In a game that surely left millions both confused and disappointed both by the result and the lack of drama, the 10-4-1 San Francisco 49ers got walloped by the surging 10-5 Seattle Seahawks 42-13, behind rookie phenom Russell Wilson's four touchdown passes, two to ex-Stanford Cardinal Doug Baldwin, who played for Jim Harbaugh collegiately.
With the win the Seahawks have clinched a playoff spot and can still win the NFC West if they can beat the St. Louis Rams next week and get some unlikely help from the Arizona Cardinals who'll play at San Francisco.
It was a costly loss for the 49ers, who've fallen a half-game behind Green Bay for the second seed in the NFC. Now the only way they can earn a first-round bye in the playoffs will be if the Packers lose to the Vikings next week, while the Niners take care of business at home to the Cardinals.
At the least San Francisco will need to win next week just to secure a second consecutive division title.
The 29-point loss was easily the worst of the Jim Harbaugh era in San Francisco and it was never a game, as the Seahawks scored their first touchdown 1:07 into the game on a 24-yard run by Marshawn Lynch and led 14-0 in the first ten minutes.
In fact, the play that basically decided the outcome occurred 41 seconds into the second quarter, as Seattle's huge lineman Red Bryant blocked a short David Akers field goal attempt, with the ball falling perfectly into the path of corner Richard Sherman to return it 90 yards for a shocking 10-point swing, turning a potential 14-3 score into 21-0.
Justin Smith missed his first start in 195 games and his loss was felt badly by the defense, who allowed the Seahawks to convert 11-of-13 third down attempts, with one of the "stops" coming on the final kneel down play.
To add injury to insult, Vernon Davis left early on with a concussion and Mario Manningham suffered what looked like a serious right knee injury in the second half, on a play in which the pain caused him to fumble.
It's hard to fathom that this was the same 49ers team that was up 31-3 at New England last week, but that's the NFL for you. San Francisco's pattern of losing (or not winning) every third game on the season continues, but they've never been so soundly thrashed like this.