The last time these two teams met, on the final day of the 2019 regular season, they decided the Super Bowl.
Let me explain.
The Seahawks had beaten the Super Bowl bound 49ers in a midseason game at Levi’s Stadium, and while San Francisco had led the NFC West all season and had a near lock on the number one seed in the NFC playoffs, that advantage came into serious jeopardy in Seattle last December.
The 49ers had lost a pair of December games, to the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons, and a third loss would have knocked them out of both the division title and top seed in the playoffs. That crumbling defeat looked likely in the waning moments of the game in Seattle last December when the Seahawks nearly overcame a 12 point fourth quarter deficit while driving to a first-and-goal at the one-yard-line while trailing 26-21.
A delay of game pushed the Seahawks back five yards, but on fourth down Russell Wilson completed a pass to Jacob Hollister and he headed for the endzone when 49ers linebacker Drew Greenlaw made a game saving tackle. The play needed an official review to confirm Greenlaw had stopped Hollister short, and when it was confirmed the defensive play for the 49ers could be compared to the one Dan Bunz handed the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI. The Bunz tackle saved a Super Bowl lead and eventual win, the Greenlaw stop ended the game and locked up both the division title and top seed in the playoffs for the 49ers. Ironically, both games, the Super Bowl win over Cincinnati and victory last December against Seattle, ended with the same score, 26-21.
Had the Seahawks beaten the 49ers last December, they would have won the NFC West and been plotted as a third seed in the postseason. The 49ers would have dropped to a Wild Card and fifth seed.
Fifth seeds don’t often advance to Super Bowls, top seeds do … as did the 49ers.
Okay, that is what happened last time these two teams met, so what do you think is in store for the 49ers when the Seahawks get a second bite at the apple this Sunday?
You think the Seahawks, and particularly Russell Wilson, don’t recall the sting of that defeat and are chomping at the bit for redemption?
Now, there could have been a problem with this game had the Arizona Cardinals not provided a spike in the motivation with last week’s overtime victory against Seattle at State Farm Stadium. The Seahawks came into that game undefeated, 5-0, and never trailed in the contest until Zane Gonzalez kicked the winning field goal for the Cardinals in the final minute of overtime.
If the Seahawks would have won that game, then the 49ers would have been meeting a Seattle team not bent on revenge, but looking to protect a three game bulge over the 49ers in the NFC West standings. But, the Seahawks loss last week, and the 49ers romp road win in New England, nearly erases the 49ers motivational edge of needing this game to keep in striking distance of Pete Carroll’s front runners.
The final piece to this puzzle is that the Rams won last night, cutting the Seahawks lead in the NFC West to a half game. In other words, with a loss on Sunday the Seahawks could fall behind in their division to both the Rams and Cardinals.
A team that has the ability to maintain control of their division race whether they win or lose is at a motivational disadvantage, which is one of the primary reasons why the Cardinals got the win last week in Arizona. But now, off a loss last Sunday, and a crushing defeat last December to the 49ers, the Seahawks are armed and dangerous.
Which is not good news for Bay Area fans.
Qoxhi Picks: Seattle Seahawks (-3) over San Francisco 49ers