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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

November 28, 2014 at 5:30 AM

Seahawks vs. 49ers: National media toasting Richard Sherman, roasting Colin Kaepernick

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman  hoists a turkey as his quarterback Russell Wilson, far left, hoists a leg as they leave the field after beating the San Francisco 49ers 19-3 on Thanksgiving. John Lok / Seattle Times staff

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman hoists a turkey and quarterback Russell Wilson, left, hoists a leg as they leave the field after beating the San Francisco 49ers 19-3 on Thanksgiving.
John Lok / Seattle Times staff

The Seahawks’ victory over the San Francisco 49ers wasn’t just a signature win with playoff implications.

It was a bold statement that the reigning Super Bowl champs’ defense is back in 2013 form, a highlight and quote reel for Richard Sherman, and another magical performance by Russell Wilson. It also revealed some fatal flaws in the 49ers, proved that quarterback Colin Kaepernick is regressing and confirmed that coach Jim Harbaugh has zero backing from the team’s owner.

Exactly what it means depends on which national media or major newspaper sources you read. The media watched the game in amazement, just as you probably did (nearly everyone, after all, expected another close game), then spent the night trying to decide what it all meant.

Here’s a roundup of what the national media and major newspapers said about the game.

“SEAHAWKS ARE BACK: BIG HITS, TRASH TALK AND ALL”

By Mike Freeman, Bleacher Report

On the field, before the game in which the Seattle Seahawks outcoached, outhustled, outsmarted and outpunched the San Francisco 49ers, Richard Sherman was taunting the 49ers’ crowd. He pointed to some of them, who were taunting him first. It didn’t stop there.

After the Seahawks shut down the 49ers offense on one early series, Sherman went to the Seattle bench and began pointing and jawing again at some of the fans behind it. After he intercepted Colin Gabbert—er, Colin Kaepernick—he sprinted about 10 yards from his teammates, while still on the field, to taunt the 49ers fans again.

The Seahawks were emotional, fiery and, well, mean as hell. The 19-3 final score didn’t show it, but this was a total beatdown. The president pardoned the wrong turkeys.

After every big stop, the Seahawks defenders would jump, high-five and celebrate. They’d do so excessively, particularly after stopping a runner or embarrassing Kaepernick, which was often.

When a 49ers receiver made a catch on the Seattle sideline, one of the inactive Seahawks players, not even in uniform, started jawing at him. When a 49ers fumble happened near the Seattle sideline in the second quarter, again one of the inactive Seahawks players—also not even wearing a uniform — almost jumped on top of the pile, but an assistant coach grabbed him before he could.

Running back Marshawn Lynch got a penalty for taunting. It was probably the most he’s talked in 20 years.

They were mad. They were ornery. They are back.

It’s official now: The Seahawks are the most dangerous team in the NFC.

“DEFENSE SHINES THROUGH IN SEAHAWKS’ WIN OVER 49ERS”

By Doug Farrar, SI.com

A week ago at this time, the Seahawks were looking down the barrel of a season that was falling away from them. They were 6-4, losers of three of their last six games, and locker room discord had split a team that was most certainly on the same page all the way through last season’s Super Bowl run.

Then, there was a series of team meetings sparked by safety Earl Thomas‘ donnybrook with a couple of larger players who Thomas didn’t think were taking things seriously enough. With a new united sense of purpose, the Seahawks welcomed the 9-1 Arizona Cardinals to CenturyLink Field last Sunday and beat them into submission, 19-3.

And then, on Thanksgiving night, Seattle traveled down to Santa Clara to continue the NFL’s most compelling current rivalry and made this game a lot less close than it had been in most recent iterations. In dominating the 49ers by that same 19-3 margin, the Seahawks gave up just 164 total yards. They did this after allowing 204 yards to the Cardinals, and all of a sudden the Seahawks appear to be the team nobody wants to face. Especially on defense.

“WILSON, SEAHAWKS LEAVING KAEPERNICK, 49ERS BEHIND; CARDINALS ARE NEXT”

By David Steele, sportingnews.com

It doesn’t seem this way, considering how lopsided Seattle’s 19-3 Thanksgiving night win in San Francisco was, but the NFC West is still a three-team fight for the time being. The Seahawks, now 8-4, are still doing the chasing, still behind the 9-2 Cardinals, but they’re in position to be the one chased — because they have the best quarterback, by far.

The gap between Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick grew to a canyon on Thursday night. The 49ers couldn’t have expected that at this point in their evolution and in Kaepernick’s, but there’s a lot more separating him and Wilson than a Super Bowl ring. The two defenses were actually the dominant forces Thursday.

The game was decided by how Wilson handled his handful of chances and how he made something out of nothing more than once — and how Kaepernick did neither.

Wilson’s numbers from Thursday won’t tell the story, as good as the numbers were. (He threw for 236 yards and the game’s only touchdown, and ran seven times for 35 yards.) The moments tell it, especially the second-quarter play that started out looking like a sack, or at best a desperate scramble for a couple of yards, but ended up a 63-yard catch-and-run by Tony Moeaki to the 49ers’ one-yard line.

“SEAHAWKS BEAT NINERS AND ARE EMERGING AT RIGHT TIME”

By Lindsay H. Jones, USA Today

Seahawks statement: Look out, NFC, but the Seattle Seahawks appear to have rediscovered their mojo. With Thursday’s dominating performance in Santa Clara — a game that never felt as close as the final score indicated — the Seahawks picked up a half game on Arizona in the NFC West and made a statement to the rest of the NFL that they are building toward a postseason berth. Seattle’s defense has benefitted from the return of middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and suddenly looked fearsome again. A major challenge looms for Seattle next week at Philadelphia, but should the Seahawks prevail there, it is hard to imagine them looking troubled again this season.

Sherman’s stage: Richard Sherman stole the headlines earlier this week with his mock-the-NFL press conference, but he provided a reminder Thursday night that he’s more than a just a big mouth. Sherman intercepted San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the first half to set up Seattle’s only touchdown, and picked Kaepernick off again in the fourth quarter. Sherman now has four interceptions against Kaepernick since 2012.

“49ERS CEO EMBARRASSED BY SEATTLE LOSS”

By Jay Busbee, Yahoo.com

Every Thanksgiving, there’s one dish on the table you stomach, year after year, with no pleasure whatsoever. Maybe it’s corn pudding, or broccoli souffle, or pumpkin pie. You eat it, again and again, until one day you stop, because you realize that even though this dish might be tradition, it’s still garbage.

This Thanksgiving, that garbage dish is the San Francisco 49ers. A team many predicted to reach the Super Bowl this season looked as lost on Thanksgiving night as your grandmother on an XBox. The 49ers, less than two years removed from a Super Bowl, could manage only a field goal against the defending champion Seattle Seahawks, who won 19-3. The performance was so bad that San Francisco’s CEO apologized to the team’s fans … but we’ll get to that in a moment.

The blame for this debacle starts with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who completed 16 of 29 passes for 121 yards, only topping the century mark in a pointless last-minute drive. Kaepernick threw two interceptions, both to Richard Sherman, and looked ineffective throwing anything more distant than the reach of his arm.

 

Seahawks defensive back Jeron Johnson, top, celebrates with Earl Thomas after Thomas stopped Carlos Hyde in the fourth quarter.  John Lok / Seattle Times staff

Seahawk Jeron Johnson, top, celebrates with teammate Earl Thomas after Thomas stopped Carlos Hyde in the fourth quarter.
John Lok / Seattle Times staff

“LOWERING THE BOOM: SEAHAWKS HAMMER 49ERS, SEND MESSAGE TO NFL”

By Ross Jones, Foxsports.com

As quickly as the momentum shifts from week to week, the Seahawks appear ready for football in January. A stiff test against the Eagles, though, awaits them in Week 14 before three consecutive NFC West games finish off the regular season. If the Cardinals fall in Atlanta on Sunday, the Seahawks will find themselves just a game back in the division.

This NFC West race — seemingly out of hand less than two weeks ago — isn’t over yet.

“RICHARD SHERMAN HAUNTS AND TAUNTS 49ERS ONCE AGAIN”

By Terry Blount, ESPN.com

Midway through the third quarter Thursday night, with the Seattle Seahawks leading the San Francisco 49ers 16-0, a good portion of the crowd at Levi’s Stadium left the building.

Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman noticed the exodus.

“Yeah, I waved to them goodbye,” Sherman said.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Sherman, who already had one interception in the game, had a warning for the 49ers.

“I was laughing the whole time,” Sherman said. “I told their sideline if they threw it my way I would end the game.”

“COLIN KAEPERNICK HAS A SEAHAWKS PROBLEM”

By Paul, Gutierrez, ESPN.com

Colin Kaepernick has a problem. One that gets worse every time the San Francisco 49ers‘ quarterback faces the Seattle Seahawks.

He saves his worst games for the Seahawks.

On a night when 49ers CEO Jed York ripped the team’s showing as “unacceptable” and apologized to fans on Twitter, Kaepernick regressed in the face of the defending Super Bowl Champions as the 49ers lost 19-3. No word on if he used his social media skills to connect with fans.

“I didn’t play well tonight,” Kaepernick said. “If your quarterback doesn’t play well, it’s going to be hard for you to win games.

“They are a good defense. They play fast [and] they play physical. We just have to be able to make plays.”

The 49ers in general, Kaepernick in particular, could not do it on Thanksgiving. Not against these Seahawks, who seem primed to make a run to defend their Super Bowl championship.

“WITH APOLOGY, YORK SHOWS HE’S A SORRY OWNER”

By Lowell Cohn, Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Jed York is a coward.

What I just wrote was hard and caustic. I know that. I apologize if I have offended your sensibilities. But, after the 49ers’ 19-3 loss to the Seahawks, Jed offended the sensibilities of every fair-minded person who follows the 49ers. I repeat — Jed York is a coward.

After his team got smoked by the Seahawks, York tweeted: “Thank you 49ers faithful for coming out strong tonight. This performance wasn’t acceptable. I apologize for that.”

What a disgusting thing for a team owner to write. What a cheap shot by an absolute twit who took to Twitter. If York had something to say, he should have come to the postgame news conference and said it to the media. Or better yet, he should have kept his mouth shut and spoken privately to coach Jim Harbaugh, should have looked Harbaugh in the eye and told him the effort was unacceptable. It is so easy to hide behind Twitter.

You just want to throw up.

“SEAHAWKS’ DEFENSE TOO MUCH FOR THE 49ERS”

By ESPN.com

The Seattle Seahawks are back to their old ways — winning with defense.

For the second straight game, the Seahawks did not surrender a touchdown. They’re the first team to do that this season and it’s the first time the Seahawks haven’t allowed a touchdown in consecutive games since 2005.

It’s no surprise that the Seahawks’ defense was led by Richard Sherman, who had multiple interceptions for the fourth time in his career. Sherman now has 23 career interceptions, eight more than any other player since entering the league in 2011.

“YORK APOLOGIZES TO FANS IN WAKE OF 49ERS’ UGLY LOSS”

By Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle

As the clock was winding down on the 49ers’ giblet-twisting 19-3 loss to the Seahawks on Thursday night, the only question was: “How could things possibly get worse for the local lads?”

Jed York had the answer. The team’s CEO tweeted, “Thank you #49ersfaithful for coming out strong tonight. This performance wasn’t acceptable. I apologize for that.”

Unless York spilled a jar of caviar in his luxury suite, I assume he was referring to his team’s performance. In which case, the message has been sent to his 49ers: I’m with you guys through thick and semi-thick.

The players and coaches now know York’s got their back — with a knife. Et tu, Jedsby?

He could have saved words by tweeting, “Hey, don’t blame me.”

York, by the way, said nothing about refunds. That might be in the next tweet.

“SEAHAWKS HAVE KAEPERNICK’S NUMBER”

By Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle

Jim Harbaugh says that Colin Kaepernick is “great with a capital ‘G’ — at the highest level of great. I don’t know how everybody else doesn’t see it that way.”

Nobody saw it that way on Thanksgiving night, when Kaepernick was bad with a capital “B.”

In a nationally televised game with the country laid out on the couch digesting and watching, Kaepernick delivered one of the worst performances of his career, at a time when the 49ers desperately needed him to be at his very best.

Instead, it was hard to reach any conclusion other than this:

The Seattle Seahawks have taken up residence in Kaepernick’s head.

“49ERS STUFFED BY SEAHAWKS 19-3”

By Eric  Branch, San Francisco Chronicle

On the game’s second play Thursday night, 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree caught a five-yard pass over the middle, took an inadvertent knee to abdomen from Seattle safety Kam Chancellor and pounded the turf in pain.

For the 49ers, the moment foreshadowed the agony to come.

Ten months after taking a punch-in-the-gut loss at Seattle in the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers took a punch in the face at Levi’s Stadium: Seahawks 19, 49ers 3.

The defeat dropped the 49ers to 7-5, dimmed their playoff hopes and inspired an unflattering assessment from the boss. Said CEO Jed York, via Twitter: “Thank you #49ersfaithful for coming out strong tonight. This performance wasn’t acceptable. I apologize for that.”

“49ERS OWNER JED YORK GETS MESSAGE ACROSS”

By Mark Purdy, Bay Area Media Group

Oh, come on. It wasn’t that bad.

Just kidding. It was that bad. In fact, it was worse.

The 49ers’ flaccid 19-3 loss to Seattle on Thursday night was so ridiculously depressing, even the team’s proprietor felt the need to point out how dreadful it was.

As the game clock wound down, 49ers owner Jed York informed his constituents through Twitter: “Thank you #49ersfaithful for coming out strong tonight. This performance wasn’t acceptable. I apologize for that.”

You can see York’s point. Look at it from his standpoint. He builds his players and coaches a billion-dollar home. He provides them with all the amenities to make them ridiculously comfortable and give them no excuses to lose

And then the 49ers go out there on the Levi’s Stadium turf in a prime time Thanksgiving showcase, allowing York to show off his pride and joy to the entire country and … splat.

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, center, reacts as time runs down against the Seahawks in a 19-3 defeat to Seattle on Thursday.  John Lok / Seattle Times staff

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, center, reacts as time runs down in a 19-3 defeat to the Seahawks on Thursday.
John Lok / Seattle Times staff

“SEAHAWKS EXPOSE COLIN KAEPERNICK’S FLAWS”

By Marcus Thompson II, Bay Area News Group

Full disclosure: I like Kaepernick as a quarterback. He’s an uber talent who could be a perennial problem for defenses in this league.

He’s not cut from the cloth of the prototypical great ones, both those don’t grow on trees. And he has some of their skills and a few they don’t. Plus he’s competitive and tough.

“He’s a professional,” Boldin said when asked about how Kaepernick will respond. “He’ll come back and do his thing. We ain’t worried about Kap.”

But, once again, every criticism about Kaepernick was exposed by Seattle. Every flaw in his game, every weakness in his repertoire, shined brightest on the national stage.

This isn’t all on Kaepernick, though. He is certainly an easy target, especially since Thursday he couldn’t hit one. But his lack of development, regression even, is also a product of poor management by his handlers. And you only have to look at Seattle to see what to do with a special athlete at quarterback.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who had his bouts with mediocrity, looked amazing Thursday. But he’s in a system built for his skills.

“49ERS SHAKEN TO THEIR CORE BY SEAHAWKS”

By Tim Kawakami, Bay Area News Group

The 49ers don’t just have a Seattle problem any more, now they have an Everything Problem.

But it starts with Seattle. Oh my, it all begins with Richard Sherman, Rssell Wilson and Pete Carroll and every part of the 49ers’ ongoing — and expanding — Seahawks Nightmare.

The Seahawks have beaten the 49ers before, but on Thursday at Levi’s Stadium before a national TV audience, Seattle shook the 49ers to their very core.

After the 19-3 Seattle domination was over, the 49ers players were booed, coach Jim Harbaugh was solemn, and the 49ers’ owner himself underlined the potential intrigue ahead for this 7-5 team, now on the brink of playoff doom.

“RICHARD SHERMAN RELISHES BEATING 49ERS IN FRONT  OF THEIR ‘MEDIOCRE’ FANS”

By Steve Corkran, Bay Area Media Group

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman walked off the field Thursday night and into the locker room holding a freshly cooked turkey.

Fittingly, the turkey was being served up on a platter, much like the two passes thrown by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick that Sherman intercepted and used to spearhead the Seahawks 19-3 victory.

What history? I know no history you’re talking of,” Sherman said, when asked about his history with Kaepernick. “There was a guy, there was an opponent who said he’s throwing to the open man, he doesn’t care who’s out there. I was the open man.”

That, of course, was a jab at Kaepernick, who said earlier this week that he wouldn’t shy away from Sherman, that he would just throw to the open receiver.

“49ers’ CRABTREE DOWNPLAYS FEUD WITH SHERMAN”

By Cam Inman, Bay Area News Group

Richard Sherman may have had two interceptions, but neither came while covering Michael Crabtree, the 49ers wide receiver that Sherman called out after last season’s NFC Championship game in Seattle.

Crabtree, after Thursday’s 19-3 loss to the Seahawks, downplayed any feud with Sherman and instead made a passionate plea for the 49ers to improve.

“I’m not worried about that dude,” Crabtree said. “It’s more scheme, it’s not one-on-one (coverage). It’s scheme. You’ve seen that. No one-on-one at all. Just scheme. They did a good job scheming.”

49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick argues a call with referee Tony Corrente late in their 19-3 loss to the Seahawks. John Lok / Seattle Times staff

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kapernick argues a call with referee Tony Corrente late in the 49ers’ 19-3 loss to the Seahawks.
John Lok / Seattle Times staff

“SEAHAWKS’ DEFENSE ASSERTING ITSELF ON THANKSGIVING”

By Will Brinson, CBSSports.com

The Seahawks won the Super Bowl in large part thanks to one of the all-time great defenses. Questioned throughout offseason personnel departures and early-to-midseason struggles, their championship defense might be rearing its scary head one again.

Everyone — understandably — wondered if the Seahawks defense was the same (“elite” if you will) after last year. It’s not. It is different. Everyone lives dissimilar lives year to year and it’s no different for the identity of defenses.

For all that talk, the Seahawks had the No. 1 NFL defense coming into Thanksgiving. Things only got better Thursday as Seattle smothered the 49ers.

The way Seattle manhandled Drew Stanton on the Cardinals in Seattle during Week 12 was worth raising an eyebrow. They looked like last year’s squad. Taking Colin Kaepernick‘s turkey and spitting in his stuffing? Whole different thing, man.

This was a vintage performance from the Seahawks. The 49ers had less than 150 yards and 74 net yards passing when the two-minute warning hit, with Seattle up 19-3 and the game more or less over.

Richard Sherman made plays, Earl Thomas dropped the hammer and the pass rush repeatedly dropped Kaepernick, sacking him four times and making his life generally uncomfortable.

Taking a long-term view of the NFL from a single week is a bit too aggressive, but the Seahawks are suddenly surging with a pair of division wins — including Thursday on the road — and present a scary matchup on the horizon.

“NFL GRADES, WEEK 13: IS COLIN KAEPERNICK GETTING WORSE?”

By John Breech, CBSSports.com

Less than a week ago, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was speaking glowingly of his starting quarterback.

Harbaugh said that Colin Kaepernick was “growing as a pocket passer” and also added that he’s a “great player.”

Maybe Harbaugh has a different definition than I do of the words ‘great’ and ‘growing,’ but if Kaepernick’s doing either of those, they weren’t on display on Thursday night in San Francisco’s 19-3 loss to the Seahawks.

In the biggest game of the 49ers season so far, against their hated rivals and on national television, Kaepernick played arguably one of the worst games of his career.

Kaepernick threw for only 121 yards, the third lowest total of his career in a game where he started. Kaepernick wasn’t accurate either, completing only 55.2 percent of his passes (16 of 29). All of those things led to Kaepernick recording the second lowest quarterback rating of his career (36.7).

It’s one thing to be erratic and inaccurate, but it’s another thing to give the ball to the other team while you’re doing it.

Kaepernick threw two interceptions to Richard Sherman that were so ugly, it almost looked like Sherman was the receiver on the play.

“49ERS FLOP VS. RIVALS – CUE THE DRAMA”

Matt Barrows, Sacramento Bee

A 49ers team that barely edged past bad opponents with shaky defenses during a recent three-game winning streak ran into a very good one Thursday and was knocked flat on its back.

San Francisco wasn’t competitive in the 19-3 loss to the rival Seahawks, who hadn’t won a game on the 49ers’ home field since 2008 but who quickly stole the momentum at Levi’s Stadium where the 49ers are 3-3 this season.

The 49ers’ slow, clunky offense didn’t venture farther than Seattle’s 18-yard line and failed to score a touchdown for the first time this season. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick was intercepted twice by No. 1 scourge Richard Sherman.

San Francisco (7-5) is now in third place in its division and falling behind in the playoff hunt with four games to play. Worse, the 49ers seemed unworthy of a postseason spot, which could not have been said during coach Jim Harbaugh’s first three years with the team.

“YORK SAYS 49ERS PERFORMANCE ‘WASN’T ACCEPTABLE’ “

By Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk.com

If you thought the Thanksgiving night performance from the 49ers in their new stadium wasn’t good, you’re not alone.  The boss didn’t like it either.

This performance wasn’t acceptable,” 49ers CEO Jed York said on Twitter.  “I apologize for that.”

The statement comes at a time when, as noted earlier in the evening, the organization has been conspicuously quiet about the rampant reports suggesting that coach Jim Harbaugh’s time with the franchise will end after the current season concludes.  With the exception of a tweet from York aimed at early October reports that players have grown weary of Harbaugh’s ways, the team has said nothing about the lingering controversy.

York’s latest tweet speaks volumes.  With the team now at 7-5 and facing a trip to Seattle on December 14, the 49ers most likely won’t be going to the postseason.

Running the table could salvage things, but how can the 49ers win the final four games when they barely mustered three points at home in the biggest game of the year?

“SEAHAWKS OVERPOWER 49ERS, ROLL TO 19-3 VICTORY”

By Mike Wilkening, ProFootballTalk.com

The Seahawks dominated the proceedings, leading from the end of the first quarter onward and never getting any real serious challenge for the 49ers, whose offense faltered in spectacular fashion. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick completed just 16-of-29 passes for 121 yards, and he was picked twice by cornerback Richard Sherman, ever a Niners nemesis. Seattle also blunted San Francisco’s ground game, allowing just 64 yards on 18 carries.

 “SEAHAWKS’ BIG NIGHT LEADS SEAHAWKS PAST 49ERS ONCE AGAIN”

By Janie McCauley, The Associated Press

Richard Sherman offered one final challenge to San Francisco: “I told their sideline if they threw it my way I’d end the game.”

He did exactly that – just like last time.

Sherman provided the moment of the game against the 49ers once again, a mere 10 months after his touchdown-saving deflection in the NFC championship that sent the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl.

Sherman set up the only touchdown with another key defensive play in this heated rivalry, then made a second interception with the 49ers driving late, and the Seahawks ended a five-game losing streak on San Francisco’s home field with a 19-3 win Thursday night.

“SEAHAWKS POISED TO MAKE PLAYOFFS AFTER THANKSGIVING DAY VICTORY”

By David Rumsey, Rantsports.com

A win in San Francisco is certainly something for the Seahawks to be proud of, but they have bigger challenges ahead. Visits to Philadelphia and Arizona remain, and Seattle may not be able to afford more than one loss going down the stretch. They must play with the composure and dominance they showed in this game if they want to reach the playoffs and advance once there.

For now, Richard Sherman and co. will enjoy their well-deserved post-victory turkey leg. They will need all the strength they can get to keep his Seahawks playing like this.

Want to be a reader contributor The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at dshelton@seattletimes.com or sports@seattletimes.com. Not all submissions can be published. Opinions expressed are those of authors, and The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.

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