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What we learned from Seahawks' victory over 49ers

*The last of the unbeatens has been slain, the result of a 70-minute clash of NFC West rivals in prime time. The Seattle Seahawks (8-2) escaped Levi's Stadium with a nail-biting 27-24 overtime victory over the previously undefeated San Francisco 49ers (8-1) on the legs of Jason Myers, who knocked home a 42-yard field goal to no time remaining in the fifth period. Here's what we learned from the instant classic: *

  1. This game contained multitudes. A prime-time clash between NFC West rivals with the MVP favorite and arguably the game's greatest defense going head-to-head for 60 minutes and then some? You can't ask for more from a midseason nightcap. There were critical errors -- Seattle and San Francisco combined for seven turnovers. There were clutch plays -- Chase McLaughlin's game-tying field goal, Shaquill Griffin's late pass defensed on a Jimmy Garoppolo deep ball and about nine escapes made by Russell Wilson come to mind. There was the thrill of victory -- Jason Myers' game-winning FG at the buzzer -- and the agony of defeat -- McLaughlin's game-winning attempt sailing wide left into a Levi's Stadium vomitorium. Left amid the onfield ruckus that ensued following Myers' GW boot was a Seahawks victory and a 49ers loss, their first of the season, with the state of the NFC West and the NFC playoff picture remade by Monday night's effort. Seattle is now a half-game behind San Francisco in the division. Atop the conference, Green Bay (8-2), New Orleans (7-2) and Minnesota (7-3) are nipping at the heels of the Niners, no longer invincible, no longer unbeatable.
  1. A game dominated by defense on both sides came down to which offense would make the bigger plays in overtime to secure a victory. After backup QB Geno Smith secured Seattle possession with a clutch coin-toss call, the Seahawks looked primed to make the final period a one-and-done experience; Wilson (232 yards) converted two third downs with passes to Josh Gordon and Malik Turner and marched Seattle into the 49ers' red zone in seven plays. But Wilson got too greedy, throwing an interception on second down to Niners LB Dre Greenlaw while attempting a lob to Jacob Hollister (62 yards, TD). Greenlaw returned the pick all the way back to midfield, setting San Francisco up with perfect field position for a GW field-goal attempt. The Niners picked up just one first down on the ensuing drive, and a Raheem Mostert run, which appeared to secure a second first down, was ruled short of the line to gain. On trotted rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin, filling in for veteran Robbie Gould, to try a 47-yard game-winner. McLaughlin could not channel the stones it took to hit the 47-yard game-tying kick just minutes earlier and shanked the effort wide left.

Both offenses fritzed on their ensuing possessions, each going three-and-out and mismanaging the clock, taking just a combined 90 seconds off the clock and leaving their opponents too much time to secure a result. San Francisco went for it all on its third-and-10 when Garoppolo (248 yards) launched a deep sideline bomb to Deebo Samuel (112 yards), but the aforementioned Griffin dove to swat the ball away, stopping the clock and securing Seattle another possession. Wilson would make the most of it, driving the Seahawks 40 yards in 81 seconds with no timeouts to get in field-goal range; the Seahawks QB's third-down 18-yard scramble was a thing of beauty, an example of Wilson at the peak of his powers controlling the game's outcome. Myers' 42-yard field goal with four seconds on the clock split the uprights and sent Seattle home victorious in overtime for the second consecutive week.

  1. Jadeveon Clowney enjoyed without a doubt his best performance since joining Seattle via trade this summer. Lined up against Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, both of whom returned Monday from lengthy absences, Clowney routinely beat both tackles and smothered a skittish Garoppolo. Seemingly unblockable, Clowney logged a season-high 12 QB pressures, eight hurries, five QB hits, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a touchdown off another strip-sack. Clowney wasn't the only stud in Seattle's front seven Monday -- Jarran Reed, Poona Ford and Al Woods stood out on the interior, combining for three sacks -- but Clowney was often responsible for his teammates getting home.
  1. Without the inactive George Kittle and his top target Emmanuel Sanders, who exited Monday's game in the second quarter with a rib injury, Garoppolo was tasked with leading San Francisco to its ninth win with a handicapped receiving corps. The Niners' second-ranked ground game never got off the ground against Seattle's front, with Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman combining for just 58 rushing yards before Breida left with an ankle injury; the long runs that had bamboozled previous opponents weren't there. That left it to Garoppolo to latch onto lesser established targets, most notably Samuel (his first career 100-plus-yard game), Ross Dwelley and Kendrick Bourne. Unfortunately, the latter was partially responsible for Jimmy G's lone interception (though Garoppolo launched the third-quarter pass high as he did many attempts against Seattle) and no one besides Samuel was able to switch field position. Up against one of the game's elite game managers in Wilson, Garoppolo did much less with less.
  1. Wilson is still the front-runner for MVP, at least in my book. Seattle doesn't win this game without his late-overtime heroics, but it also could have done without two brutal errors that handed San Francisco another shot at life in the final frames. The first was Wilson's strip-sack in Seattle territory with the Seahawks up 11 points early in the fourth quarter. The fumble, which fell into Germain Ifedi's possession, eventually landed in the hands of DeForest Buckner who ran the takeaway back for six, cutting Seattle's lead to three. The second was the aforementioned interception at the goal line in overtime. Wilson's lob was only his second pick of the season but it came at the worst time. Even the most valuable of us suffer brain farts.
  1. Give it up for Myers, the much-maligned Pro Bowl kicker whose inconsistent play forced his coach to defend his place on Seattle's roster just a week ago. Three extra points and two clutch late field goals made in as many tries later, no one will argue Myers doesn't deserve to be the Seahawks kicker going forward.
  1. In his Seahawks debut, Josh Gordon was a total non-factor ... until he wasn't. The wideout, most recently of New England, logged just 27 snaps in his first game since Seattle picked him up off waivers and didn't see a target for nearly 57 minutes of action. But Gordon finished with two catches on as many targets, both on slants on either side of the field, for 35 yards and two third-down conversions. When Seahawks star receiver Tyler Lockett went out with an injury in overtime, Gordon was called upon to take his snaps. The journeyman wideout was on the field for all six plays of Seattle's game-winning drive. If Lockett's injury is serious, Gordon will see much more action going forward.
  1. The collateral damage, and there is a lot of it: Lockett suffered what Carroll called a "severe" lower leg contusion in overtime. The aforementioned Sanders exited early with a rib injury. Breida was bounced with an ankle ailment. Niners linemen D.J. Jones (groin) and Ronald Blair (knee) were sidelined midgame, and San Francisco's already injury-riddled linebacking corps took a hit when Azeez Al-Shaair left with a concussion. It's no surprise that Monday's war of attrition left a few casualties.
  1. Football's fun, ain't it?
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