SEATTLE — Let’s start with a little perspective: This game meant more to the Seahawks than it did to the 49ers.
San Francisco had clinched a playoff spot and still can wrap up the NFC West next week with a win against Arizona. Seattle hadn’t yet punched its ticket to the postseason.
Which is important to remember. Because as the Seahawks blasted their division rivals 42-13 Sunday at CenturyLink Field, clinching a spot in the playoffs and becoming the team nobody wants to play, perspective was difficult to find.
How to explain a club that has outscored its opponents 150-30 the past three weeks? A club that at one point had a 100-0 run in home games dating back to Nov. 11? A club that has left its past three foes in shock and awe?
In a game that it needed to win against a strong opponent, the Seahawks (10-5) turned in the Mother of All Blowouts, building a 28-3 lead in the first 28 minutes.
The superlatives could fill a 90-minute episode of SportsCenter. So we’ll leave you with just one more: Seattle joined the 1941 Bears as the only NFL teams to build a 24-point first-half lead in three straight games.
Playoff bound? Suddenly that sounds like selling the Seahawks short.
“We’ve come a long way,” coach Pete Carroll said. “Remember all those close games early in the season when we were fighting the clock? We’ve come a long way since then.”
Facing one of the best defenses in the NFL, Seattle converted 11 of 13 third-down attempts and turned four trips to the red zone into four touchdowns. And along the way they may have made quarterback Russell Wilson the favorite for the Rookie of the Year award over the more heralded Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.
“We’re trying to do something great; we’re trying to do something special,” he said. “The biggest accolade we could get is the Lombardi Trophy.”
What? Really? A team that started the season 4-4 and likely won’t have a home playoff game is thinking about the Super Bowl?
Hey, why not?
Think that defense wins championships? Seattle now leads the NFL in fewest points allowed.
Think depth is crucial? Seattle played Sunday without a starting cornerback and two key reserves at the position, and held San Francisco out of the end zone for the first 58 minutes.
Think an elite quarterback is the key? Over the past seven games, Wilson has thrown 15 touchdown passes with two interceptions and a passer rating of 114.5.
“All he’s done is win us over,” Carroll said. “He hasn’t changed; we’ve changed.”
If the Seahawks can somehow sneak in as the No. 2 seed in the NFC, a scenario that is unlikely but possible, they suddenly would become the favorite to reach the Super Bowl. If they have to travel for each postseason contest, that dream becomes far-fetched.
And yet nothing, really, appears out of the realm of possibility for these Seahawks. They have improved as the season has progressed, sneaking into the discussion of the league’s elite teams.
At least, that’s how it appeared Sunday against the 49ers. If only San Francisco had shown up to provide us with a little more perspective.