The offense struggled to help the defense, but the Seahawks managed to rally to beat the 49ers 26-23 and finish with 12 wins (or more) for the fifth time in franchise history and third in Pete Carroll’s 11 seasons.
The Hawks (12-4) will host the Rams, who beat Arizona, in the playoffs next weekend. The big questions: Will the offense play more like it did in the fourth quarter against the 49ers? And will they have Jamal Adams, who suffered another shoulder injury?
Russell Wilson and the offense struggled vs. the 49ers until they started mixing it up properly in the fourth quarter – running the ball, using misdirection, getting aggressive scrambles from Wilson. That led to two late TD drives, with Tyler Lockett capping another big day in Arizona with the go-ahead TD and Alex Collins scoring the clincher on a nifty juke-and-jive run after the defense forced a fumble.
Lockett caught 12 passes for 90 yards, eclipsing the team record for catches in a season (previously 94, by Bobby Engram and Doug Baldwin) by landing on 100 when he caught the fourth-down pass to give Seattle the lead with 2:20 left. DK Metcalf also surpassed Steve Largent for most receiving yards in a season; Metcalf ended up with 1,303 yards after a quiet 21 yards on three catches vs. the 49ers.
The Hawks also set a franchise record with 459 points — most of them scored in the first half of the season.
For three quarters, the Hawks continued to scuffle against a good defense. They called just 11 run plays through three quarters, and Wilson had his second-worst yards/attempt game, at 5.0 on 36 throws.
The Hawks busted out for 91 yards on 14 carries in the fourth quarter. Brian Schottenheimer wised up and mixed it up, used misdirection and got some good runs out of Wilson. They need to come out like that against the Rams or they will struggle again. Getting right tackle Brandon Shell back will help.
The question is whether Adams and Jarran Reed (oblique) will be available. Adams, who played through a right shoulder injury earlier this season, injured his left shoulder in this game. He seemed very dejected on the bench, but Pete Carroll said trainers think he can play against the Rams next weekend.
If Adams and Reed are unable to go, they would be big losses. And it would continue the trend of the Hawks missing major starters as the postseason begins.