It was gritty, it was physical and it was even boring at times, but the San Francisco 49ers gutted out a 13-6 victory over the division rival Seattle Seahawks on a national stage on Thursday Night Football at Candlestick Park.
The game lived up to its billing — it was a hard-nosed, tough defensive game for both teams. There was pushing and shoving expected of a heated inner-division game from two teams fighting for first place. Neither quarterback was able to find a rhythm and get anything going in the passing attack, as evidenced by pedestrian numbers from each. For Alex Smith, he amassed just 140 yards on 14-of-23 completions with one touchdown and interception each.
Those are hardly the numbers of player many pundits thought was going to take the next step in the vertical passing game. But his struggles at home were a product of the stout Seattle defense and less about the 49ers’ ineffectiveness on offense. The biggest mistake was a costly interception Smith threw in the fourth quarter to give Seattle life in hopes of a comeback.
The 49ers made Russell Wilson look like a rookie again, forcing him into uncomfortable situations and a disappointing stat line of 122 yards on 9-for-23 completions and one interception that was the result of pressure, great coverage and poor decision making.
San Francisco also showed resiliency and an ability to bounce back. The Seahawks are a legitimate test, and Seahawks have the ability to beat anyone they face due to their defense. In that regard, the 49ers passed the test by beating a tough opponent. Granted, it was an opponent they should have beat, but it was a win nonetheless.
They’ll take it and build on it. The spoils of their victory is a 5-2 record and status atop the NFC West for at least a few days pending the result of the Arizona Cardinals’ game against the Vikings on Sunday. Though Seattle moves to 4-3, they are still a threat to challenge for a playoff spot this winter.
Michael C. Jones is the Editor of Sports Out West. You can follow him on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets