SEATTLE -- There was nothing pretty about that game between the 49ers and Seahawks, you know the marquee game of the day, the jewel in the crown of the NFL's second week the Seahawks won 29-3.
The first half told the whole story, not a pretty story. It ended with the Seahawks leading 5-0. That's not a football score. That's baseball or soccer.
The battle between quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick, the so-called battle of an eyebrow, was no battle at all. Neither quarterback looked special or even good, if you want to be honest. Wilson looked better over the course of the game, but neither was Johnny Unitas.
Although both defenses played well — Seattle's played better — the offenses for both teams were skittish and nervous and simply not up to the occasion — and it was an occasion, a happening, an event.
But here's the strange thing. Despite the lack of offensive design, despite the lack of intricate plays or even thrilling plays, the game was good in its way. Yes, it was. It was a throwback to football as it used to be, to the core and heart of football. Football is a game about imposing your will on the other guys, and that's what both defenses did for a while. There is beauty in a game like that — call it rough beauty.
The Seahawks were saying to the 49ers and the 49ers were saying to the Seahawks, "Can you play rough? Do you want to play rough? Do you have the stomach for this? Do you have the will for this?
The stomach and will involved rain and thunder and lightning — it's like it involved the wrath of God. And after an hour delay, the teams played some more and the best team, the Seahawks, survived.
They survived by being basic and insistent and tough. If you look at the play by play, the Seahawks' game plan basically went Marshawn Lynch, Marshawn Lynch, Marshawn Lynch and more Marshawn Lynch. They were daring the 49ers to stop Lynch if they could. The 49ers couldn't.
There is something to be said for this kind of guts-and-glory, sweat-and-muscle, hurt-and-be-hurt football where every inch gained requires a battle, every first down is an enormous victory, every point feels like riches. Rough football is beautiful, if you just can see it.
But the 49ers were not rough enough. You couldn't help noticing some of their players were missing in action. This tended to hurt the overall effort.
Missing was Kaepernick. He has been anointed the prince of quarterbacks so early in his career. And in some ways he deserves to be the prince. It's just that he turned over the ball four times — three interceptions and one fumble. This is hardly the stuff of legend. It's hold-your-nose stuff.
Part of it wasn't his fault. The Seahawks' corners took the Niners' receivers, whoever they are, right out of the game.
Missing in action was Anquan Boldin. He caught his first and only pass at 9:36 of the fourth quarter. It was for seven yards. The Seattle corners nullified him. He was last week's hero and this week's invisible man. Seattle brought him back to grim reality, brought the entire San Francisco offense back to grim reality. Afterward, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said, "Where was Anquan?"