1) That’s a Wow game Some games stick out during a season. The Hawks loss to Chicago last year (the first one) was one example. Today was a statement game for a number of reasons. The Hawks defense played a stinker in their first away game against a divisional opponent. The Hawks have not dominated a team so completely for a long time, especially on the road. The defense set the tone for the game, and it didn’t matter how many times the offense left the field without points. You’ve heard of a team playing a complete game (off, def, special teams), but today the Hawks played a complete defensive game (stopping the run, rushing the passer, tight pass coverage). That’s extremely encouraging.
2) Who was that defensive line out there today? I thought we were supposed to be undersized and out-muscled by a huge SF line. Larry Allen and Jonas Jennings were overwhelmed today. John Marshall deserves a bunch of credit for designing a blitz package that pitted our defensive strength (speed) against their o-lines weakness. Instead of getting to maul us 1:1, the 49ers had to adjust to an array of blitzes from different players and different places. Rocky Bernard, Patrick Kerney, and Darryl Tapp all stood out today on the line.
3) Branch is putting down roots What I like most about what I’m seeing between Deion and Matt is that the plays they are making look very repeatable. What does that mean? I am seeing the quick slant, the slant-and-go, the short cross, and I’m seeing them each week. These are ball control routes, and the they are working. Branch is making the most of each reception, and Matt looks more and more comfortable throwing him the ball. When you start seeing plays you know you’ve seen each week, that’s a pretty good sign the QB and WR are getting some chemistry.
4) 49ers defense is good Many will pick on the Hawks lack of running game (again) and inconsistent offense. I give the 49ers defense a lot of credit. Their secondary is outstanding, and their front seven wraps us well.
5) Red zone woes The Seahawks cannot keep getting inside the 20 and coming away with just 3 points. Red zone FGs instead of TDs were the difference between 31-3 and 23-3 today. It arguably lost them the game in Arizona, and it will lose them more if they don’t figure it out. This has everything to do with the running game.
6) Sean Locklear rocked Bryant Young had 3 tackles and zero sacks. I know Locklear got some double-team help, but it was still impressive.
7) So did LeRoy Hill Hill had 9 tackles for the second week in a row and pressured the passer all day. The theory coming into this game was our 1 bad defensive game against the run was because we were on the road. I’m starting to wonder if it was because Hill was out.
8) Seneca could inspire Holmgren’s creativity Using Seneca today was more important than succeeding with him. Almost every time he entered the game, he was part of the play. Teams will have to account for him now. It becomes the football equivalent of a boxer twirling on glove before bashing the guy with the other.