In a must win game for the San Francisco 49ers they absolutely choked. From the top to bottom, they were simply outplayed.
The 49ers, fighting for the number two playoff seed, quickly watched that aspiration blow up in smoke as the Seattle Seahawks simply schooled them (assuming Packers win next week). And to add an insult, the 49ers lost two of their top receiving targets in tight-end Vernon Davis (concussion) and wide receiver Mario Manningham (left knee) in the process.
So what went wrong for the 49ers this time around?
Well, everything. From offense to defense to special teams, they just played horrible. It was by far their worst game of the Jim Harbaugh era. To describe it in one word, it was embarrassing.
From the opening kickoff you could just tell the 49ers were emotionally and physically fatigued. From their first offensive drive, the 49ers didn’t look like themselves as they came out throwing the ball. That’s right, the team that took pride in smash-mouth football was now a run-n-shoot offense, as they threw the ball three straight times. The three and out was a big momentum booster for a Seahawks’ crowd that was already electrifying during pre-game warm-ups, and obviously carried to the game, especially after Seattle’s first offensive drive took two plays before striking blood on one of Marshawn Lynch’s touchdowns.
The Niners’ defense that ranked first in the NFL in scoring defense, quickly found themselves in a hole, as Lynch ran wild for a 24-yard touchdown on the second play of the drive. The Niners that once proud themselves on taking an early lead and dictating the game-flow, were now being beaten at their own-game, as the Seahawks took a quick 28-6 lead at halftime and never looked back, winning by a final tally of 42-13.
The Seahawks, known for their zone blocking offense, controlled the line of scrimmage and made cutbacks possible for the man they call “Beast Mode.” The 49ers’ defensive line never held the point of attack strongly enough, and thus made it easy for the offensive line to hit the second level seemingly at will, as Lynch finished with 26 carries for 111 yards and one touchdown.
As far as the quarterback play is concerned, Colin Kaepernick played as well, if not better had Alex Smith been in there, so there’s really no controversy in my mind. Russell Wilson, on the other hand, was dominant. The rookie quarterback played like a seasoned veteran, scrambling for first downs, throwing touchdowns, and keeping San Francisco’s defense at bay. Wilson finished the game with 171 passing yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. The four passing touchdowns was the most the 49ers defense has given up to a quarterback this year, a tough sight for a usual lights-out defense.
Simply put, the game was never really a game at all, as the Seahawks won another blowout 42-13. With the 49ers, loss they will now need to win at home against Arizona if they want to lock up the NFC West for their second-straight NFC West Crown.