Marcio Jose Sanchez/2014 AP File photoFor the second straight year

Marcio Jose Sanchez/2014 AP File photoFor the second straight year

Niners’ struggles will allow Seahawks to have an edge

If the 49ers are trying to lull the Seattle Seahawks to sleep before their big matchup on Thanksgiving at Levi's Stadium, they're doing a swell job.

In their last three games against weak teams, the 49ers have looked progressively worse. On Sunday, they hosted a Washington team that has looked worse and worse as the season progressed. The once-dynamic Robert Griffin III looks totally lost. Their Redskins' defense is shot. And they were on the road.

But for most of Sunday's game, Washington looked like the winner. It was the 49ers who looked lost, playing well defensively — the return of Aldon Smith has revitalized the pass rush — but with no consistency on offense. Frank Gore is finally showing his age. It probably isn't long before rookie Carlos Hyde replaces him as the top back, even if Gore remains the starter.

A big catch by Anquan Boldin, who has made so many of them for the Niners, was the big play that set up a Hyde touchdown, which finally put the Niners ahead to stay. A gutty win, but hardly worth celebrating.

Meanwhile, the defending NFL champion Seahawks were shutting down NFC West leader Arizona in Seattle, giving the 49ers and Seahawks a chance to catch the Cardinals in the final five games.

More likely, the 49ers and Seahawks will be battling for second place in the division with the Thanksgiving game here and the Dec. 14 game in Seattle the most important.

The Seahawks have had their own problems this season, with the same type of free-agent losses that the Niners have suffered. Losing Golden Tate, their chief deep threat in the passing game, was especially damaging. For a time, the Seahawks hoped Percy Harvin would fill that role, but his toxic personality soon led the Seahawks to trade him for a conditional draft pick. Harvin's reputation is well-established in the league. It would be no surprise if he's out of the NFL at this time next year.

But Russell Wilson has continued to advance. Wilson is a smart quarterback, one who knows when to abandon a play and run, but also one who uses his legs to buy time to find an open receiver.

Colin Kaepernick has yet to learn that lesson. He can make big plays, as he did on the first drive Sunday and the last one, but he lacks the consistency of a top quarterback. The more the league learns about him, the less effective he is. When he took over for Alex Smith in 2012, the 49ers got to the Super Bowl. Last year, they lost in the NFC Championship Game. This year, they're struggling to make the playoffs. That isn't all his fault, but he's not doing what a top quarterback should, either. When his first receiving choice is open, he'll throw a great pass. When he has to look for a second or third receiver, he's in trouble.

Wilson is less talented but has much more football intelligence, which is what makes the Seahawks a better team. The Niners may win Thursday night but the Seahawks will win the larger battle. They'll be in the playoffs. The Niners won't be.

Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. Email him at glenndickey36@gmail.com.

Glenn DickeyRussell WilsonSan Francisco 49ersSeattle Seahawks

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Dave Hodges, pastor at Zide Door, the Church of Entheogenic Plants that include marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms, holds some psychedelic mushrooms inside the Oakland church on Friday, July 22, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Psychedelic spirituality: Inside a growing Bay Area religious movement

‘They are guiding us into something ineffable’

San Francisco Police stand guard outside the Mission Police Station during a protest over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd on Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Fired: California bill aims to decertify police for serious misconduct

By Robert Lewis CalMatters On a Wednesday afternoon in April 2018, Gardena… Continue reading

The Giants and Dodgers face each other again following a May series the Dodgers swept; Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux caught stealing by Giants second baseman Donovan Solano at Oracle Park on May 23 is pictured. 
Chris Victorio/
Special to The Examiner
Giants vs. Dodgers: What you need to know before this week’s huge series

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner That grinding noise you’ll hear… Continue reading

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that state employees and health care workers must be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing and wear masks. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters)
California orders vaccine or testing for health care workers, state employees

By Ana B. Ibarra CalMatters Amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases and… Continue reading

Jeremy Kahn and Monica Ho are excellent in San Francisco Playhouse’s production of Lauren Yee’s “The Song of Summer,” being presented live and online. (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)
Touching relationship at heart of ‘Song of Summer’

Lighthearted SF Playhouse show ‘feels right for this moment’

Most Read