By Jerrell Richardson
After being dismantled by Seattle two weeks ago, the odds were stacked against the 49ers in this one. Not only were they playing the same Seahawk team, but this one was in Seattle and game that their division rival needed to win just as much as San Francisco. In a game that few gave them a chance to win, the 49ers did all they could, but in the end could not overcome everything that was thrown at them. The defending Super Bowl Champs are tough enough to beat on their own, but with an abnormal amount of 49er injuries during the game and one very questionable call, few can blame the 49ers for their 17-7 defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks.
Things started well enough, but the 49ers offense remained in their funk. However, not only do they get the standard curve for playing against Seattle, they also get some consideration for the injuries they had to deal with. They played with their 3rd string center, had another backup on the offensive line and eventually had their 3rd string running back in the game. Not a formula for success against the best defense in the NFL.
Colin Kaepernick was under pressure all game and he struggled. He only threw 19 passes, and completed just 11 of them for 141 yards with no touchdowns. He didn’t throw any interceptions, but was sacked 6 times and when the team needed his arm to get them back into the game he was unable to lead a comeback. It’s hard to put all the blame on him though, as he got absolutely no help from his offensive teammates, especially in the 2nd half.
The 49ers leading receiver was Bruce Miller with 4 catches. Enough said. These anemic numbers are part Kaepernick not having time to throw, part Kaepernick missing a few throws, but also part the receivers not getting open and part the Seahawks stifling secondary, so it’s not all on #7. The receivers and quarterback all failed to show up, despite a valiant effort from the running game.
The running game did a good job controlling the clock, and for at least the first half was able to move the ball, but a concussion to Frank Gore, and a leg injury to Carlos Hyde all but called it a day for the 49er rushing attack. For the game, the team had 32 rushes which is good, and 141 yards which is also good, but once Alfonso Smith was in the game, understandably, the running game came to a halt.
The defense were going against the top ranked rushing attack and the crafty Russell Wilson, and they more than held their own. Marshawn Lynch had his moments, rushing for 91 yards on 21 carries, and a touchdown, but was not the player who has completely devastated the 49ers defense in the past. This time it was a team effort as although Chris Borland again led the team in tackles with 6, he went down with an injury, throwing Nick Moody into the fire.
Moody finished right behind Borland in tackles with 5 which was tied with Perrish Cox. The story of the defense though was the pass rush that finally woke up. The 49ers had 5 sacks on Wilson, two being registered by Tank Carradine and one a piece by Ray McDonald and Dan Skuta.
Those who look at this game will of course praise Wilson, but he did not clearly outplay Kaepernick. Wilson dropped back 24 times and completed just 12 of his passes for 168 yards, one touchdown and an interception. His leading receiver was Jermaine Kearse, who had 76 receiving yards, but got 48 of those on one play and was otherwise quiet. No other Seattle receiver caught more than 3 balls as Eric Reid and the 49er secondary again played stellar. While they did allow a Russell touchdown throw, it was after a bad call and one that should not have even been attempted.
Special Teams: C+
In a game that was close throughout, it’s a surprise that the 49ers special teams was a non-factor. Phil Dawson was not even called into action, and Andy Lee, even with 5 punts had a relatively quiet afternoon, averaging 43.4 yards per try. Return man Bruce Ellington had a modest day, with 90 kick return yards, but he had just 12 punt return yards and as he has most game this season did nothing to hurt or help the team’s field position. The special teams as a whole did nothing wrong, but also didn’t do anything to help the team, but that has just as much to do with their limited options than anything else.
Not A Bad Effort
While the 49ers have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, there are still 2 very important games left in the season. Add to this that they look better than they have in recent weeks and they have something to build on and prove as they closeout 2014, even if a postseason berth is not in the cards. With all they were facing, it would have been a miracle to beat the Seahawks with Alfonso Smith running the ball and Nick Moody at middle linebacker but they almost pulled it off, showing that if nothing else this is not a team that gave up on their season or coach. Up next is the San Diego Chargers who are among the AFC’s best and will be another tough team for San Francisco who can play spoiler to a fellow California team trying to make the playoffs.
For more 49ers news and updates, visit 49ers Central.
Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. Jerrell is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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