clowney? Remember that time he hit that guy from Michigan? Did you ever see that play? It didn’t get shown much on TV, but it was pretty cool.

This play from the third quarter last night was pretty cool, too. 

Seattle converted that turnover into a touchdown to take a 21-10 lead and at that point, it seemed like the game was pretty much over. San Francisco’s offense was struggling without George Kittle and Emmanuel Sanders, Seattle’s defense was rolling. And it was just a matter of time before Seattle finished it off.

That is until my guy, Germain Ifedi, went legend for the Seahawks. Let me set the stage: Seattle up 21-10 with just over 12 minutes left. The Seahawks have the ball and call a pass play. Well, 10 guys in gray prepare for a pass play, Germain Ifedi prepares for the run of his lifetime. Roll it.

What a legend. Ifedi sees his quarterback in trouble and about to be sacked, so he just grabs the ball and starts running. The ball might have been coming out, but Ifedi definitely was active in getting it from Wilson and then turning up field and looking to run.

My guy started running like he was going to go all Lamar Jackson on everyone. G, you’re not housing that one. There is no Piesman Trophy in the NFL. And shocker, the big fella couldn’t hold onto the rock, San Francisco stripped him and deforest Buckner scored.

Buckner was as confused as anyone by Ifedi’s actions: “I mean, we were all just rushing and Russell was just wrapped up. Pretty sure the guys got to him and I saw one of the linemen take the ball from him and was just wondering, ‘What the hell is this dude doing?'”

And the camera cut to Pete Carroll on the sideline saying “how’d that happen?” Was priceless. I’ll tell you how it happened – the big man was looking to make a big play. And it blew up, big time. 

As Carroll said afterwards: “What was he thinking? He thinks he’s going to score. What was he thinking? I think he was doing this thing, the Heisman and all that, I don’t know what he was, that was terrible.”

No, it was awesome. Because not only was it an incredible moment, but it made the game 21-18 after the two point conversion and played a huge role in sending it to overtime.

And overtime was its own circus. There was Russell Wilson scrambling on second down, that was called back for being in the grasp and turned into a 3rd and 16, which he then picked up.

Vintage Russell Wilson. And then three plays later, vintage Dre Greenlaw.

At that point, it looked like San Francisco was going to steal this. But they were never close on the game winning field goal attempt. Then Russ got a second look. And had to punt. And then things got interesting.

Because San Francisco had the ball on their own 20 with less than two minutes left. Three incompletions later and they were punting. Let’s get back to that in a second.

Give Russell Wilson a third look and he will take it. And he did. And Seattle capped it off with the game winning FG.

That was a huge win for Seattle. Absolutely brass to go on the road and beat the unbeaten Niners in their house. They weren’t perfect, but they were impressive, and Russell Wilson is just on a different level.

If you still don’t understand how good he is, that’s on you. That’s the very definition of hating. His ability to make something out of nothing is unreal. It’s Favre-esque. That’s what separates the good from the great, and the great from the best ever.  Wilson got that.  Garoppolo doesn’t. At least not yet. And Wilson’s the reason why they’re in this spot right now, well, he and that defense, which had been so maligned, but showed up so huge last night. 

And I know some of you are going to try to come in here and bash the 49ers and say they’re paper tigers. The hell they are.

Yes, there was a stretch where Jimmy G seemed to be out of rhythm…then again, I’d be out of rhythm too if Clowney was in my face all night, my best targets weren’t there, and my other guys were having some tough drops.

They just played their worst game of the season, without their Pro Bowl tight end for the whole game and their number one receiver for half the game, and still had a chance to win it to go 9-0.

And here’s the thing for San Francisco – Seattle was only in position to win the game because the Niners let them back in. Yeah, I said it.

San Francisco could’ve played for the tie on their final possession and you can make the argument that maybe…maybe, counterintuitive as it sounds, maybe they could have played for the tie.  Just follow me for a minute…

Because a tie hurts Seattle a lot more than it hurts San Francisco. A tie would’ve kept the Niners two games ahead of Seattle in the loss column. As it is, they’re one game ahead now.

Sure, it’s not the best message to be sending your team and I respect the thinking behind playing for the win. You play to win the game. But you also play to win the division.

And given that Kittle and Sanders were out, how likely was it that they were going to drive the sixty-plus yards needed to get in position for a game-winning field goal by a rookie kicker who’d just missed a game-winning field goal?

Take the tie, you’re still unbeaten, and you have a two game lead on Seattle. I could argue that point.  But playing for the tie doesn’t fit into who this 49ers team is. They are aggressive. They are confident. And they don’t settle. I respect that. I like that identity. Unfortunately, for them, it didn’t work out. 

Is playing for the tie the coward’s move or the smart move? It’s both. I'm not going to kill them for not doing it last night, but I wouldn't have crushed them if they did.