They weren’t thankful for the short week that may have played into their sluggish performance. They weren’t thankful that their offense continues to be abysmal, posting just 164 total yards.
They especially weren’t thankful for a 19-3 loss, at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, that potentially punched their ticket out of the playoffs.
Only the Seahawks showed up to play Thursday night, as Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman reintroduced themselves to the new Levi’s Stadium crowd with a commanding win to claim sole possession of second place in the NFC West.
Seattle’s usual ground attack was in full force as Wilson and Lynch pounded their way to 139 combined rushing yards while controlling the flow of the game’s offense all night.
There was no 12th-man to frazzle Colin Kaepernick, but the 49ers quarterback looked lost on offense making poor reads, missthrows and two interceptions while being held to a season low 107 passing yards.
Kaepernick’s reads were questionable all night, as forced passes into tight coverages either fell incomplete or into the hands of Sherman, who never attempted to curb his enthusiasm at the prospect of dismantling the 49ers offense.
The 49ers play was so abysmal during perhaps the seasons biggest moment that it prompted a response from team CEO Jed York following the game, who stated that the performance “wasn’t acceptable.” An assessment Kaepernick agreed with:
“It’s not acceptable. We didn’t play well, we didn’t perform well. We have a much higher standard for ourselves.”
But that standard remains lost in a myriad of poor offensive performances that culminated at perhaps the worst possible time for the 49ers as they lost on the big stage to their bitter rivals during a crucial juncture of the season.
The troubles on offense have even confused starting RB Frank Gore, who has seen his fair share of terrible offensive units from the 49ers during his 10-years with the team.
“I know we have the players. Things just aren’t happening for us and I don’t know why. We need to look at ourselves as a whole and see what is going on. It’s tough.”
Public enemy number one, Sherman, would adorn himself to the Levi’s Stadium crowd in silencing fashion by making the first big defensive play of the night, as an arid Kaepernick pass escaped the target of WR Brandon Lloyd, and landed in the charismatic cornerbacks hands near mid field.
The interception would mark the first of two that Kaepernick would be burned for on the night. Following the losing effort, Kaepernick shouldered much of the blame for the result:
“I didn’t play well tonight. If your quarterback doesn’t play well it’s gonna be hard for you to win games.”
With the aid of a defensive holding penalty, the Seahawks made good on the turnover opportunity as RB Robert Turbin found himself unattended on the left side of the field for an easy 13-yard touchdown to break open the games scoring in favor of Seattle.
After a 29-yard field goal by K Steven Hauschka, Seattle sensed a working formula, continuing to work their running backs out of the backfield. While the 49ers again worked a defensive stand following a third-and-one stop, Hauschka would widen the Seahawks lead with his second field goal of the game for a 13-0 advantage.
While Seattle scrapped their way to a third consecutive scoring drive, Kaepernick and the 49ers offense continued to flounder under tight coverage from the Seattle secondary who held Kaepernick to just 55 yards through the air on 7-of-16 passes with one interception.
The 49ers continued to derail their own effort when CB Perrish Cox, who had been thrust into punt return duties with Bruce Ellington injured, was stripped by former 49er Ricardo Lockette on a return that would have given San Francisco ample time and quality field position to make a final push before the half.
The 49ers went into the half with their first shut out of the season, and a dark cloud looming over their struggling offense.
San Francisco’s defense held the Seahawks out of the end zone to open the third, but not off the board as Hauschka’s third field-goal of the night widened their lead to a 16-0 margin.
Needing to score desperately, the 49ers received generous help from Seattle’s Sherman as a pair of defensive holds gave San Francisco new life. The 49ers continued to look shabby on offense, but drove far enough for K Phil Dawson to put through a 40-yard try for their first and only points of the game with just one minute left in the third quarter.
The Seahawks relentless attack burned San Francisco through the rest of the night, and with a final field goal from Hauschka, the 49ers fell to tSeat 19-3.
The loss not only snapped the 49ers three game win streak, but could possibly derail their playoff hopes in the tightly contested NFC West. The 49ers are now in a must win situation throughout the rest of the season, and even then it may not be enough.
But despite the grim outlook, head coach Jim Harbaugh remains resolute in his team’s chances to make the postseason.
“That’s what we concern ourself with. Thats our job to do what needs to be done. That’s win them all.”