The San Francisco 49ers playoff chances officially came to an end Sunday evening up in Seattle. The 49ers lost to the Seattle Seahawks by a final score of 17-7, and that combined with the Detroit Lions win over the Minnesota Vikings has the 49ers officially playing out the string. This game also marks the first three-game losing streak of the soon to be over Jim Harbaugh era.
The 49ers actually showed some signs of life to start the game. The defense was playing tough, holding the Seahawks to a field goal in the first half. The 49ers offense put together one of their best drives of the season to go up 7-3 in the second quarter, and it looked like we might see some big things. I dared to get my hopes up.
And then it all came crashing down. First, there were numerous injuries. Frank Gore went down with a concussion, and Chris Borland suffered an ankle injury. Carlos Hyde took over full-time for Gore, but he later suffered an ankle injury, leaving the 49ers with Alfonso Smith. After Borland left, Nick Moody came in the game, and he and Michael Wilhoite struggled to stop Marshawn Lynch on a go-ahead drive.
The Seahawks grabbed a 10-7 lead, and then had the ball at the 49ers 15 yard line. That's when the refs decided to establish themselves with authority. Nick Moody got pressure on Russell Wilson to seemingly force a field goal attempt. Instead, Ed Hochuli's crew called a leading with the helmet penalty on Moody, and the Seahawks turned the second life into a touchdown.
It would be easy to blame it all on that, but the 49ers offense went in the tank in the second half. Losing Gore hurts, but the second half struggles have been par for the course this season, so it was fitting to see it cost the 49ers their season. The worst example was probably the 49ers second to last significant offensive drive. They started the drive at their own 7 with 13:20 to go. They went with a slow, plodding offense, and eventually were stopped on 4th and 1 at the Seahawks 38. There was 5:30 to go in the game, so the 49ers moved 55 yards in nearly eight minutes. That is unacceptable. Absolutely unacceptable.
The offensive woes can once again be spread far and wide. Colin Kaepernick missed several wide open receivers. The offensive line was rolled with ease several times. The 49ers had some mind-numbing play-calling. All in all, it was the veritable poo poo platter of a truly offensive offense. They went down in flames doing what has cost them all season long.
The 49ers have two games left on their schedule, and can only play spoiler. They face an 8-6 San Diego Chargers squad in Week 16, with the Chargers a game back in the wild card and tied with Buffalo and Kansas City. They then face the 11-3 Arizona Cardinals squad looking to win the NFC West and get some home field advantage.