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Seahawks takeaways: What we learned in lopsided playoff loss to 49ers

The Seahawks kept it competitive early, but ultimately fell victim to a superior team in Santa Clara.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — It was a stormy day at Levi's Stadium between the Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Wild Card Playoffs.

The two division rivals traded blows throughout the day, but it was a second-half strip-sack of Geno Smith and a subsequent 49ers touchdown that flipped the momentum fully in San Francisco's direction.

The remainder of the second half saw the 49ers pile on and end up coming away with a 41-17 win, eliminating the Seahawks from the playoffs.

Here are three takeaways as the Seahawks' offseason gets underway:

Playoff DK engages

DK Metcalf was the Seahawks' leading receiver in the regular season, but didn't garner much national attention throughout the season.

He reminded the nation of his talents in Saturday's game, however, hauling in 10 catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Metcalf also produced the highlight of the first half, catching a deep throw from Geno Smith and taking it in for a 50-yard touchdown.

The play also was Metcalf's third playoff touchdown of 50 or more yards, tying him with NFL legend Randy Moss for the second-most such scoring plays in league history.

Young offensive line struggles

The Seahawks started two rookies at offensive tackle this season, and that inexperience reared its head Saturday in Santa Clara.

The turning point of the game was Smith being strip-sacked by Charles Omenihu and Nick Bosa recovering the fumble. The Seahawks were in position to narrow a one-score deficit, but instead San Francisco got the ball back and drove down for a touchdown to widen its lead.

The offensive line also committed three penalties in four plays on the next drive, forcing Seattle to punt down by 14 points in the fourth quarter. The future looks bright for Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas at the tackle spots, but this will be a valuable learning experience for them as they look ahead to their first full NFL offseason.

Beaten on the ground

The Seahawks lost all but one of its games this season when the defense allowed more than 150 yards rushing to opposing teams.

It was an Achilles' heel all season, and it once again proved detrimental for the Seahawks against the 49ers. 

San Francisco racked up 181 yards on the ground Saturday, with Christian McCaffrey leading the way with 119 of his own. As the offseason begins, finding ways to address those deficiencies in run defense will be the key to improving in 2023.


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