The Seahawks and 49ers combined for several classic defensive duels the last time they were good at the same time.
It was fitting, then, for the NFC West rivals to mark their shared return to national prominence Monday with a battle reminiscent of their early-2010s bouts. While Seattle (8-2) edged San Francisco (8-1), 27-24, in overtime due in large part to its havoc-wreaking defense, the 49ers’ unit was nearly as strong.
This was just the second in the history of this matchup where the teams combined for at least seven turnovers (the other time came in 1991). The 10 total sacks were the second-most ever in the rivalry — there were 11 in 2014 and 2015. And the extra period needed five possessions and the full 10 minutes to be decided.
MORE: Highlights from 49ers-Seahawks classic
The takeaways each side created set the tone.
Seahawks edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney scooped-and-scored to pull his team within three points in the second quarter before watching the 49ers defense pull off a similarly impressive fumble recovery moments later. San Francisco defensive back Jaquiski Tartt denied D.K. Metcalf at the goal line with an athletic strip that kept San Francisco on top entering halftime.
After Clowney forced a fumble later in the third quarter, the 49ers responded with their own defensive touchdown to cut their deficit to 21-18.
Overtime predictably brought additional defensive swings.
The Seahawks appeared ready to, at the very least, take a three-point lead on the initial possession, but quarterback Russell Wilson was picked off inside the 10-yard line. Dre Greenlaw took the interception back 47 yards into Seattle territory. Soon after, rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin shanked a potential game-winner.
Finally, as time expired in overtime, the Seahawks claimed victory via a 42-yard boot by Jason Myers.
For fans who did not tune in Monday, the final score perhaps indicates an offensive back-and-forth. In reality, it was closer to a throwback between teams that have developed a meaningful rivalry over the past 15 years.
Expect more of the same when San Francisco heads to Seattle for a rematch in Week 17. There might be an NFC West title on the line then.