After going 5-0 with the nation watching against the Lions, Seahawks, Cardinals, Bears and Patriots, the 49ers streak has come to an end thanks to the Seattle Seahawks. Without question tonight's game at CenturyLink Field turned out to be a beatdown in the worst possible way, but if anyone writes the 49ers off after one game they are dead wrong.
The fact of the matter is, this team is better than they showed tonight. Turnovers and a lack of execution on both offense and defense cost the 49ers the game tonight. For starters, Greg Roman's offense was out-possessed 35:09-to-24:51.
That eye-opening stat takes me to San Francisco's inability to sustain drives and convert third-down opportunities. By game's end the Seahawks were 11-13 on third down and the 49ers were 3-11. Moreover, the Seahawks managed to pick up 22 first downs to the 49ers 17 first downs.
The only way to shorten the game and put points on the board is to get in a rhythm. Yet, it's pretty hard to get into any kind of rhythm when your offense only has nine offensive drives all game long. Not to mention of those nine offensive possessions, Colin Kaepernick and company only had two drives that spanned more than eight plays.
Kaepernick's 19 completions on 36 throws showed that he was out of sync. He managed to hit eight different receivers, but only two pass catcher's caught more than three passes. Both Michael Crabtree and Delanie Walker caught four balls for a combined 119 yards.
Not out of this world numbers by any means, yet it was the best he could do on a night where he lost one of his top wideouts, Mario Manningham:
Here's the GIF of Mario Manningham's knee injury.. (CAUTION: It's not pretty) - fauxjo.hn/RNE0aR— Faux John Madden (@FauxJohnMadden) December 24, 2012
X-ray results were negative, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, so it will be interesting to see what the final diagnosis is after an MRI. Manningham was seen leaving CenturyField on crutches, so it's possible they could have dodged a bullet with a lesser injury than originally thought.
In addition to a lethargic offensive performance, Vic Fangio's defense didn't do the team any favors. Even though they have allowed a league low 218 points, they have surrendered 76 of those 218 over the course of the last two games.
I thought the high snap count from last week against the Patriots might have hurt them in tonight's game. Seattle definitely looked like the more fresh team considering they have had the opportunity to rest every starter over the last two weeks at some point, so the 90 snaps-plus from the week prior bogged San Francisco down at times.
Darrell Bevell's offense had three drives of 12 plays-plus with each one spanning at least six and a half minutes. No excuses for Fangio's group, but 154 defensive plays in a two-week span is not normal. Just like allowing 176 yards on the ground is not normal.
Heading into Week 17 San Francisco needs to get their act together and take care of the Cardinals, so they can claim the NFC West crown for the second year in a row. If they don't manage to do this at home, the Seahawks can win the West with a victory over St. Louis in Seattle.
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