Seattle Seahawks defensive end Carlos Dunlap (8) forces a safety on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) sacking him in the end zone at Lumen Field in Seattle Sun Dec 5, 2021 (AP News photos)
by Marko Ukalovic
Lumen Field continued to be a house of horrors for the San Francisco 49ers.
The Seattle Seahawks made one final defensive stand to hold on for a 30-23 victory over their NFC West rival on Sunday afternoon
San Francisco had its three-game winning streak snapped as the fell to .500 and to the seventh and final playoff spot in the NFC with five games left. Seattle, playing the spoiler role for the first time in a long time, ended their three-game losing streak and have won four in a row against the 49ers.
The game got off to a scary start when 49ers special teams player Trenton Cannon was injured on the opening kickoff. He was left the field in an ambulance as he was taken to the hospital for a concussion injury.
Seattle (4-8) drew first blood catching the 49ers off guard on a fake punt. Travis Homer took the direct snap and rushed around the left side for 73 yards for his first rushing touchdown of the season after the Seahwaks first possession went three and out.
San Francisco’s defense responded when DJ Jones stripped Gerald Everette on a reception and Emanuel Moseley recovered the ball.
The 49ers (6-6) offense didn’t waste time answering back on the first play. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw a strike to tight end George Kittle alone in the endzone for a 24-yard touchdown reception to even the score at 7-7.
San Francisco took advantage of a missed 56-yard field by Jason Myers. Garoppolo led a scored on nine play 54-yard drive that was set up by a 28 yard reception by Kittle at the Seattle eight yard line. Two players later rookie running back Elijah Mitchell rushed in for a two-yard touchdown with 1:32 left in the first quarter.
After a Robbie Gould 50-yard field goal, Seattle responded with a nine play 63-yard play drive that was capped off by Adrian Peterson’s two-yard touchdown run. Peterson was signed by Seattle over on Friday as their backfield has been ravaged by injuries.
Peterson’s 126 touchdowns passed Walter Peyton and tied Jim Brown for 10th place on the NFL’s all-time list.
The Niners answered back with its third touchdown of the first half. Garoppolo found Kittle along the left side and the Pro-Bowl tight end did his best tightrope walker impression staying in bounds tip-toeing down the sideline for his second touchdown of the game, a 48-yard reception to give San Francisco a 23-14 lead with 3:47 left in the half after Gould missed the extra point.
Seattle cut the lead two points right before the half ended with an eight play 65-yard drive in just 1:36. Their drive was aided by two roughing the passer calls by the 49ers that kept the drive alive. Seahawks quarterback Russel Wilson capped off the drive with a seven-yard touchdown reception to D’Wayne Eskridge. It was Eskridge’s first career NFL touchdown.
The second half saw the 49ers shooting themselves in the foot as they were shutout in the final 30 minutes of the game thanks to a combination of turnovers and the Seahawks defense playing its best half of the season.
Travis Benjamin fumbled the opening second half kickoff. However the Niners defense forced Wilson into an interception at their own goal line when K’Waun Williams picked off the ball after a deflection off the hands of Everette.
Seattle gained the momentum when it sacked Garoppolo for a safety by Carlos Dunlap early in the third quarter to tie the game at 23-23.
It got worse for the 49ers when Garoppolo threw his second interception of the game when he overthrew a pass attempted for Kittle that went into the hands of Quandre Diggs who returned the ball the Niner’s 28-yard line.
The Seahawks made the Niners pay five plays later when Wilson connected with wide receiver Tyler Lockett with a 12 yard touchdown reception for Seattle’s first lead of the game with 2:28 left in the third quarter.
Seattle tried to put the game away with under three minutes remaining with the ball at the Niners two-yard line. However, linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair knocked the ball away from Everette on a shovel pass attempt. Dontae Johnson recovered the ball at the two-yard line to give San Francisco one last chance to even the score.
Garoppolo drove the 49ers down to Seattle’s three-yard line. But the drive ended in frustration after Garopollo’s pass on fourth and goal was tipped at the line of scrimmage, turning the ball over on downs with 18 seconds left.
Kittle finished the game with his best performance of the season with nine catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns. San Francisco needed every yard from Kittle as they were without the services of their number offensive weapon Deebo Samuel, who was inactive with a groin injury.
Garoppolo went 20 of 30 for 299 yards with two touchdowns but his performance was overshadowed by his two interceptions.
Wilson, who had a difficult first half, rebounded in the second half to finish 30 of 37 for 231 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Lockett led Seattle in receiving with seven catches for 68 yards and his touchdown which proved to be the game winner.
Both defenses played well against the run. Seattle had the 49ers to 71 yards on the ground, while San Francisco, with the exception of the fake punt rush by Homer, held the Seahawks to just 73 yards rushing.
GAME NOTES: San Francisco finished 3-for-10 on third down conversions. Seattle was 5-for-10.
UP NEXT: San Francisco concludes its two-game road trip when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday 12/12 at 1:25pm at Paul Brown Stadium.