SEATTLE (AP)—Darrell Jackson sat stewing at his locker long after most of his San Francisco teammates left Monday night, the longtime Seattle receiver still wearing his grass-stained 49ers uniform.
After a historically bad night for his new team during another steady victory for his old Seahawks, Jackson could be excused for momentarily wishing he had never changed jerseys.
While Seattle seems ready for another strong stretch run after dominating on offense and defense in a 24-0 victory, the 49ers can only wonder how low they’ll go in a losing streak that’s already at seven games.
“They’re doing what they always do over there, and we’re still trying to get there,” Jackson said, shaking his head. “I don’t know when we’ll get there. The ‘Hawks are already there.”
With no wind or rain to tempt a repeat of the 49ers’ upset win in their last trip up north, Seattle (5-4) posted perhaps its most comprehensive win of the season.
Matt Hasselbeck threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns in the Seahawks’ suddenly potent passing game, while the Seahawks defense held San Francisco to 173 yards and six first downs.
“We should be successful like this all the time,” said Seahawks linebacker Julian Peterson, who sacked Alex Smith for the fourth time this season. “This shows how dominant we can be if everyone plays their positions and are in the right place.”
San Francisco’s last trip to Seattle was the rain-soaked highlight of coach Mike Nolan’s three seasons, with the 49ers rallying through howling winds and miserable precipitation for 21 fourth-quarter points and a stunning 24-14 victory.
An eerily similar storm hit Seattle early Monday, but the skies cleared by game time. The Seahawks had almost no obstacles for a consistently outstanding passing game that moved freely and easily—even using the shotgun, a rarity in Seattle—while Shaun Alexander sat out with an accumulation of injuries.
“If you believe you have the right quarterback, then at least you can think about throwing it more,” said Holmgren, who apparently wasn’t using subterfuge for a change when he vowed last week to ramp up the aerial attacks. “If you have the receivers, there’s less wear and tear on your linemen. It reminds me of our old days at BYU, where we never ran it.”
Seattle passed on 11 of 13 plays on its opening drive, with Hasselbeck patiently picking at the Niners’ defense before hitting Heller with a 1-yard TD toss.
“Mike said that, (but) I’m not sure I ever believed him,” Hasselbeck said of his coach’s passing fancies.
Will Heller and D.J. Hackett caught Hasselbeck’s TD passes, with Hackett getting 8 receptions for 101 yards as Seahawks affirmed their spot atop the NFC West with their second straight demolition of the club expected to challenge them this fall, by a combined 47-3 score.
Seattle jumped to a 17-0 halftime lead before turning away three San Francisco drives that started in Seahawks territory. Smith, who had his finest NFL hour in Seattle last season, went 12-of-28 for 114 yards for the 49ers (2-7).
Nolan received condolences from Holmgren and dozens of players before the game. His father, former 49ers coach Dick Nolan, died Sunday after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease and prostate cancer.
Nolan then called a gutsy, inventive game—direct snaps to receivers, an onside kick right after halftime, a phony fake punt and two attempted fourth-down conversions when the game still was winnable—yet nothing worked against the Seahawks’ sturdy defense.
“I thought about him before the game,” Nolan said of his father, who also led the Saints during a lengthy career as an NFL player and coach. “Might have thought about him once or twice during the game, but I might have done that in a normal week, anyway.”
If offensive acumen is measured in first downs, the game was among the most one-sided in the history of both franchises. The Seahawks tied their team record for fewest first downs allowed, set against San Diego in 1987, while San Francisco matched its fewest first downs since 1963 for the second time this season.
Seattle’s offense racked up 380 yards and 27 first downs in the absence of Alexander and receiver Deion Branch. Hasselbeck ran a patient passing offense as the Seahawks put together several clock-eating drives on the way to a 17-0 lead through three quarters.
Brown barely missed a 54-yard field goal with 7 seconds left in the first half—his first miss this season on a kick that wasn’t blocked. … Seattle has posted three shutouts in its last four Monday night games. … “The Price Is Right” host Drew Carey, in town to promote his stake in the MLS expansion franchise coming to Seattle, attended the game. Cleveland’s favorite son waved the “12th Man” flag while cheering for the Seahawks, who lost to his beloved Browns last week.