Wilson injury casts cloud over Seahawks' romp of 49ers
SEATTLE (AP) Just as the Seattle Seahawks' offense got going, they're back wondering if another injury to Russell Wilson will return them to the slog of the first two weeks.
Wilson sounded confident on Sunday after leading the Seahawks to a 37-18 win over the San Francisco 49ers that he'll be fine going into Week 4 after suffering a sprained left knee in the third quarter. But it's the second significant injury Wilson has suffered in the first three weeks of the season and after a dynamic first half where the Seahawks flashed the punch that was expected from one of the favorites in the NFC.
Wilsons suffered a sprained left knee in the third quarter of the blowout victory, getting pulled down awkwardly by San Francisco's Eli Harold. He missed one play, returned to finish off Seattle's scoring drive and then was a spectator the rest of the night.
Wilson is already dealing with a sprained right ankle suffered in the opener against Miami. Seattle is fortunate to have an early bye in Week 5.
''It was just a messy play,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ''He tried to get out and he got tangled up. He was just fortunate.''
Before Wilson's injury, Seattle was flying offensively helped in part by six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown from Jimmy Graham – all in the first half. The Seahawks had 311 yards of offense at halftime, more than they had in all of their Week 2 loss at Los Angeles.
Such is not the case in San Francisco, where the 49ers showed none of the offensive potential they displayed in the first two weeks. After shutting out Los Angeles in the opener and scoring 27 points at Carolina last week, the 49ers only got going offensively in the fourth quarter when they were looking at a 34-point deficit.
Before the start of the fourth quarter, the 49ers had not converted any of their 10 third-down attempts and had just five first downs for the game.
''We are the same group of guys that we were on Monday night that we are right now,'' San Francisco running back Carlos Hyde said. ''We just got to be consistent and we know what we can do when we play our best ball.''
Despite what Blaine Gabbert showed the first two weeks, some think the 49ers would be better off with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback.
''There is no challenge. He threw for 100 yards. The challenge is him reading the defenses and staying in the pocket,'' Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett said. ''What's the point in running when you have to throw the ball? I think Kaepernick gives the team a better chance of winning, but that's just my opinion.''
Here's what else to know from Seattle's fifth straight regular season win over the 49ers:
THE AWAKENING: Christine Michael looked just fine knowing that almost the entire running load for Seattle would fall on his shoulders.
Michael rushed for 106 yards and the first two touchdowns of his NFL career, both coming in the first quarter. Michael flashed for a 41-yard TD run on Seattle's opening possession, just three plays into the game, then added a 4-yard run later in the first quarter as Seattle jumped to a 14-0 lead.
Even when Thomas Rawls returns healthy, Michael may have shown enough through the first three weeks to deserve the starting spot full time.
ENDING THE STREAK: Even though the majority of his yards came with the game already decided, Hyde ended one of Seattle's longest streaks. The Seahawks had not allowed a 100-yard rusher since Week 11 of the 2014 season, but Hyde topped the century mark on his 8-yard touchdown run in the closing minutes.
Hyde finished with 103 yards on 21 carries, but 67 of those yards came in the fourth quarter.
ELITE PEDESTRIAN: It might be time to stop questioning Doug Baldwin's place in the hierarchy of NFL wide receivers.
Baldwin had eight catches for a career-high 164 yards and a touchdown against the 49ers. Going back to the middle of last season – a span of 11 regular season games – Baldwin has 67 catches for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns. Baldwin was beat up with minor back and knee injuries coming out of the Week 2 loss, but looked just fine in tearing up the 49ers' secondary.
NO CHIPS: Chip Kelly's offensive mind has yet to figure out Seattle. The Seahawks beat Philadelphia 24-14 two years ago when Kelly was the coach of the Eagles, holding them to 139 total yards. The 49ers managed 254 yards on Sunday.
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