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Sports >  Seattle Seahawks

Dave Boling: Seahawks were shoved around in unwatchable loss to 49ers

Sept. 18, 2022 Updated Sun., Sept. 18, 2022 at 7:23 p.m.

By Dave Boling For The Spokesman-Review

Remember all those good vibes after the Seahawks win over the Denver Broncos in the season-opener? Yeah, cherish that feeling.

Those could be rare.

It was going to be a tough year, with this early stage of a roster rebuild offering delayed satisfaction in seasons to come.

But sweet mother of mercy this was unwatchable.

The San Francisco 49ers didn’t just defeat Seattle 27-7, they embarrassed the Hawks. No, wait, “embarrassed” doesn’t have quite the right tone. After checking the thesaurus, I think the better verb is “demeaned,” which carries an additional hint of degradation. They were summarily dismissed by a vastly superior force.

Getting beaten happens. But getting shoved around is not okay.

Teams can be outmanned, but to come away feeling as if they’d been outworked, outsmarted and outcoached?

That’s a whole bundle of problems.

Imagine a Pete Carroll team that misses so many tackles, loses the turnover battle 3-0, and commits 10 penalties to the Niners’ one.

Maybe “demean” doesn’t even cover it, but it looks like we will have to save some of the harsher terms since it looks like a long season ahead of us.

The 17-16 upset of the Broncos spread some hopes that the Seahawks might outpace the meager expectations of the preseason pundits. But that outcome might have been skewed by the emotion of playing against quarterback Russell Wilson in front of a demonic crowd.

With no apparent easy grievances to emotionally exploit against the Niners, the Seahawks looked lifeless, falling behind 20-0 in the first half. That was even though good fortune seemed to shine on them in the first period as the Niners’ starting quarterback, Trey Lance, went out with a leg injury.

But the Seahawks were subsequently Garoppolized (unrecognized by Roget, but applicable). When Lance took over Jimmy Garoppolo’s starting role in the offseason, it appeared Garoppolo might create a hot market for trades. Perhaps clairvoyant, Garoppolo ended up showing patience as Lance’s backup.

It was good they had him on Sunday. He passed for 154 yards and one touchdown while also punching in the game’s final touchdown on the ground. The game had been determined long before then, though.

This one was decided late in the first half when the Seahawks were down 13-0 but driving. With quarterback Geno Smith looking sharp, they faced second-and-5 at the Niners’ 8.

They’d picked up 5 yards on first down with rookie Ken Walker running out of a wildcat formation. The play had been well-defended, but Walker made a nice cut and slipped through a fissure.

Play smart and grind it in from there and it’s a close game. Instead, they went with the wildcat again, with Walker handing off to back DeeJay Dallas, who swept wide to the right and lofted a halfback pass into the end zone in the direction of receiver D.K. Metcalf. We call it a “pass” because we were unable to find a specific term for “wounded waterfowl.” Dallas’ toss fluttered at least 5 yards short of Metcalf and into the arms of a somewhat surprised San Francisco defender.

At that point the only hope Seattle had was to have somebody step up with a momentum-reversing play. We’ve seen it so many times from guys in Seahawks uniforms over the years. The mystery of momentum is powerful but elusive. But special players have special talents at key moments.

In this case, it came from rookie cornerback Tariq Woolen, who, at 6-foot-4 with long arms and great speed, never looked more like Richard Sherman. Woolen raced around the end and blocked an attempted Robbie Gould field goal.

Michael Jackson scooped and scored from 86 yards to cut the deficit to 20-7.

But that was it. A few good plays followed by the Niners continued to dominate in all aspects.

Tyler Lockett, Al Woods, Uchenna Nwosu and a few others had conspicuously good efforts, but across the board, the Niners played better, smarter and harder.

It seems as if the Hawks need, when they study this film, to watch the Niners for examples of how the game must be played by winners. They should be forced to focus on every missed tackle, every penalty, every time somebody got shoved around. They should have offensive coordinator Shane Waldron (if he’s the one who called the play), explain why he thought a trick play seemed like such a good idea on the 8-yard line.

Pete Carroll, who extolls the necessity of competing unrelentingly, needs to stress to his team and his staff – and to himself – that this performance was not it. Not even close.

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