The Seattle Seahawks sent a message that was louder than the screaming denizens of CenturyLink Field.
Led by four touchdown passes by Russell Wilson, the Seahawks secured their spot in the NFC playoffs with a 42-13 pasting of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night. Instead of clinching the NFC West and solidifying their hold on the No. 2 seed in the conference, the 49ers limp back home wondering how they could be so outclassed on a national stage.
Beating up on the likes of the Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills -- as the Seahawks did the past two weeks -- is one thing. Embarrassing the mighty 49ers tells us the Seahawks can beat anyone in the NFC. The Seahawks are playing with all sorts of confidence, and they appear to be cresting at the perfect time.
Now 10-5, the Seahawks still are in the mix for the NFC West title. They would take the division with a win over the St. Louis Rams next week (good luck, Jeff Fisher), coupled with a 49ers loss to the lowly Cardinals.
We don't suspect the 49ers will gag this division away, which means the Seahawks likely will be on the road as long as they're in the playoffs. That makes them less of a threat, but this is not a team to be dismissed.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.