Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now
Sports >  Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks head into 49ers game as big underdogs as they’ve been in more than 10 years

Sept. 17, 2022 Updated Sat., Sept. 17, 2022 at 5:33 p.m.

Seattle’s Mike Jackson tackles Denver’s Javonte Williams during the Seahawks’ 17-16 win at Lumen Field on Monday.  (Tribune News Service)
Seattle’s Mike Jackson tackles Denver’s Javonte Williams during the Seahawks’ 17-16 win at Lumen Field on Monday. (Tribune News Service)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

RENTON, Wash. – The Seahawks may have had a measure of revenge on Russell Wilson on Monday night in a 17-16 win over the Broncos.

They might have had at least a night’s worth of validation that maybe the trade will work out.

And they might have at least convinced some of the skeptics that this isn’t necessarily a throwaway season in which the Seahawks are doing nothing more than playing for a high draft pick – or picks – next year.

What they didn’t do is convince the oddsmakers in Las Vegas that they can beat the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, California, on Sunday.

According to VegasInsider.com, the 49ers were 9.5-point favorites as of Saturday afternoon, even more than they were before Monday night’s game, when the 49ers were 8.5-point favorites.

If the line stays at that point up until kickoff then the Seahawks will be the biggest underdogs of any game since before Wilson was drafted in 2012.

The last time the Seahawks were bigger underdogs came on Nov. 6, 2011, at Dallas when the Seahawks were 11-point underdogs.

In what can maybe be seen as hopeful foreshadowing, that Dallas game has always had a special place in Pete Carroll-era lore.

The Seahawks were 2-5 at the time coming off a 34-12 home loss to Cincinnati in what was the first game in which what became the original Legion of Boom (Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner) started together. And in devising a game plan for Dallas, the Seahawks decided to alter their offensive strategy and hand the ball early and often to Marshawn Lynch.

They lost to Dallas 23-13, but rushed for 162 yards (Lynch had 135, the most he’d had as a Seahawk to that point) in setting a template for all that was to come. The Seahawks won five of their next six in finishing 7-9.

Another reason for the wide spread that day was a quarterback matchup that could be viewed as heavily favoring the Cowboys. Dallas had an in-his-prime Tony Romo and the Seahawks had an injured Tarvaris Jackson, who was battling a pec issue, with Charlie Whitehurst (who had played some the week before) as his backup.

That can’t be said for this Sunday, with each team’s quarterback fortunes having taken a big turn in week one.

The 49ers entered the season with high hopes for second-year QB Trey Lance, whose arrival last year resulted in San Francisco hoping to trade Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo remained on the roster, in part because of a shoulder surgery in March that scared off other potential suitors (possibly including the Seahawks).

But even with Garoppolo back, the 49ers are for now rolling with Lance.

His stewardship of the starting job got off to a rocky start with the 49ers blowing a 10-0 third-quarter lead in a 19-10 loss at Chicago last Sunday with Lance completing just 13 of 28 passes for 164 yards while also rushing 13 times for 54 yards in what was the third start of his career.

The big caveat is that the game was played in a rainstorm that became a deluge by the end.

Seahawks coaches and players this week said the conditions made it hard to take a lot out of that game.

“Obviously, a lot of the execution on both sides of the ball, the weather was a major factor on both sides,” Seahawks defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt said.

While Lance has thrown just 99 passes in his career, some around the league wonder already if the 49ers might be questioning their decision to move on with Lance as the starter – especially with Garoppolo still there.

NFL Insider Jason La Canfora of The Washington Post reported this week that “if the 49ers open 0-2, people who have worked with and for Kyle Shanahan anticipate that Garoppolo will be starting by Week 3’s Sunday night meeting with a strong Broncos defense.”

So, nothing much on the line in this one for the 49ers, who merely traded three first-round picks a year ago for the rights to get Lance and two games into his second season may already have to admit that, at the least, he isn’t yet ready, if the Seahawks win Sunday, and if La Canfora’s report can be believed.

As for the Seahawks, their QB situation suddenly seems better than anyone anticipated after Geno Smith completed his first 13 passes in leading the Seahawks to two first-half touchdowns that gave them a halftime lead they never relinquished, finishing 23 of 28 for 195 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

In four starts with the Seahawks over the past two years Smith has completed 78 of 106 passes for 766 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions, numbers Carroll will take every time.

“He really played a great game,” Carroll said. “He did exactly like we would hope he would do. We hoped he was going to make every pass and he almost did.”

There are, of course, some legitimate reasons the 49ers are favored – Nick Bosa is one of the best pass rushers in the game, receiver Deebo Samuel one of the unique talents in the game, Trent Williams maybe the best left tackle in the game, and George Kittle a game-breaking tight end if he plays (he is listed as questionable with a groin injury).

And the 49ers, who have advanced to a Super Bowl and a conference title game in the past three years, had seven players named to the NFL Network’s Top 100 list this year. The Seahawks had one – receiver DK Metcalf – a disparity that further helps explain Sunday’s point spread.

But the Seahawks may have a bigger edge than they anticipated at the game’s most important position, hoping that maybe Sunday that will be enough to prove the oddsmakers wrong.

Coleman, Blount ruled out; Crawford elevated

The Seahawks on Saturday ruled out cornerback Justin Coleman (calf) and safety Joey Blount (hamstring) while elevating Xavier Crawford off the practice squad to add depth at cornerback.

The loss of Coleman is particularly significant as he started at the nickel corner spot against Denver.

They could consider either veteran Sidney Jones IV or rookie Coby Bryant as his replacement. Bryant has been the backup through the preseason, but he played just two snaps at nickel against Denver, including getting beaten on a 67-yard TD from Wilson to Jerry Jeudy.

Jones entered the season as the starter at left cornerback. But a concussion early in camp held him out of all three preseason games and Michael Jackson has emerged as the starter at that spot opposite rookie Tariq Woolen on the right side. Jones has significant experience playing the nickel spot during his years with the Eagles from 2017-19 and could be an option, as well.

Crawford has played in 22 games in a career dating to 2019 including 13 games – and one start – last year with the Bears when he played with first-year Seattle associate head coach for defense Sean Desai, who last year was Chicago’s defensive coordinator.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.