Two games into the 2013 season, there’s no question who rules the NFC West.
It’s the Seattle Seahawks.
“There were a lot of pundits and ignorant idiots that picked us to lose this game,” Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said. “Please don’t doubt us again.”
In a highly anticipated, heavyweight match-up with last year’s NFC representative in the Super Bowl, the Seahawks beat the 49ers at their own game.
They bullied them.
Seattle ground out 172 rushing yards in a 29-3 humbling in front of a CenturyLink Field-record crowd of 68,338 onlookers Sunday evening.
The Seahawks have now outscored San Francisco 71-16 in the past two meetings, both wins in Seattle.
While the running game rumbled, Seattle’s defense led the way, holding the 49ers explosive offense to 207 total yards. A week after he threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Green Bay, the Seahawks held Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick to a career-low 107 yards passing as a starter.
“We did everything we needed to do tonight on defense,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
Kaepernick threw only three interceptions in 218 regular-season attempts last season. The Seahawks picked him off three times on Sunday, with Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman each getting an interception.
With the win, the Seahawks now sit alone atop the NFC West division, jumping out to a 2-0 record to start a season for the first time since 2006.
The Seahawks have won 10 of its 11 home openers since 2003. The victory also gave Pete Carroll a fitting birthday present on his 62nd birthday.
The game was unexpectedly
suspended because of unsafe weather conditions with lightning visible from the stadium
at 6:05 p.m., with the two teams scoreless and 3:13 remaining in the first quarter.
The Seahawks needed the break. Up until that point, Seattle had managed just 27 yards of total offense. The Seahawks were 0-for-3 on third downs, and quarterback Russell Wilson was 0-for-6 passing with an interception to Eric Reid.
Carroll said his team made some much-need adjustments during the weather delay.
“It was a great opportunity for us,” Carroll said. “I’m sure they were doing the same thing. We did all kinds of things in all phases, wherever it was needed. We coached throughout the time, other then when the music was blaring in the locker room.”
San Francisco grabbed momentum early when Craig Dahl blocked Seattle punter Jon Ryan’s punt. Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith recovered the ball on the Seattle 33-yard line.
However, the Seahawks’ defense held firm. On third-and-goal from the 5-yard line, cornerback Walter Thurmond tipped a pass intended for San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis at the goal line, and safety Earl Thomas corralled the rebound, returning the ball to Seattle’s 12.
The Seahawks took an early lead when Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith was held by San Francisco fullback Bruce Miller while chasing after Kaepernick in the Niners’ end zone, resulting in a safety and a 2-0 lead.
Seattle then upped its lead to 5-0 on a Steven Hauschka 30-yard field goal with 5:52 remaining in the half.
In the second half, the Seahawks took control of the contest on a 10-play, 80-yard drive, capped by a Marshawn Lynch 14-yard touchdown run, giving Seattle a 12-0 lead with 9:12 remaining in the third quarter.
The 49ers responded with a nine-play, 71-yard drive, culminating in a Phil Dawson 21-yard field goal.
But Seattle scored 17 consecutive points to close out the game, including two Marshawn Lynch touchdowns consisting of a 7-yard pass and a 2-yard run and a Hauschka 37-yard field goal. Lynch finished with 98 yards on 28 carries.
“We did what we expected to (tonight),” Sherman said. “I think you guys (pointing to reporters) expected something different. You guys expected something a little more Kaepernicking – a couple of these (kisses his bicep).
“We didn’t expect any of that. We expected guys to play disciplined ball.”