The 49ers' offense was always going to struggle against the Seahawks without Trent Williams and Brandon Aiyuk. C.J. Beathard went 2-for-5 for six yards through the first quarter and looked a bit shaky in the pocket. Thankfully, aside from a long gain on a coverage bust from Azeez A-Shaair, the defense continued its stellar play. After the first quarter, the Seahawks were up 3-0.
After their third punt, Seattle drove the field 12 plays for 58 yards. That drive was kickstarted by a 26-yard pass from Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett. Seattle’s drive stalled, and they had to settle for a field goal.
I noticed that Ahkello Witherspoon was talking trash to DK Metcalf and Seattle’s receivers in between plays. Witherspoon has been playing with a ton of confidence during the past three games. He’s been able to flush a bad play and move on. That was always his biggest issue. As far as talent, Witherspoon has a strong argument to start. It’s the consistency with Spoon that’s lacking. I’m curious to see if Witherspoon wants to go somewhere else for a fresh start this offseason. My guess would be he follows Saleh.
On the 49ers' next drive, Beathard was sacked on third down, where he ran in the wrong direction on 3rd & 3 and lost 12 yards. The 49ers' defense continued to play hard despite not getting any help from their offense. Fred Warner notched his first sack of the season on third down to force a Seahawks punt.
San Francisco had gained 20 yards on 17 plays before Beathard found Richie James on a deep post for 45 yards. That felt like the first throw of the game that went past the line of scrimmage, as the team tried throw screens and quick passes to Kittle that went for minimal gains. James's long pass came on 3rd & 14, and the Niners converted a 3rd & 8 where Beathard found Kittle for 14 yards. Beathard had the right idea on 3rd & 6, but his pass was batted at the line of scrimmage. Tristan Vizcaino’s kick from 36-yards out made it 6-3 at the half.
The 49ers had an opportunity to score a touchdown early in the third quarter, but Beathard missed a wide-open Ross Dwelley on a seam route and was locked onto George Kittle instead. Kittle should have made the catch, but Dwelley walks into the end zone if he’s targeted. The 49ers settled for another field goal to tie the score at six.
After stopping the Seahawks again, and the longest punt return of the season for the 49ers, Kittle did this:
Unfortunately, Beathard couldn’t find Kittle in the end zone a couple of plays later. Shanahan called “leak” near the goal line, and Kittle was wide open in the back of the end zone, but Beathard checked it down, then ran into a sack on third down. Vizcaino hit his third field goal of the game to give the Niners a 9-6 lead.
Through two drives in the second half, the 49ers allowed three yards from the Seahawks. You would have thought that Seattle rested their starters. Arik Armstead played well, and Fred Warner was everywhere. The key was limiting Seattle’s passing game. Through three quarters, Wilson had 101 yards on 23 attempts through the air. Seattle had zero interest in running the ball, as they had 13 carries for 30 yards.
The 49ers scored on four possessions in a row after Beathard made plays on third down twice and converted another fourth down. Jeff Wilson Jr. capped off a seven-yard TD run to make it 16-6. Seattle forgot to come out of the locker room at halftime.
Seattle looked dead in the water, but Dontae Johnson’s late hit gave their offense life. The 49ers had Wilson under wraps on third down, but Kerry Hyder couldn’t bring Russ down, and as soon as that didn’t happen, we knew how the play would turn out. Wilson found Tyler Lockett in the end zone, but Seattle missed the extra point to make it 16-12.
Seattle drove the field again and found Lockett in the end zone on a pick play. Some fans were mad at Witherspoon for giving up this touchdown, but there wasn’t much he could do on the pass. Tarvarius Moore jumped DK Metcalf’s crossing route. Moore had to trust Witherspoon on Lockett and based on Ahkello’s alignment. He was beaten once the ball was snapped. He walked off the field, cursing in frustration, but it was just a solid gain.
The 49ers had a chance to tie it, but Mike McGlinchey and Justin Skule were both beaten, and Beathard was sacked and lost the ball. Seattle scored again to make it 26-16. The Seahawks outgained the 49ers 167 to 20 in the fourth quarter before the Niners' final garbage-time drive. Beathard found Wilson Jr. before the end of the game to make it 26-23.