Ryan Neal Shines While Seahawks Defense Struggles

Ryan Neal

Getty Ryan Neal (left) celebrates a big play against the 49ers.

The Seattle Seahawks rebounded from a two-game losing streak on October 3, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 28-21 at Levi’s Stadium. The defense struggled to contain an injury-riddled offense, but one player shined when it mattered. Dime cornerback Ryan Neal provided a consistent presence and made multiple plays to get the defense off of the field.

The fourth-year corner made his presence known at the start of the second quarter. The 49ers lined up at the Seahawks 30-yard line, facing a third and 15. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo found tight end George Kittle on a screen, but Neal tracked the big man down after only a seven-yard gain. This play forced a field goal attempt by punter Mitch Wishnowsky, who missed while replacing an injured Robbie Gould.

Neal made another major play to keep the Seahawks in contention late in the second quarter. He broke up a pass intended for Kittle, forcing a punt from the 46-yard line. This play ended the drive after only 1:37 and provided one more opportunity for Russell Wilson and the battered offense to gain positive yards. The unit responded with a six-play drive that ended with DK Metcalf in the end zone.

Neal continued to make plays into the second half after Trey Lance replaced an injured Garoppolo. He stopped the rookie on a run early in the third quarter to force a punt. He added another stop against Lance during the fourth quarter to force another fourth down.

The Secondary Continued To Struggle Against Wide Receivers

While Neal consistently made plays during his limited time on the field, the secondary as a whole struggled early and often. The game could have easily been 21-7 49ers at halftime, but missed opportunities by Garoppolo and company kept the Seahawks in the game.

Sidney Jones made his debut for the Seahawks after joining the team via trade on August 30. He replaced Tre Flowers in the starting lineup across from DJ Reed and faced off with Deebo Samuel on multiple plays. However, he struggled to limit opposing players.

Jones gave up a 10-yard gain to Samuel on third-and-10 for a first down. He also played a role in a blown coverage leading to a 76-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Jamal Adams originally had coverage on Samuel, but he moved inside while the receiver ran to the outside.

Head coach Pete Carroll told reporters in his postgame press conference that Jones made a mistake with the coverage on the play. He was supposed to move to the outside with Samuel, but he went inside with Brandon Aiyuk, joining two other defenders. The receiver was all alone and running free to the end zone.

The Seahawks’ defense ultimately gave up 314 passing yards during the trip to the Bay Area. However, the team also made plays when it mattered. They kept Lance and the offense out of the end zone long enough for Wilson to put 28 points on the board.

Wilson Turned in a Historic Performance

The trip to the Bay Area started out poorly for the Seattle Seahawks on both sides of the ball. The offense punted five times in the first half before finally putting together a drive to tie the game. However, the group made progress as the game progressed, resulting in a historic outing for Wilson.

The Super Bowl-winning quarterback won the 100th game of his NFL career. He joined Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the only two quarterbacks to reach this mark in their first 10 seasons as starters.

Additionally, the quarterback threw two touchdowns during the 28-21 win, giving him 276 in his career. He passed Vinny Testaverde and took sole possession of 17th place on the all-time passing touchdowns list. Wilson is now within reach of legendary Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas (290).

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