The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers entered their first meeting last season with a combined 15-2 record, good for the third-best winning percentage of any Week 10-or-later matchup in Monday Night Football history.
And unlike so many highly anticipated games that fall short of the hype, this one -- as play-by-play man Joe Tessitore put it on the ESPN broadcast -- over-delivered.
The back-and-forth battle of NFC West rivals had a defensive touchdown by each team, a dominant individual performance from Jadeveon Clowney and some late magic from Russell Wilson. There was more drama than four quarters could contain -- and even the overtime coin toss had some.
"To start off," Wilson said to begin his postgame remarks, "that was the craziest game I've ever been a part of."
ESPN will re-air the Seahawks' 27-24 win from Nov. 11, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. ET Monday as the network continues to revisit MNF classics.
By this point in the season, Wilson was squarely in the MVP conversation, having carried the Seahawks to a 7-2 record heading into their showdown with the 49ers at Levi's Stadium. He helped Seattle hand the eventual NFC West champs their first loss by leading a game-winning drive in overtime after throwing a rare red zone interception on Seattle's previous possession.
It was the 32nd game-winning drive by Wilson in the fourth quarter or overtime, the most of any NFL player (counting regular-season and postseason games) since he entered the league in 2012.
Viewers will get a reminder of something that separates Wilson from most other quarterbacks. He was sacked five times by the 49ers' No. 1-ranked defense but made big plays with his arms and legs when he escaped pressure. Jimmy Garoppolo, meanwhile, misfired on multiple occasions in the face of it.
As badly as the Seahawks' defense in general -- and their pass rush in particular -- struggled last season, everything was working in this game. No one was better than Clowney. He returned a fumble for a touchdown and set up another Seattle TD with a strip-sack, which was one of his five tackles and five official quarterback hits. He continually forced Garoppolo off his spot with 10 QB disruptions, per NFL Next Gen Stats.
It was the most dominant performance by a Seahawks defensive lineman under coach Pete Carroll, and it's Exhibit A for anyone who believes Seattle should re-sign Clowney.
This game marked the Seahawks debuts of Josh Gordon and Quandre Diggs. Gordon made a pair of clutch catches on third down, while Diggs picked off Garoppolo on one of a few throws that went through his receivers' hands. The 49ers didn't have All-Pro tight end George Kittle and lost No. 1 wideout Emmanuel Sanders in the first quarter.
They were also without kicker Robbie Gould. His replacement, undrafted rookie Chase McLaughlin, was on his way to playing unlikely hero when he hit all three of his field goal tries in regulation, including a 47-yarder in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter to tie the game. But he missed badly from the same distance in overtime, opening the door for Wilson and the Seahawks.
There were so many strong storylines heading into this game and so much intrigue during it that the broadcast team of Tessitore, Booger McFarland and Lisa Salters didn't get to the Richard Sherman angle until the start of overtime.
Sherman was at midfield moments earlier for an OT coin toss that became something of a subplot of its own. Geno Smith, Seattle's backup quarterback, called heads clearly enough for referee Alex Kemp to hear him from a couple of feet away. But it sounded ambiguous enough on TV to become the NFL's version of the Yanny/Laurel debate.
In a fitting end for such a white-knuckle affair, it wasn't over until Jason Myers’ 42-yard field goal try snuck just inside the right upright as the overtime clock hit double zeroes. It was one of an NFL record-tying 10 one-score wins by the 11-5 Seahawks in 2019, and easily the most thrilling.