San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner celebrates with the crowd after his team’s 27-7 win over Seattle at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday SEP 18, 2022. (San Francisco 49ers)
by Marko Ukalovic
SANTA CLARA — There’s bittersweet wins and there’s what happened to Tre Lance.
The San Francisco 49ers second year quarterback suffered a broken ankle running the ball during the second offensive series in the first quarter as the defense carried the team to a 27-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium.
On a 2nd and 8 from the Seahawks 21-yard line, Lance ran up the right side on a designed run play called by 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and was tackled by Seahawks linebacker Cody Barton. Lance laid on the field for a while before finally being carted off the field ending his day. Lance will have surgery to repair his ankle.
“You don’t have time to sit there and think about it, you have to get (your head) back into the game,” said Shanahan regarding the emotions of having Lance get injured. “I thought the guys did a real good job of that. We’re happy about the win, but it was a little sombering once you get in the locker room and see him (Lance) and stuff.”
Backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo came in and filled in nicely as he did what he does best, act as a game manager for San Francisco. Garoppolo connected on a 38-yard touchdown reception to backup tight end Ross Dwelley on his second possession to put San Francisco up 13-0 early in the second quarter.
The 49ers (1-1) defense might have been the secondary story of the afternoon, but they were the key to the team’s victory. They pressured Seattle’s quarterback Geno Smith relentlessly throughout the game and made him uncomfortable in the pocket.
Defensive end Nick Bosa sacked Smith twice and the Niners secondary intercepted him twice, one by Charvarius Ward and one by Taushan Gipson. Strong safety Talanoa Hufunga had another strapping game as he helped contain Seattle’s receivers from making big plays.
“Honestly, I really believe that we just didn’t do what we needed to today. I just think we made some mistakes that we couldn’t recover from,” Smith said.
San Francisco’s defense held Seattle to just 36 yards rushing on the day. They made sure they didn’t have a second half letdown to allow Seattle back in the game like they did last week against Chicago.
“Last week we let them back in the game, being up 10-0. Our mindset is, the offense scores, that’s enough points for us to win the game. So we knew we wanted to play a full four quarter game and I think we did that,” said 49ers linebacker Fred Warner.
Lance’s teammates are going to miss having him around in the locker room the rest of this season.
“Unfortunate events for Tre (Lance). That’s my man. I’ve really been praying for him. (I am) very grateful the energy he has brought into this locker room. We were the youngest on the team last year so we understand what it means to really play at this level. For him, I’m just trying to keep his spirits up and continue to go down this journey. It’s going to be a lot of adversity he’s going to face, but he’s strong enough to handle it,” Hufanga said.
Garoppolo looked rusty at times underthrowing a few balls and also looked like the quarterback the led San Francisco to the NFC Championship last year with precision throws to his receivers.
“Just like riding a bike,” Garoppolo said when asked how he felt in his first game action of the season. “It felt good to be back out there. I feel terrible for Tre (Lance). I’ve been on the side of it. This league is tough. That sucks for him, feel bad for him but he’s our brother and we’ll pick him up.”
Garopollo finished 13 of 21 for 154 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions. He also had a one-yard rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter to seal the win for San Francisco.
“I thought he did a real good job coming off the bench. (He) made some key throws. Real proud of Jimmy (Garoppolo) with how he came in and (was) ready for the moment. Helped us get a win. He looks good, still handsome,” said Shanahan.
Seattle (1-1) could not generate any scoring offensively but its special teams were responsible for its only points in the game. Tariq Woolen blocked a 25-yard field goal attempt by Robbie Gould late in third quarter. Michael Jackson scooped up the ball and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown.
“We manned up for a while and then at the end of the game, those guys just toughed it out and they (49ers) played good today. So, credit to them for coming in with a plan and sticking to their plan,”said Seahawks free safety Quandre Diggs.
Jeff Wilson Jr led San Francisco in rushing with 84 yards on 18 carries. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk chipped in with a one-yard rushing touchdown.
Brandon Aiyuk led the 49ers in receiving with five catches for 63 yards. Deebo Samuel contributed five catches for 44 yards.
Smith finished 24 of 30 for 197 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Tyler Lockett led all receivers with nine catches for 107 yards in the losing effort.
GAME NOTES: San Francisco finished 6-for-15 on third down conversions. Seattle was 2-for-7.
San Francisco had 373 total yards of offense compares to Seattle’s 216.
UP NEXT: San Francisco travels to the mile high city to take on the Denver Broncos on Sunday 9/25 at 5:20pm at Empower Field at Mile High