49ers fall flat get routed by Seahawks 42-13
Given the opportunity to clinch a second straight division title
on the home field of their chief rival, the San Francisco 49ers
didn’t just fall short.
They were blown out in the worst loss of Jim Harbaugh’s two
years in charge of the club.
”I think everybody is going to feel the same way that this
wasn’t good man,” Harbaugh said. ”Can’t feel like you coached
well, can’t feel like you played well after this one.”
Russell Wilson threw a career-high four touchdown passes to move
into second place for most TD passes by a rookie. Marshawn Lynch
scored two first-quarter TDs, and the Seahawks blew out the 49ers
Richard Sherman returned a blocked field goal 90 yards for
another touchdown as the Seahawks (10-5) jumped to a 21-0 lead.
That only added to an already hyped crowd on a typically cold and
rainy December night, with noise echoing off the walls and
overhanging roof of CenturyLink Field that might have been heard
all the way across Puget Sound.
No one cared about the cold rain, not with the performance they
were seeing on the field, and not with a ticket to the postseason
guaranteed thanks to Seattle’s first 10-win season since 2007.
”When we’re on our stuff, this is the outcome you get,”
Seattle defensive end Red Bryant said. ”I’m not surprised. We knew
going into it we had a great opportunity.”
Seattle’s win delayed the victory celebration for the 49ers
(10-4-1), although it could still come next week at home. San
Francisco needs just a win over lowly Arizona to clinch the NFC
West title, but it no longer controls its route to the No. 2 seed
in the NFC. Green Bay is a half-game ahead, and the 49ers – who
came into Sunday night banged up at key spots – might not get that
extra week of rest even with a win in the finale.
Seattle will likely be the No. 5 seed in the NFC. There remains
a slight chance of winning the NFC West if the Seahawks beat St.
Louis in the season finale and Arizona can top the 49ers.
At the very least, the Seahawks relished in making Harbaugh’s
49th birthday a wet and miserable night.
”It’s not our first loss, and we’ll wake up (Monday) and we’ll
have a half-game lead on the division, and our hand will be on the
dial to take care of business next week,” Harbaugh said. ”I know
how I can expect our team to handle that.”
Seattle was the first team since 1950 to score at least 50
points in consecutive weeks thanks to its 58-0 win over Arizona and
50-17 victory against Buffalo. It seemed inconceivable the scoring
binge could continue against San Francisco, the best scoring
defense in the NFL.
But it did.
Seattle has outscored its last three opponents 150-30.
The 42 points were the most allowed since Harbaugh took over the
49ers, and the most San Francisco yielded since giving up 45 to
Atlanta in 2009. It was the perfect way for Seattle coach Pete
Carroll to snap a three-game losing streak against his rival.
”It was a lot of points again, and we’re just thrilled about
it,” Carroll said. ”Things have just changed. We have changed on
offense, and Russell has been a huge part of it and the coaches
allowing it to happen. We don’t hold ourselves to points because
the standard isn’t out there for us. We just try to play really
good football and see what happens at the end.”
San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick had already proven himself
capable of winning on the road with victories in New Orleans and
last week in New England. But Seattle is a different beast, widely
regarded by players as the loudest venue in the NFL. His
inexperience playing in such an environment showed. He was
flustered and disorganized at the line of scrimmage, letting the
noise from Seattle’s fans affect him.
Kaepernick’s forgettable night was capped when Sherman stepped
in front of his pass for Randy Moss at the back of the end zone on
the first play of the fourth quarter for his seventh interception
of the season.
Kaepernick was 19 of 36 for 244 yards with an 18-yard TD pass to
Delanie Walker with 1:40 left. Frank Gore had just 28 yards on six
carries after rushing for a season-high 131 when the teams met in
”Every time you are on the field you are learning something,”
Kaepernick said. ”We just have to take what we can from this game
and move on to next week.”
San Francisco played without defensive tackle Justin Smith due
to an elbow injury that ended a streak of 185 starts. The 49ers
lost tight end Vernon Davis in the first quarter with a concussion
sustained when he was knocked off his feet on a huge hit along the
sideline from Seattle safety Kam Chancellor that looked legal but
drew a penalty for hitting a defenseless receiver.
San Francisco wide receiver Mario Manningham went down with a
left leg injury early in the third quarter when he was tackled low
by Leroy Hill and fumbled.
The loss of Smith affected the entire defense. Aldon Smith was
left stuck on 19 1-2 sacks after being locked up by Seattle
offensive tackle Russell Okung.
”I think not having Justin is a huge deal,” 49ers safety Donte
Whitner said. ”Just a year ago he was up for defensive player of
the year. Not only for what he does against the run, but for what
he does against the pass. How he helps all the men out over there
also. Eating up two guys, locking to go one-on-one. He’s a huge
part of this defense, we all know it, and he’s not there right
Notes: Lynch finished with 111 yards on 26 carries, his third
straight 100-yard game vs. San Francisco. … Seattle WR Doug
Baldwin had two TD catches, his first touchdowns since Week 6. …
Seattle finished 11 of 13 on third-down conversions. … The 49ers’
previous worst defeat under Harbaugh was a 26-3 loss to the New
York Giants earlier this season.
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