By the Numbers: Breaking Down 49ers vs. Seahawks Matchup in Week 7


Both the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks are 2-4, and both teams will square off against each other in a prime-time Thursday Night Football showdown at Levi’s Stadium in Week 7.

The record is what matters most. San Francisco and Seattle are bringing up the rear in what was thought to be a tough NFC West division in 2015. The 49ers’ fall from grace may have been expected given the offseason. But the Seahawks’ apparent demise is quite a shock.

Still, Seattle holds a considerable edge over San Francisco in a number of key statistical areas. And yet the records are identical.

The Seahawks are coming off a heartbreaking (or thrilling, depending how you view it) 27-23 loss to the 5-0 Carolina Panthers in Week 6, while the 49ers enjoyed a 25-20 win over the 1-5 Baltimore Ravens. Momentum is clearly in San Francisco’s favor as is home-field advantage.

This may be all the 49ers can rely upon, however. That and the resurgent offense behind quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Let’s break this divisional contest down by the numbers.

The Records

One may have easily predicted two wins for San Francisco at this point in the season. But to suggest the same out of Seattle may have been a reach.

Here’s a breakdown of the Seahawks’ 2015 season thus far:[table id=2 /]

You can spin this in two ways. On one hand, the Seahawks have had a tough schedule having faced three undefeated teams on the season including two tough road contests against the Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals.

But on the other hand, Seattle is no longer dominating teams like it was so accustomed to not so long ago. The only blowout was in Week 3 against the Chicago Bears. And the Bears aren’t exactly a top-notch opponent.

And it’s worth noting the Seahawks had a fourth-quarter lead lost in each of their four losses this season. Closing out games is becoming a problem for head coach Pete Carroll’s squad.

On the flip side, San Francisco’s 2015 results tell a much different story:[table id=3 /]

San Francisco was dominant in Week 1 before falling flat in Weeks 2 through 4. The 49ers nearly pulled off another victory in Week 5 but, as was the case with Seattle in Week 6, saw their hopes dashed by a last-minute, game-winning touchdown.

Again, closing out games can be an issue.

The 49ers also proved they can beat sub-.500 teams. The victory over the Ravens is an indication of this. But, statistically, San Francisco doesn’t exactly match up with Seattle heading into this divisional contest.

Offensive Statistics

Both Seattle and San Francisco have experienced their fair share of offensive woes in 2015. The 49ers seem to have found some momentum in back-to-back weeks thanks in large measure to the abilities of quarterback Colin Kaepernick finding his stride.

Still, the 49ers remain near the bottom in almost every notable offensive category.

San Francisco’s offense is still last in the NFL with just 100 points scored. And 1,927 all-purpose yards has head coach Jim Tomsula’s squad ranked No. 30 in the league.

The 49ers do have an above-average ground game, but the aerial attack comes in 29th with a mere 1,217 yards through the air. These numbers may be skewed thanks to the horrific efforts of Kaepernick during Weeks 3 and 4. But the 49ers would still like to climb out of this position.

Let’s take a look at a side-by-side offensive breakdown between both teams:[table id=4 /]

Seattle holds an advantage here, but there is one notable surprise. The Seahawks have mustered just two offensive rushing touchdowns on the season. And running back Marshawn Lynch’s end-zone score in Week 6 was his first all season — quite the oddity.

49ers fans know the inconsistency of their offense and will hope San Francisco can build upon it’s recent successes. But the Seahawks defense offers up a significantly greater challenge than those of the Ravens or New York Giants.

Defensive Statistics

The days of elite San Francisco and Seattle defenses leading the way out of the NFC West may be gone now and, while the Seahawks defense is still ranked relatively high, something is clearly amiss with the 49ers’ rival on that side of the ball.

Losing four fourth-quarter leads is a testament to this. Good teams don’t falter in the waning minutes of a game. And the Seahawks have developed a bad habit here.

But on the other hand, the 49ers can’t exactly brag of a stellar defense either. In fact, San Francisco’s defense remains at the bottom similarly to its offense.

Let’s take a look:[table id=5 /]

The 49ers are giving up, on average, one more yard per play in comparison to the Seahawks. While both teams are respectable against the run, there remains a significant gap in defending against the pass.

San Francisco’s numbers weren’t helped by what Giants quarterback Eli Manning did to the secondary in Week 5 (525 passing yards and three touchdowns). In fact, the 49ers have allowed 300-plus passing yards in five of their six games so far.

Seattle’s once-vaunted secondary may not seem as dominant as it used to be. But a top-five defense against the pass still presents a lofty challenge for Kaepernick and the passing game. The trick for San Francisco will be to successfully attack a still-solid defense while not allowing any sort of offensive prowess from quarterback Russell Wilson and a struggling Seahawks offense.

Any Conclusions?

A statistics teacher of mine in college once told me, “Statistics are like bikinis. They reveal a lot, but they don’t show everything.”

Such is the case with the numbers between San Francisco and Seattle.

Based on the offensive and defensive statistics alone, the Seahawks are the better team albeit with an identical record. They’ve lost a number of close games and still have a positive points-for/against differential.

On the other hand, the 49ers have been up and down over the course of the season — mostly down as their recent four-game losing streak prior to Week 6 would suggest.

One X-factor which can’t be accounted by numbers is momentum. San Francisco has a bit more of that given its near victory in Week 5 and its solid offensive-based win in Week 6. The Seahawks can’t state a lot of positives from their stretch during this time span.

Maybe this will be the critical element the 49ers need to somehow come away with a win over Seattle at home in front of a national audience.

If this happens, San Francisco will have the luxury of throwing these statistics out the window.

All statistics, records and accolades courtesy of and unless otherwise indicated.

Next: Top Takeaways from 49ers Week 6 Win over Ravens

More from Niner Noise