SANTA CLARA, Calif. —
Geno Smith falls back to earth
After earning all kinds of praise following the Seahawks' season-opening win, Smith struggled to consistently move the football against a 49ers defense that is far superior to the one Seattle picked apart against the Broncos in Week 1.
Smith finished Sunday's loss 24-30 for 198 yards and an interception on a stormy day in Santa Clara. With the Seahawks' offense mostly focusing on short and intermediate routes, Smith's completion percentage always will be a bit deceptive.
The ceiling of this offense always will be limited with Smith under center, and we likely will see more performances like Sunday's than what Seahawks fans saw in an emotional opening night win. Smith is far from the only issue with the Seahawks' offense, but he further proved in the Bay Area why the organization must find a different signal-caller to be the franchise quarterback.
Running game fails to get going
Sloppy weather tends to lend itself to more prolific rushing games in the NFL, but the Seahawks just never were able to get going on the ground.
Rashaad Penny was the team's leading rusher Sunday with just 15 yards on 6 carries. Second-round draft pick Kenneth Walker made his regular-season debut after being sidelined by injury in Week 1, but registered just 10 yards on 4 carries.
Pete Carroll and the Seahawks need the running game to perform in order to set up the passing game, and it will be very hard to win against any team without a rusher even getting above 50 yards on the ground.
NFC West race shaken up
The division race was impacted by an injury on the other sideline in the Seahawks' loss to the 49ers, as quarterback Trey Lance was carted off the field with an apparent ankle injury in the first quarter. Former starter Jimmy Garoppolo took his place and immediately threw a touchdown pass.
It remains to be seen what the diagnosis is for Lance, but anytime a player is carted off the field that typically means a long-term absence is a strong possibility.
The Seahawks won't see the 49ers again until mid-December, but if the 49ers end up having to turn to Garoppolo, we could see a more competitive NFC West race over the remainder of the season.
Tariq Woolen continues making plays
The rookie cornerback was one of my top choices to make an instant impact in his first NFL season, and he made a pretty significant play in Sunday's loss, although it didn't end up helping the Seahawks get the win.
Woolen blocked the 49ers' field goal attempt and Mike Jackson scooped it up and returned it for a huge touchdown, the Seahawks' only scoring play of Sunday's loss.
Although he hasn't been perfect in his first two games at cornerback, Woolen will continue getting opportunities if he keeps making big plays on special teams the way he did on Sunday.