BY Art Thiel 11:49PM 11/27/2014

Thiel: Seahawks deep in the heads of 49ers

In a post-gamer tweet, 49ers owner Jed York apologized for poor play. When that happens, it’s plain that the Seahawks ae deep into the 49ers’ psyches.

No, that isn’t Colin Kaepernick Richard Sherman is carrying, but a prop from the NBC telecast that Sherman and the Seahawks claimed with the victory in Santa Clara. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

It wasn’t embarrassing enough Thursday night to have many in the Levi’s Stadium crowd walk out at halftime. Nor was it sufficiently comedic to have the 49ers finish with 164 yards of total offense on Thanksgiving night national TV. So owner Jed York completed the hat trick of haplessness when he tweeted out post-game an apology to fans for the 19-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

The Seahawks are so far into the heads of the Santa Clara enterprise that they need miner’s hats and safety ropes.



When the boss claims publicly that losing by 16 points to the defending Super Bowl champs is unacceptable, you can be fairly certain that everything you’ve been reading about how dysfunctional the 49ers are is true.

Conversely, all the stuff you were reading about the internal daffiness of the Seahawks has been overcome or dismissed. In five days, they beat their two biggest rivals in the NFC West by the identical score and have won five of their past six entering the season’s final quarter. The turnaround is resounding.

Among the defenders in particular, they nearly vibrate with energy, which is a familiar feeling.

“We joined together and really recaptured what we played with last year,” said a beaming coach Pete Carroll. “No question we’ve elevated our game. They’ve touched what it is — the special attitude, intensity and toughness that we have playing with one another.”

Beginning with a collision on the 49ers’ first pass completion that temporarily knocked WR Michael Crabtree from the game with a sore knee, the defense bullied the Niners wire to wire on their new home turf. The first Seattle win in the Bay Area since 2008 was never in real jeopardy.

Remember how the Seahawks kept saying in their early season, 3-3 trudge that sometimes the ball just bounces the other team’s way? Twice Thursday potentially damaging fumbles were recovered, including a dropped snap by punter Jon Ryan. Yet he managed to get a good kick away, and the return was fumbled back to Seattle. Another time QB Russell Wilson, who had an otherwise stellar game, lost the ball on a scramble in which he was not hit. He was switching the ball from right hand to left when his leg knocked it free.

He recovered the loose ball. The pendulum of good fortune is swinging back. Not so for the 49ers.

The game almost didn’t sell out, and the 13-0 halftime deficit drew heavy boos and prompted an early departure by many. While it’s a tad early to forecast an end to the era of coach Jim Harbaugh, the 7-5 Niners, with such a puny offensive effort, are going in the wrong direction ahead of the Dec. 14 rematch in Seattle.

It’s plain that QB Colin Kaepernick is not up to the match with Seattle’s defense. He had two picks, was sacked four times, threw for 121 yards and ran for 17. The longest SF play was 16 yards.

Sherman said that he and the Seahawks were heckled pre-game with “vulgar” taunts by 49ers fans, which apparently added to the fury. Sherman, with one pick for the season, had both of the interceptions Thursday.

“Sometimes you should let sleeping dogs lie,” he said, “otherwise you get this.”

He said the recaptured joy they found after some intense player meetings with Carroll and among themselves after a 24-20 loss in Kansas City was apparent.

“We were playing like 9- and 10-year-old kids, not worried about stats, playing for fun, playing for one another,” he said. “When we play like that, we’re hard to beat.

“When were playing division rivals, it’s kinda like brothers against brothers. We all know each others moves. It comes down to will against will.”

NBC broadcaster Chris Collingsworth, who had access to Carroll and the players this week, offered a trenchant observation.

“Pete said there’s a big difference between right and ‘not quite,’” he said. “Not only did the Seahawks get healthy, they got harmonious.”

Or, as Wilson put it, “The fight in the guys’ eyes tonight was unmatchable.”

The task needing work is the red zone offense, where the Seahawks were one for four, including a first-and-goal at the San Francisco 1-yard line that Niners turned back and forced a field goal.

Absent C Max Unger (ankle) and TE Zach Miller (ankle), the Seahawks lack a punch compared to their craftier exploits with a bigger field. Against a higher-octane offense they will face against the Eagles in Philadelphia Dec. 7, the Seahawks’ offense needs to stick sixes instead of threes.

“We could have been better in the red zone,” Wilson said. “But we’re going in the right direction. When we get it right, (defenses) don’t know who to cover, and the scramble game makes it tougher.”

Carroll closed his presser with a remark that could be interpreted as a sly shot at his longtime rival Harbaugh.

Unsolicited, he said, “Good to be back in the Bay Area.”

He is, after all, a native of San Francisco. But this was his first win on his native ground since he became Seahawks coach.

It may have been his most satisfying.


  • 1coolguy

    Kudos for your working on Turkey Day Art! It’s always great to read your insights.
    A few things:
    - Richy Rich Jed York is truly a dink and has zero class. Tweeting an apology to fans???
    - Kearse blew his block on the db at the end of Lynch’s run to the 7 yard line: This would have been a TD had Kearse stayed with it.
    - Not scoring from the one indicates a real weakness that ALL of us other than Bevell knows: We have NO O line, other than Okung. Why he called anything other than QB options to the LEFT side is beyond me. Someone really needs to have a sit down with Bevell.
    - Sherman cracks me up – he’s a stud and backs up his shxx!
    - Moeaki looks like a keeper.
    - Thank god we got Jeanpierre in at center – Hopefully we have seen the last of Lewis.
    - Wilson and Sherman’s turkey dinner on the Niner logo is immediately one Seahawk scene that ranks right at the all-time top!
    - As the SF Brie crowd showed with their empty seats, there’s nothing like the 12′s!
    Lastly, the San Jose Mercury News has 6+ articles on the game and they are not complimentary to the Niners.

    • Eric K

      In Kearse’s defense remember he called for holding and nullified a TD last week by finishing his block, so he was probably over cautious,

      And on one Red zone try they had s TD called back by a bogus pick call, if that was a pick then Denver has no pass routes

      • eYeDEF

        If I were a conspiracy buff I’d be saying the refs were trying hard to get the niners back in the game after the first half but both teams would have none of it. Feel bad for Richardson having his second Richfield in as many weeks called back.

        • art thiel

          The little mistakes making pens are fixable. But Pete’s about to hear from the NFL to knock it off.

      • art thiel

        They miss Tate’s downfield blocking a lot.

    • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

      Moeaki looks like a keeper.
      He CAME with an injury prone reputation but he looked pretty damned good on that 63 yard scamper didnt he? He is def a boon to this offense at this time.

      • art thiel

        Moeaki is an emergency guy. Any reasonable TE could have done that after Wilson’s run spread the D.

    • art thiel

      The O-line is not a zero line, just missing Unger and an experienced right tackle. Lots of teams would be stuffed by Niners’ D-line. And read option on a short field works far less well.

      • 1coolguy

        technically the O line goes from tackle the tackle but on this team Zach Miller at TE is so critical with his blocking that I consider his absence a hole in the offensive line. He helps out to nail down the right side where Brit and Sweezy are. So not having Miller and Unger is a big deal.

  • Gerald Turner

    The niners have the misfortune to be playing in the NFC West, it’s a tough break, the NFC south would be a better fit for them right now.

    • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

      Note on Yorks desk this morning from Kaepernick

      Dear Jed:
      Can you look into ceding to the NFC South next season? Im thoroughly tired of losing to that smurf Wilson and UGH! Sherman?What cant we NOT Say about Sherman that our fans havent already said? @#$%^&*…Im sick of that moronic team from Wash. State… I wish that Mount Rainier that we always see when we are flying in there would erupt and bury their precious VMAC training facility in lava.
      Hope your indigestion didn’t flare up too badly after the game. Thanks in advance for looking into that.
      With Sincerity , Colin

      • art thiel

        Colin wouldn’t have won an NFC South game Thursday night.

    • art thiel

      I wouldn’t get too heavy with the mockery until after Dec. 14.

  • Raymond Meyers

    I’ve never seen the Clink empty out while the game was being played. Self-respect seems to be a regional phenomenon. Taken as a whole the Niner franchise and the fan-base have all the class of loud flatulence during an aria.

    • art thiel

      For reasons unclear to me other than dilletante affluence, fans there generally aren’t as engaged.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    It is a great feeling to observe that the 49ers are irrelevant this season in matching up with Seattle. Not only are we the better team but as Art alluded to? The ball also bounced our way… Had that happened just a scosh more on the road in St. Louis and San Diego it would have resulted in 2 more wins and the Red Birds would be anguishing on how they were going to sneak into the play offs having to play tough divisional games like Seattle still.
    Even that Dallas loss had so much strange stuff going the Cowboys way that was off kilter for a good home team to endure including our supposed star wide receiver refusing to play for his 11million per year. After back to back 19~3 wins the harmony we were missing that day?History. The Seahawks are 100% back , baby.
    Still , it means little if we dont rise above it and beat a good Philly squad in Pennsylvania.
    Can they do it? Well Philly looked inept against the Packers. They couldnt get by the 49ers. They succumbed to the Cardinals. These are teams that we beat by 20 ,16 and 16 respectively. My point is that Philly does have their struggles against the rugged teams. They never had a chance against the Packers.Kind of like SF yesterday.We will have our chances on the road and after yesterdays brilliance?You just get this gut feeling our defending champs will find a way.

    It is a great feeling to observe that the 49ers are irrelevant this season as a Seattle Foe ….make that an awesome feeling. To add to the magic they are now 5~0 in their Wolf Grey uniforms. Go Hawks!

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    Two of 13 NFL experts polled at are taking the Seahawks in Week 13.
    I just snipped this from the Seahawks website. If you ESPN guys missed out on bird yesterday the 12th man has crow to feed you today…..

    • art thiel

      Philly at home is looking real good. Kelly will have time to cook up traps and counters against Seahawks pressure.

  • 3 Lions

    It was almost like the Super Bowl but it would be nice to clean up the penalties.
    I am curious what Sherm’ classifies as vulgar, can we get some examples?

    • art thiel

      I’ll ask next week.

  • jafabian

    The owner can’t even give props to the champs. That’s funny. He could have said they held the Hawks to only 2 TDs and that Beastmode didn’t have any and rushed for barely over 100 yards. None of the WR’s had a big game. But nooo….his team went out and battled and he said it was a sorry effort. That’s why they’re looking up at the Hawks.

    I can still see the Hawks going for a big time, big play WR in the offseason still, but I think Richardson and Norwood have potential. And was it me or were Michael and Turbin open a lot in this game? Always enjoy seeing Wilson share the wealth in the passing game and he passed to 8 different receivers compared to 7 by his SF counterpart. I think the Hawks have an excellent chance to win the division still. Just don’t believe in the Cardinals when they’ve lost their starting QB for the season. It’ll catch up with them.

    This was like a road game for the 49ers. It’s obvious they aren’t yet comfortable playing in Santa Clara. Worked out for the defending champs.

    • art thiel

      York embarrassed himself and his team. Never say anything like that publicly. Undermines everything.

      • jafabian

        Did York come up with that “Beat the Seahawks” banner? How was that supposed to fire up the crowd? So in the past what was their goal when they’d play the Hawks?

  • ll9956

    A great win on the road for sure. However (there’s almost always a “however”), I agree with 3 Lions that penalties remain a concern. Fourteen penalties for 105 yards. Ugh! Four of them were “pre-snap”. Not to be nit-picking, but, Art, several weeks ago you pointed out that these are “easily fixed”. It would seem that the fixit committee needs to work harder.

    Overall a sterling performance. Go HAWKS!

    • art thiel

      Fair point about the fixes going unfixed. Please note Rudman’s SPNW story today about how Seahawks lead NFL in pre-snap pens.

  • poulsbogary

    As the article references the heads of niners, thought i might point out that if their qb would just properly learn how to wear a dang baseball cap, he might be subject to way less ridicule. Anyways, it sounds odd because they play each other again, but it seems that the 49ers are now in the hawks’ rearview mirrors at this point.

    • art thiel

      Would you say the same about Fernando Rodney?

      • 1coolguy