Seahawks vs. 49ers: San Francisco Grades, Notes and Quotes
2015 may be a new season, but the latest match between the visiting Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers echoed similar results the last time these two teams met on Thanksgiving nearly a year ago.
Seattle, once again, embarrassed San Francisco at Levi's Stadium in a prime-time Thursday Night Football matchup. This time, the score was 20-3 in favor of the Seahawks.
The 49ers managed fewer first downs (eight) than punts (nine) over the night. And the offense gained a mere 142 yards on offense, while allowing six sacks of quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick was under pressure for almost the entire night. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was as well, having been sacked five times, but the difference between the score indicates which team's offense clicked and which crumbled.
San Francisco's defense, at times, played well enough to keep the 49ers in contention. But with an offense looking more like the one which graced the field in Week 4 against the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco never stood a chance.
Breaking down this game may hurt a bit. It should.
Position Grades for 49ers
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick couldn't replicate his efforts from Weeks 5 and 6. Instead, he passed for just 124 yards and posted a lowly 68.8 passer rating.
But it wasn't entirely his fault. San Francisco's offensive line was, once more, permeable to a very large extent. Watching right guard Jordan Devey in pass protection has been particularly painful in 2015.
The 49ers couldn't establish much of a running game either, and it's possible running back Carlos Hyde wasn't anywhere close to 100 percent while nursing his current foot injury. And the ground game didn't get any help from the O-line either.
Aside from a handful of passes to tight end Vernon Davis—it's finally nice to call his name again—and wide receiver Anquan Boldin, Kaepernick's receiving targets were all but absent.
San Francisco's defense did have some positive takeaways.
Yes, this unit allowed running back Marshawn Lynch to rush for over 100 yards once again. And quarterback Russell Wilson's 43-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyler Lockett was a huge dagger to the 49ers' hopes.
But San Francisco also picked off Wilson twice, and the pass rush—granted, against a poor Seattle O-line—sacked the quarterback five times with linebackers Aaron Lynch and Ahmad Brooks having two apiece.
And how about punter Bradley Pinion's nine punts on the night?
The O-Line Remains Problematic
Six sacks for 43 yards given up should provide you with all you need to know about San Francisco's offensive line in Week 7.
And the right side, as has been the story seemingly all-season long, remains the primary culprit.
Take a look at this tweet from Oscar Aparicio of Niners Nation showcasing right guard Jordan Devey. The 27-year-old gets beat easily, which forces quarterback Colin Kaepernick out of the pocket without any lane to step up.
The O-line was consistently under pressure and couldn't maintain any sort of consistency at the line of scrimmage. Pass protection was poor, and the lanes simply weren't established for a strong running game.
Seattle won the battle in the trenches. San Francisco didn't. It's that simple.
Colin Kaepernick Still Can't Get Beyond Seattle
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick entered this Week 7 contest with a career-53.7 passer rating and two touchdowns against seven interceptions over six regular-season games against the Seahawks.
The touchdown-versus-interception differential won't change and Kaepernick's passer rating should actually increase after Thursday night (he posted a 68.8 rating during the game). But the 27-year-old can tack on one more loss to the previous four he's had.
Still, Kaepernick was all but ineffective, and his efforts looked more like what we saw out of the quarterback in Week 4 versus the Packers than the hopeful efforts of the previous two weeks.
So Kaepernick may have what it takes to handle bad defenses. But his struggles against top-tier defenses are still in question.
The Pass Rush Shows Up
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick may have been sacked six times, but the 49ers pass rush nearly equaled their counterpart's effort with five of their own against quarterback Russell Wilson.
Granted, Wilson had been sacked more than any other quarterback this season (26) and is on pace to pass Kaepernick's 52 sacks a year ago.
Still, the 49ers have struggled to generate anything resembling a pass rush in 2015 and had just nine sacks prior to the contest. That number will jump to 14 after linebackers Aaron Lynch and Ahmad Brooks had two sacks each, and defensive tackle Quinton Dial added one of his own.
Pressure also helped force Wilson's two interceptions on the night and, likely to an extent, helped prevent venerable tight end Jimmy Graham from being a huge X-factor.
Graham was held to just two catches for 31 yards.
But the 49ers also missed additional chances to bring Wilson down, which allowed the quarterback to extend plays with good effect.
San Francisco needs to continue its efforts here. And seeing Lynch emerging as a regular pass-rushing force is one of the few bright spots the 49ers can carry over from this otherwise disheartening loss.
Deion Sanders on the 49ers' Efforts
It only took two quarters for Hall of Fame cornerback and NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders to weigh in on the 49ers' Week 7 troubles.
“The management and ownership should be ashamed,” Sanders said via Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area. “This team is three years removed from the Super Bowl and they put out this product...This is pathetic.”
Sanders is echoing sentiments many 49ers fans have of CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke. A proud franchise is experiencing something very similar to the woeful years following the departure of former 49ers head coach, Steve Mariucci.
San Francisco had yet to crack the scoreboard over the first half and ended up with a mere 1-of-11 on third-down attempts.
Yes, that's pretty pathetic.
Jim Tomsula on the Lackluster Effort
During previous 49ers losses in 2015, head coach Jim Tomsula would frequently try to shoulder the blame for San Francisco's defeats.
One might have expected Tomsula to do the same after Week 7, but his comments following the contest displayed a bit more frustration with the team's efforts rather than the frequent "it falls on me" statements.
“That game today was not what we want," Tomsula said via Taylor Price of 49ers.com. "It was not acceptable. We did not play well. We don’t have an excuse."
CEO Jed York made a similar statement the last time these two teams met at Levi's Stadium. Oh, the irony.
But Tomsula didn't end there.
"We have to shore up our (pass) protection," he continued, per Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. "Couple balls I'm sure [Colin Kaepernick] wants back but ... you can't operate without protection."
Without sounding like coaching legend Bill Parcells, who was noted for his straight-forward, brutally honest statements, Tomsula is doing what he should be doing: Calling out San Francisco's offensive line.
Will the head coach implement changes? Will offensive guard Andrew Tiller be a regular fixture along the right side instead of being used on a rotational basis?
Week 8 could reveal the answer.
49ers Players React
A number of 49ers players were clearly frustrated with the ugly Week 7 loss suffered, once again, on their own turf.
Smith didn't record a single reception and dropped the one pass on which he was targeted.
Left tackle Joe Staley was a little more specific about the 49ers' efforts per 49ers.com.
"We've got to do a better job on third-down conversions," he said. "Offensively today it was not acceptable all the way around."
San Francisco was 1-of-11 on third-down attempts.
And quarterback Colin Kaepernick's postgame sentiments seemed to echo those made when the 49ers were struggling a year ago.
"We just didn't play well enough to win tonight," the quarterback said. "We didn't execute the way we needed to."
Kaepernick is as vague and to the point about San Francisco's lackluster offensive abilities in Week 7.
And that is the current state of the 49ers following yet another defeat to the Seahawks.
Peter Panacy is a Featured Columnist covering the San Francisco 49ers for Bleacher Report. Follow him @PeterPanacy on Twitter.