Ray Ratto: ‘Seahawks Are Still Better Than 49ers’
Here’s what we know: The San Francisco 49ers are going to make the playoffs, and they’re going to open on the road – probably against somebody not that great.
Let’s say Chicago or maybe even Dallas. Okay, great.
Assuming the 49ers win that first game, are they capable of beating the Seahawks in Seattle?
“Capable? Yes. Likely? No,” CSN Bay Area columnist Ray Ratto said on The John Feinstein Show. “Seattle is still the better team, and there’s no indication that has changed dramatically.”
The Seahawks destroyed San Francisco in Seattle in Week 2, forcing five turnovers and winning 29-3. Seattle lost the Week 14 rematch in San Francisco, but the 49ers needed a last-second Phil Dawson field goal to squeak out a 19-17 win.
“They crushed them in Seattle (and) barely (lost) in San Francisco,” Ratto said. “Seattle is the best. That’s just painfully clear.
“But (can the 49ers win)? Yeah. They’ve got all their players now. Michael Crabtree makes them a more dynamic offense, and they’re not likely to commit five turnovers (again). But Seattle’s better. They have been, and they continue to be.”
Indeed, the only drama in Seattle pertains to Brandon Browner, who has been suspended indefinitely for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Browner, who has missed the Seahawks’ last four games with a groin injury, served a four-game suspension last season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Are Pete Carroll and the Seahawks addressing this harshly enough?
“Are they addressing it enough? I mean, you have to ask if they care enough – and I don’t mean just Seattle,” Ratto said. “The one thing that I know about sports is that if you really want to get rid of something, your punishments have to be over the top, and if they’re not over the top, the risk-reward is just of whack.
“The interesting thing, though, is they’re just as good without Browner as with him. I think they’re that good. They don’t miss a beat when a guy vanishes.
“So on the one hand, is the NFL doing enough to stop this? Is Seattle doing enough to stop this? No. On the other hand, it maybe doesn’t matter in this case.”
What does matter is the play of Russell wilson, who has thrown for 3,000+ yards and rushed for 500+ yards on the season. He also has 25 touchdowns (24 pass, one rush) to just eight interceptions.
Just how good has Wilson been this year? And just how good will he be for the next 10 years?
“All quarterbacks are as good as their ability to move, their ability to stay healthy,” Ratto said. “If he gets hit the wrong way once, 10 years turns into 10 days. But as long as he’s healthy and as long as he’s on that team with Marshawn Lynch as his running back, he’s going to be very good because quarterbacks don’t stand alone. It’s one of the great myths of football that you can separate a quarterback from everything around him and determine his greatness.
“If the Seahawks couldn’t block for him, then he’d be mediocre. If they didn’t have Marshawn Lynch to run, he’d be mediocre. It’s the same with Kaepernick. It’s the same with Manning. It’s the same with all of them. To a certain extent, we basically have reduced football to a quarterback and 10 chorus girls – and that’s not the way it works in the real world.”