Seattle Seahawks fans set a new Guinness World Record for loudest stadium during the first half of Sunday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. In the second half, the team responded by really giving them something to cheer about.
In a dominant display of defense, the Seattle Seahawks forced five turnovers and limited the San Francisco 49ers to just 207 yards of offense in a 29-3 home-opening win that established the Seahawks as the team to beat in the NFC West. Running back Marshawn Lynch added three touchdowns and 98 rushing yards for Seattle, who have now beaten San Francisco by a combined score of 71-16 in their last two meetings.
Colin Kaepernick was harassed all night by a record crowd of 68,338 and a physical and athletic Seahawks defense, who held the 49ers quarterback to a 20.1 passer rating on 13/28 throwing for 127 yards with three interceptions. He wasn’t the only member of the San Francisco offense to have a forgettable night; Frank Gore was a non-factor with 16 yards on 9 carries and receiver Anquan Boldin was held to just one catch, a week after burning the Green Bay Packers for 208 yards on 13 catches.
The Seahawks got great performances from players all over their defense. The trio of defensive backs of Earl Thomas, Cam Chancellor, and Richard Sherman all had interceptions and defensive linemen Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, who were signed as free agents in the offseason, had a forced fumble and sack, respectively.
San Francisco’s defense looked impressive early as well. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had the NFL’s highest home passer rating last season, but got off to a slow start at CenturyLink Stadium in 2013, going the entire first quarter without a completion and finishing the first half just 2-10 with 48 yards and an interception. But he found his poise and lead Seattle on consecutive 80-yard touchdown drives to start the second half, finishing 8/19 for 142 yards, with one touchdown and the pick.
The teams combined for 22 penalties in a tightly-called game, but San Francisco’s proved more costly. Bruce Miller was flagged for offensive holding in the end zone to give Seattle it’s first points on a safety. And Aldon Smith got a personal foul penalty that gave the Seahawks a first down on what would have been 3rd and long, leading to a Lynch touchdown.
The first half was a strange as it’s 5-0 score. The game’s first big play was a blocked punt by San Francisco that may have resulted from Seattle’s players believing the play was blown dead, after NBC mics picked up a mysterious whistle just before the snap. And lightning caused an hour-long delay toward the end of the first quarter. But unlike the Super Bowl, where a long delay proved to be an advantage to the 49ers, the weather break didn’t provide a spark for San Francisco, whose usually confident offense looked out of sync and unsettled all night.
The win moved Seattle to 2-0 ahead of next week’s home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, their first of four consecutive games against the AFC South.