The San Francisco 49ers fell to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC championship by a score of 23-17. It was a good game that could have been won in the final seconds. Unfortunately for the 49ers, they came up just short. The 49ers had their ups and downs in that game, and the ups weren’t enough to outweigh the downs.
A lot of people are going to want to put that loss on Colin Kaepernick‘s shoulders. While he did make some mistakes, he was pretty much the entire reason the 49ers were even in that game in the first place. Kaepernick finished the game as the team’s leading rusher and threw one touchdown. This game was very telling for Kaepernick in a good way. Everyone has been wondering what would happen if the running game shut down? Can Kaepernick play well in Seattle? Can Kaepernick carry the offense himself? He proved this game that he has the capabilities to carry the offense. Kaepernick showed more potential in this game then any other game. If he continues to develop, then the 49ers should be excited for the future.
The defense played well enough to win the game. They held the Seahawks to 0-3 inside the red zone, including a turnover. They had to hold the Seattle offense after two turnovers, and they did. They only allowed three points off those turnovers. They sacked Wilson four times and pressured him countless other times. They only played bad on two plays, but those two plays were enough to win the Seahawks the game. At the end of the game, the defense put the team in a position to win the game, but the offense just couldn’t seal the deal.
Besides that bone-headed offsides on 4th down, Aldon Smith had a good game. He tallied up two sacks including one on the first play of the game that also resulted in a fumble that he recovered himself. Smith held the edge good all night and was able to pressure Wilson on a number of snaps.
Although he’s in the good he’s also in the bad. While Kaepernick still had a good game, he made some mistakes. He turned the ball over three times. Everyone was saying if the 49ers lose the turnover battle then they would lose the game, and they did. The first two turnovers were inexcusable, but the Seahawks only got three points off those two turnovers. The last interception was just a great play by Sherman. You can fault Kaepernick all you want for the decision, but in the NFL you have to trust your best receiver to win one on one match-ups.
It’s baffling how it’s so hard to get Vernon Davis involved in the offense. The Seahawks have great safeties that are able to take away the tight end. They did it against Jimmy Graham last week, and they did it against Vernon Davis yesterday. But this wasn’t a one game thing. This has gone on for the past few games. In the last 5 games, Davis has 8 catches for 99 yards. That’s not per half, not per game, but all 5 games combined. Vernon Davis is a play maker that can stretch the field, but for some reason they can’t find a way to get him the ball.
The run game besides Kaepernick was embarrassing. The “4-headed monster” only got 31 yards on 17 carries. Gore had 14 yards on 11 carries. That’s really unacceptable when you have a young quarterback that has a history of struggling in that stadium. Whether it was the defense, the execution, or just bad running, the coaches and players need to find a way to get going.
Losing NaVorro Bowman and Mike Iupati goes beyond the game. These are two great players that didn’t deserve to have their seasons end the way they did. First reports say that Bowman tore his ACL, but as more tests get done we’ll know the exact damage soon. Hopefully it’s not as bad as it looked, because it looked really bad. Iupati is reported to have a fractured ankle that he’ll rehab during the off-season and hopefully come back next year 100%.