49ers buzzed by Seahawks in lopsided loss
There was no apology on Twitter from Jed York, and no coach to be given his walking papers after the game.
Thursday night’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks, though, was arguably worse than the one suffered on that fateful Thanksgiving day last season.
One point worse to be exact, as the Seahawks secured their fourth straight victory over the 49ers with a 20-3 win.
But it wasn’t the points total that hurt the most, it was realization that this is a one sided-rivalry, with the 49ers being the overmatched contender.
Seattle held the 49ers to a season-low in offensive yardage — just 142 total during the first meeting of the bitter NFC West rivals, while remaining undefeated at Levi’s Stadium.
The team harassed quarterback Colin Kaepernick all night long, as a weak offensive line allowed the fifth-year veteran to be sacked six times for a loss of 43-yards.
Not that he was particularly effective on his feet either.
Kaepernick completed just 13-of-24 passes due to a combination of an ineffective wide receiver core, and more than a few questionable Kaepernick passes that were last seen during his struggles against Green Bay.
Meanwhile, a rejuvenated Marshawn Lynch, and the ever elusive Russell Wilson chewed up a timid 49ers defense. Lynch started off hot with an opening drive touchdown en-route to his 122-yards on 27 carries outing.
Wilson wasn’t perfect on the night — throwing for two interceptions — but got the job done with 20-yards on the ground, and 235 through the air for one touchdown to lead his team to a 3-4 record on the season.
Tight end Vernon Davis was the only significant source of offense for the 49ers, as the tight-end led the team in total-yardage with 61 on four receptions.
Battered running back Carlos Hyde — who is reportedly dealing with a stress fracture in his foot — bruised his way for 40-yards on 11 carries, but was bottled up by the Seattle defense.
The loss on Thursday marks the fourth consecutive loss to the Seahawks that the 49ers have suffered going back to December 8, 2013.The Seahawks have outscored San Francisco 79-to-30 across that span, with the 49ers posting just 13 points in their last three meetings while being held without a touchdown at home.
The lack of competition the 49ers have delivered has sucked the air out of what was once one of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL. After the game, Davis acknowledged the team’s inability to put up a quality fight against the NFC champions.
“We’ve had our struggles with Seattle. It’s hard to get by this. It is. I’m not going to stand here and lie. It is Seattle, and we haven’t really had much success against them this past couple years. But like I said before, we have to put this one behind us, move on and get ready for the next match.”
The 2-5 start to the season marks the worst start through the first seven games of a season for the 49ers since the ill-fated 2010 season, in which the team was 1-6. But while many are already looking towards the 2016 draft, head coach Jim Tomsula stated his desire to continue to fight through the year’s adversity.
“We’re going to fight every day to make the playoffs. As long as there’s a chance to make the playoffs, we’re going to fight like crazy to get to the playoffs.”
Hyde-whose first year in the league was marred by the chaotic departure of former head coach Jim Harbaugh- mirrored his coaches sentiment of trying to work their way out of the NFC basement.
“Like he told us, we have something special in this room. Believe in one another and just keep fighting. Stay positive and we’ll be alright.”
Coming into Thursday’s contest, the Seattle Seahawks hadn’t been playing like the former Super Bowl and current NFC champions that they were.
They had lost four fourth quarter leads on the season, including their previous two games, and had lacked in offense since Lynch has been hobbled by a hamstring injury.
But with a rivalry match set on a national stage, the Seahawks of current looked like the Seahawks of old as they pounded the ground to jump out to an early lead on Thursday.
Lynch looked removed from any signs of his previous injury during his first trip on the Levi’s turf, as he chewed up 38-yards rushing on nine carries before plunging over the top of the 49ers defense for a one-yard score.
It was an effective opening sequence from Seattle, who needed just four plays before finding themselves in the red zone while picking up five first-downs during their trip.
Meanwhile, the 49ers offense looked to return to their sluggish ways, as they moved just five total yards for no first-downs on their first two drives.
They fared slightly better over their next two trips, managing an abysmal 55-total yards before the half, while failing to crack into field goal range at any point.
The Seahawks defense stifled the San Francisco offense both at the line and in the secondary, as the Legion of Boom held Kaepernick to just 44-yards through the air through two-quarters, while taking four sacks for a loss of 27-yards.
Meanwhile, the Seattle offense continued to roll against Eric Mangini’s defensive unit as two newcomers to the rivalry would make their mark on the game early.
But it was rookie Tyler Lockett who would break the game open in favor of Seattle a couple drives later.
After a 15 yard personal foul by Antione Bethea would place the Seahawks across midfield, Wilson would show off his arm strength by airing out a 43-yard pass to Lockett after the third-round pick shook the coverage of cornerback Tramaine Brock.
Brock would atone for his mistake prior to the end of the half after intercepting a Wilson pass in the end zone with just 52-seconds left to salvage any hopes of a late-game comeback for San Francisco.
But the lackluster showing on both sides of the ball still left the 49ers in a 17-0 deficit heading to the locker room.
After much of the third-quarter slipped by quickly and quietly, the 49ers finally mounted their first scoring drive of the night on the backs of Davis and Kaepernick’s arm.
Davis picked up the first third-down conversion of the night for San Francisco, with a 13-yard reception extending a drive that started near their own goal line.
Davis would continue to eat up yardage after a 27-yard reception would again move the chains downfield for San Francisco.
The 49ers would be aided by yet another 27-yard catch, this time in the hands of receiver Anquan Boldin, to move into scoring range for the first time all night.
San Francisco would pound their way to the 17-yard line, but would be forced to settle for a 35-yard attempt from K Phil Dawson for their first score of the game, cutting the deficit to 17-3.
The score was short-lived however, as the Seahawks would respond with Hauschka’s second field goal of the game on their following drive, with the kicker striking from 46-yards out this time to regain their 17-point lead.
The 49ers offense would the sink back into obscurity, as a porous offensive line and blanketed receivers disallowed any movement of the ball by San Francisco for the remainder of the game.
The Seahawks would regain the ball with just over three minutes to go, and would run the clock out to secure their first road win of the year.
The loss sunk the 49ers to last place in the NFC West, with a 2-5 record throughout the first seven games of the season.
San Francisco will enjoy an extended week of rest and practice, before returning on November 1 to take on the St. Louis Rams in another NFC West showdown.