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49ers vs. Seahawks: San Francisco Week 15 Game Balls & Highlights

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San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks Week 15 game balls Richie James
© Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

We hand out a handful of game balls to the San Francisco 49ers from the Niners’ upset overtime victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 15 of the 2018 NFL regular season.

On Mondays Locked On 49ers Podcast, host Brian Peacock provided a rundown of the Niners’ game — including game notes and key takeaways — and handed out five game balls from the San Francisco 49ers’ 26-23 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

For the second consecutive week, the 49ers — a team playing for little more than pride — defeated a team fighting for a playoff berth, as they kept their NFC West rival from clinching an NFC wild-card spot with an exciting win in overtime. The Niners’ Week 15 victory snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Seahawks, dating back to December 8, 2013.

With a victory over Seattle comes a plethora of game balls — five to be exact. The first game ball goes to the 49ers Faithful who weathered the elements at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday and stayed to the end in order to cheer their team to victory. As for the 49ers on the field, Sunday’s victory tasted the sweetest for our next game ball recipient:

49ers CB Richard Sherman

Instead of testing the free-agent market after his release, 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman immediately signed a contract with his former team’s biggest rival. While the move was an obvious gesture to the team Sherman felt abandoned him, playing in San Francisco offered the star corner another perk: playing the Seahawks twice a year.

After getting blown out in their first meeting of 2018, the 49ers brought a little extra to the Week 15 rematch, because they knew what a victory would mean to their defensive leader. For his leadership, his inspiration and his play on the field, Sherman received the Niners’ locker room game ball, and a game ball from us as well:

San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks Game 15 game balls Richard Sherman

 

49ers WR Richie James

Wide receiver Richie James played the worst game of his rookie season in Week 14, and lost his job as the 49ers’ punt returner in the process. In Week 15, James made the play of the game — and likely the special-teams play of the season for San Francisco.

When the Seahawks stopped the 49ers on their opening possession and then drove down the field for an easy score, it appeared that the writing was on the wall; here comes another blowout loss for the Niners. But James would have none of that, as he returned the following kickoff for a 97-yard touchdown, which entirely changed the momentum of the game:

San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks Game 15 game balls Richie James

 

49ers DT DeForest Buckner

Despite his Pro-Bowl snub, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner continued his Pro-Bowl caliber season with a dominating performance against the Seahawks in Week 15. Buckner wreaked havoc in Seattle’s backfield throughout the contest, while making a number of key drive-altering plays.

Buckner’s final stat line included a game-high 11 tackles and four tackles for loss. Buckner also added a pair of sacks, the first of which gave the top defender double-digit sacks in 2018. Amassing 11 sacks in 14 games is quite the feat for an interior defensive lineman, and although Buckner failed to make the initial roster, he could still make the trip to Orlando as a Pro-Bowl alternate:

San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks Game 15 game balls DeForest Buckner

 

49ers K Robbie Gould

Another player who was deserving of a bid but failed to make the NFC’s Pro Bowl roster is kicker Robbie Gould. Gould has converted 97 percent of his field goals in 2018, including Sunday’s game-winner, and continues to be cool and confident even under the pressure of overtime.

After finishing off the Seahawks, Gould finished the day with four field goals and a pair of extra points. Gould contributed over half of the 49ers’ points in their overtime victory, and was perfect on the day despite difficult kicking conditions:

San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks Game 15 game balls Robbie Gould

Listen to Locked On 49ers host Brian Peacock’s review of the San Francisco 49ers’ Week 15 victory over the Seattle Seahawks — including game notes and key takeaways from the Niners’ overtime upset — on Monday’s’ Rapid React podcast:

Chris Wilson is the Lead Writer for Locked on 49ers, a FanRag Sports network partner. You may have seen Chris’ work on NFL game theory, statistical analysis and film breakdowns at FanSided, NinerNoise, 49erswebzone, Insidethe49 and others. Follow Chris on Twitter @cgawilson.

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