God damn it.
The loss today doesn't knock the Seahawks out of the first seed in the playoffs, nor does it loosen their grip on the division significantly, but it still hurts. This was a prime opportunity for a statement win against their biggest divisional rival, and they let it slip away.
This game was all about defense. More specifically, it was about which offense could capitalize the most on the bare handful of mistakes made by the other guy's defense — a missed gap assignment here, a poor angle taken there — and at the end of the day that offense belonged to the 49ers. The Hawks did do a good job of adjusting their protection after letting Wilson get beaten up on the first few drives, but their receivers didn't get open often enough and Wilson was inaccurate on a few key passes in the game, most notably on the 3rd down pass to the end zone in the fourth that forced them to settle for a field goal. Had he connected with Kearse for a TD there, we'd most likely be adding another W to Seattle's total.
I also can't help but wonder how differently this game could have turned out if Harvin had been available to play — his presence on the field would have been a huge help in putting more pressure on San Francisco's pass defense, which in turn would have forced them to drop more defenders into coverage and given Lynch fewer tacklers to deal with up front.
But that's all moot now. Next up, the Seahawks can take out their frustrations on the hapless Giants in New York (Mr. Manning, I'd like to introduce you to Mr. Bennett . . .) and put themselves one game closer to clinching the NFC West and home field advantage in the playoffs. 15-1 is no longer an option, but 14-2 is still on the table.
If the 49ers want to pull an upset and beat the Hawks in the postseason, they're going to have to do it in front of the 12th Man. Good luck with that, Kaepernick.