Even when they weren’t playing well, the party was on for the Seahawks as they danced on the heads of the 49ers 29-3. Nature’s thunder was only the background music.
At 136 decibels, the party at CenturyLink Field set a Guinness world record for din. At 121 yards in penalties, the San Francisco 49ers made a run at setting a mark for dumb. At 29-3, the Seahawks made a run at explaining what their deal is.
The deal is: Dance. Whether it was Marshawn Lynch’s mocking sashay across the goal line, or Richard Sherman’s post-interception choreography along the sideline with the SeaGals, or the locker-room groove-fest during the weather delay — or whether it was the collective stomp upon the 49ers’ heads, the Seahawks deal was all about high-steppin’.
In front of a Sunday night national television audience, supported by the largest, loudest idolators ever jammed into the joint, backed by nature’s own audio-visual display, the Seahawks laid a triumphant Ta-DAH! upon their arch-rivals that figures to resonate across the NFL.
“What a frickin’ night!” coach Pete Carroll said, an ambulatory exclamation point. “What an amazing night for the 12th Man. Unbelievable. I’ve never heard a crowd like that!”
If you think Carroll was amped, we all should have been there for the first-quarter delay — lightning surrounded the stadium — that forced both teams into their locker rooms. According to the party-goers, the Seahawks spent a little time talking football adjustments and a lot of time singing, dancing and carrying on in the fashion of the extremely confident desperadoes that they are.
“We coached throughout the time,” said Carroll, “except when the music was blaring.”
Even Russell Wilson?
“I took a shower,” he said, perhaps wanting to wash off the part of the evening that began with incompletions on eight of his first nine passes. But when he emerged from the shower, teammate Richard Sherman knew Wilson was ready for the re-start.
“He came out of the shower, and he looked like a baaaad maaan!” Sherman said, laughing at the recall. “I knew we were all right.”
It wasn’t too funny at the start, unless it was funny-weird — teams helpless offensively that produced the first 5-0 halftime score in the NFL in 21 years. But after Wilson led the Seahawks on two touchdown drives of 10 plays and 80 yards, a rout was conclusively on, because the 49ers, intimidated by the noise and the Seahawks defense, mustered next to nothing.
“I’m certainly not proud of the way that we played tonight, or coached,” said Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers coach whose contempt for Carroll made the night more agonizing. “It was not our finest hour.”
But it wasn’t an unusual hour. The last time the 49ers were here, in December they lost 42-13.
A reporter mentioned the cumulative score to Carroll, who pretended not to hear, and asked him to repeat it.
“Thanks,” Carroll said, smiling, the oblique request keeping Carroll from having to say it, avoiding direct inflammation of the animus between the coaches. “They’re a championship club. They know what they’re doing. They have great coaches.”
Not Sunday night. The experience from December did no good, because the 49ers never gained any edge. Even when they blocked the Seahawks’ first punt — a misplay because the Seahawks weren’t set after a reacting to a whistle from the crowd that was believed to have been from officials — they squandered a first down at the Seattle 33 with a goal-line interception by Earl Thomas, the first of three picks of Colin Kaepernick.
The San Francisco QB had another miserable game against Seattle, with three sacks, a 13-for-28 passing night and 127 passing yards, a bit of a comedown from the 412 he had a week earlier against Green Bay.
“They got nothing done,” said Carroll, ever the defensive coach. “What were their numbers? What did Anquan (Boldin) do tonight? For our guys to hold him to one catch, that’s a big night.
“We did everything we needed to do tonight on defense. On their (field-goal) scoring drive, we broke down in pressures, or they might not have made it that time.”
If Carroll was gloating, he was entitled. This was his personal rival, the primary division rival and the defending NFC champion. They won going away, a vanquishing.
The swagger was so thick that the Seahawks thought they could win if the score stayed 5-0.
“We definitely thought that way. It wasn’t like we were doing anything exotic,” Sherman said. “It wasn’t like they weren’t executing their offense. They were running exactly what they wanted to run.”
Sherman was asked whether the rivalry between the teams was real or fabricated.
“What are the combined scores of the last two games?” he said. “How much of it is real and how much of it is fabricated? That’s real.”
Real far apart. But that’s now. They rematch is in San Francisco in December. Let the hype renew.