The San Francisco 49ers pulled off a surprising upset over the visiting Seattle Seahawks in Week 15, which means it’s time to take some player inventory and see who’s rising or falling.
Well, wasn’t that a pleasant surprise for the San Francisco 49ers.
The Niners managed to pull off a Week 15 upset, beating the visiting Seattle Seahawks 26-23 in overtime, pushing off Seattle’s bid to clinch a playoff berth for another week and ending a 10-game losing streak to the Seahawks.
It wasn’t always pretty. But when kicker Robbie Gould nailed his fourth field goal of the game in the extra frame, it gave the 49ers and their fans a little bit of bragging rights after this NFC West rivalry turned so one-sided many years ago.
Another key facet of the game was how head coach Kyle Shanahan continued to employ young players on both sides of the ball, often electing to go with first- and second-year contributors over established veterans. He did so the week before in San Francisco’s home win over the Denver Broncos, and it look as if that will be the trend for the Niners’ final two games of 2018.
Since this last stretch is all about evaluation for 2019, Niner Noise decided to help Shanahan and Co. out by looking at a player stock watch following this Week 15 victory.
Who’s up and who’s down? Let’s take a look.
Stock Up: Wide Receiver/Returner Richie James
Yet James helped rectify with those earlier gaffes with an impressive 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown right after Seattle took a quick 6-0 lead in the first quarter. With one man to beat, Seahawks kicker Sebastian Janikowski, James was off to the races:
James has explosiveness, although the ball-security issues will be a concern for now. Fortunately, and considering San Francisco’s special teams haven’t performed well this season, James’ stock rise should be an added bonus as the Niners figure out depth components heading into this offseason.