10:58 PM ET
- Nick WagonerESPN Staff Writer Close
- Covered Rams for nine years for stlouisrams.com
- Previously covered University of Missouri football
- Member of Pro Football Writers of America
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Call it the week of broken streaks.
One day after the Cleveland Browns ended the Denver Broncos' 11-game winning streak against them and three days after the Los Angeles Chargers put a stop to the Kansas City Chiefs' nine-game hex over them, the San Francisco 49ers made it a trifecta Sunday with their 26-23 victory against the Seattle Seahawks.
Kicker Robbie Gould's 36-yard field goal with 3 minutes, 6 seconds left in overtime brought an end to Seattle's 10-game winning streak against the 49ers, a span that included a loss in the NFC Championship Game following the 2013 season and dated to Dec. 8, 2013, when the Niners previously beat their once-fierce NFC West division rivals.
The most recent loss in the streak came just two weeks ago, when the Seahawks walloped San Francisco 43-16 in Seattle.
"It means a ton," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. "Not all of us have been here since 2013, but a lot of us were here last year. We were all definitely here two weeks ago. It's a division rival. We're also very sick about the way we lost two weeks ago.
"I was really proud of the guys just not saying anything. I just knew it meant a lot to our guys. Especially after two weeks and to the fans and everything since 2013. I hated having to answer those questions all week. I definitely didn't want to go a whole 'nother year doing it. This was our last opportunity to end that and I'm glad we don't have to hear that again."
Lest Shanahan have any concern about whether his now-4-10 team would be able to bounce back from that recent loss and come ready to play against a Seattle team that would have clinched a playoff spot with a victory, he made it a point all week to drive home the importance of ending the streak.
Niners cornerback Richard Sherman, the longtime Seahawks star, said Shanahan made his team "painfully aware" of the losing streak. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh played what Sherman described as a "highlight tape for the other team" to his players to make sure they remembered what happened in the previous meeting.
"We took it personally," defensive tackle DeForest Buckner said. "They flat-out embarrassed us two weeks ago. Everybody from top to bottom wasn't happy about it. We knew it was going to be a dogfight coming in this week and especially [because] we just played them two weeks ago. It was a long two weeks, for sure. Everybody wanted to get out there and redeem themselves. From start to finish, everybody gave it just a little more."
If that wasn't enough, according to quarterback Nick Mullens, Shanahan stood up at the team meeting Saturday night and delivered another simple message. Shanahan told the Niners that he didn't even "have to tell you all anything. If you're not pumped up for this, there's something wrong with you."
That message apparently resonated.
"Sometimes you need to touch guys' pride," Sherman said. "You need to have some pride. You're a grown man. They went out there and embarrassed you. How are you going to respond? And I think guys showed how they responded."
Sherman: Young 49ers players 'stepped up to the moment'
Richard Sherman says it means a lot defeating his former team, but is particularly proud of Nick Mullens, who stepped up with the game on the line.
For Sherman, Sunday's win carried even more weight. After making his first trip back to Seattle in a different uniform two weeks ago, Sherman acknowledged that the game had a little more meaning, even if he said it didn't in the days leading up to it.
Sherman also had poked at the Seahawks and particularly quarterback Russell Wilson in his Thursday news conference that week. This past week, Sherman was again in the middle of a battle of words with the Seahawks after Seattle defensive end Frank Clark declared the Sherman era in Seattle over.
Sherman left little doubt about how much he wanted Sunday's victory early on, when he spent a few minutes successfully arguing with officials, who threw a flag against him for an apparent illegal contact. After much discussion, that flag was picked up.
When the game ended, Sherman celebrated at length with his team, and Shanahan and multiple teammates mentioned how meaningful the victory was for him.
Asked whether he believed the Seahawks might have overlooked the Niners considering they had just beaten them soundly two weeks earlier, Sherman expressed amusement at the notion.
"I highly doubt it," Sherman said. "I highly doubt it. Because just like I'm pretty inflammatory on the other side, I'm pretty inflammatory on both sides. My truth isn't always everybody's truth. Sometimes my comments are used as — I highly doubt Pete [Carroll] is overlooking a game that I'm playing. And Russell as well. Those guys played hard. They played their game. They brought it. It wasn't like they played a lackadaisical game, just gave away things. They played hard. They battled. Our guys just executed down the stretch. We played our tails off."
The 49ers' win didn't come without a price in the big picture, though. Their fourth victory dropped them from No. 1 in the draft order to No. 4, with the Arizona Cardinals, Oakland Raiders and New York Jets now ahead of them in the pecking order with two games to play.
Still, there wasn't anyone in the Niners locker room who cared much about 2019 after they'd followed in the footsteps of the Chargers and Browns and knocked off a team that had their number for so long.
"It is huge for us," tackle Mike McGlinchey said. "We talk about it all of the time. Seattle is No. 1 for us in terms of the rivalry. We hadn't beaten them in a while. We have a lot of guys in this locker room that this game means a lot to, Sherm, Saleh, all of the guys that played there, have coached there. It is huge for us to get over this hump and build on this for the next two weeks and obviously next season, as well."