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For 49ers-Seahawks, ‘soccer gods have been smiling on us’

SANTA CLARA — Who could be higher ready to cope with a rain-soaked soccer area than a groundskeeper from Seattle, proper?

So went the 49ers’ thought course of this week, after they contacted the Seahawks to make an unprecedented request. They wished to fly in a employed hand for Saturday’s NFC Wild Card showdown: Seattle’s head groundskeeper, Sean Vanos.

So involved a few coming storm — amid the Bay Space’s soggiest stretch of climate in years — the 49ers requested for help from their playoff opponent and divisional rival to cope with it. Jay Glazer was the primary to report the transfer on the Fox Sports activities telecast, and the Bay Space Information Group confirmed the Seahawks’ groundskeeper was available.

Nonetheless, regardless of per week of forecasts calling for the rain to proceed by kickoff Saturday, these precautions proved to be pointless. It poured earlier than the sport and drenched the sector quickly after it ended, however for a four-hour window Saturday afternoon, it stayed principally dry over Santa Clara.

“The soccer gods have been smiling on us,” proper sort out Mike McGlinchey mentioned after the 49ers’ 41-23 win. “I assumed it may’ve been like a 10-6 recreation as an alternative of the 40 factors we put up. … They wished the very best product on the sector.”

Simply because the 49ers wanted no assist pouring it on the Seahawks to advance to the divisional spherical, they wanted little help from Seattle’s groundskeeper, both.

Tailgating followers huddled underneath canopies earlier than kickoff, and the scheduled flyover was canceled. However the skies, which have dumped greater than a foot of rain on Santa Clara since Christmas, dried up earlier than halftime, and even briefly shined blue.

“How bout that?” McGlinchey mentioned. “4 weeks in a row, they have been calling for rain on our recreation day and we acquired sunshine for 2 quarters in the present day. That was superior.”

Followers who roared for Arik Armstead’s sack that ended Seattle’s first possession of the sport had traded of their bright-green all-weather gear for his or her typical gameday attracts by the point Deebo Samuel was scampering down the sideline for the game-sealing rating within the fourth quarter.

Regardless of the 49ers’ penchant for working the ball, and the desire to maintain it on the bottom in moist climate, rookie Brock Purdy tried his third-most passes since turning into the beginning quarterback.

Making his first profession postseason begin, Purdy was both bothered by the early rain or his nerves — beginning 1-for-4 with a few dangerous misfires — however settled in as the sport went on and completed with three touchdowns and 332 yards passing.

Whereas fullback Kyle Juszczyk admitted the ball was a bit slick early on, the 49ers have been unfazed by the moist climate, or lack thereof. In any case, it has been raining at historic ranges for nearly a month now, and the 49ers do not have an indoor apply facility to flee the situations.

“Carry on the rain, man,” security Jimmie Ward mentioned. “It is working for us.”

Linebacker Dr. Greenlaw mentioned he slipped as soon as on the aim line however made the play anyway.

“I did not actually discover it,” Greenlaw mentioned, echoing the sentiment from a jubilant 49ers locker room. “It will rain and cease, however actually I did not even give it some thought. I simply performed.”

All of the oxygen spent on sports activities radio this week about how the situations — and the Seahawks’ familiarity in it — would influence the sport proved to be for naught. Seattle took a 17-16 lead into halftime however did not rating once more till the sport was all however determined late within the fourth quarter.

The sport turned when the ball slipped unfastened from Geno Smith’s palms late within the third quarter. By then, although, the rain had stopped. Extra credit score is because of Charles Omenihu, who compelled the ball free, and Nick Bosa, who recovered it.

It made the two-hour journey from Tracy worthwhile for Ingrid Alcantara, a lifelong Niners fan. Alcantara, an MRI technician, mentioned she hadn’t missed a recreation this season however thought-about staying dwelling due to the forecast.

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