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49ers in Five: George Kittle says the team let the defense down

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Everything you need to know in five minutes

Before yesterday’s game, George Kittle made sure to mention to the media that the Seahawks had won 16 of the last 19 games against the 49ers in Seattle. Then he went out and caught nine passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns in a loss. Even after his best game of the season, though Kittle found himself essentially apologizing after the game.

“This game was like a roller coaster. it was pretty brutal. I think our defense played really really well for being down the amount of guys they were...At least two of your three teams have to play well, and I think our offense and our special teams didn’t play our best games. I’m not trying to point fingers but we have to hold each other accountable, gotta look in the mirror. Our run game was okay, but as a whole we have to run the ball better and just hold on to the football.”

George is right on both counts. First, the 49ers ran the ball 25 times for 71 yards and just 2.8 yards per carry, which is obviously well below the 41 carries and 178 yards they had averaged over the last three games.

Likewise, the special teams continued to be a complete disaster. Richard Hightower’s unit had their worst game of the season, and there has been plenty of competition for that title.

They gave up a 73-yard touchdown on a fake punt, they allowed a 26-yard kickoff return at the end of the second quarter that helped the Seahawks score a touchdown, Robbie Gould missed an extra point, Travis Benjamin fumbled away the opening kickoff of the 2nd half, and Mitch Wishnowsky had back to back punts that traveled 40 yards or less.

When a team has no margin for error like the 49ers, they simply cannot make these kinds of mistakes and win games - especially when they also have two other turnovers in the game. Everything the 49ers were doing in October reared its ugly head in this game, which is why they’re back at .500 at 6-6.

Download today’s 49ers in Five podcast everywhere you get your podcasts. If you’d rather watch your pods, you can catch yesterday’s Instant Reaction podcast on the Niners Nation YouTube page