Instant Replay: Seahawks 42, 49ers 13


Instant Replay: Seahawks 42, 49ers 13


SEATTLE -- The 49ers were without the services of injured defensive tackle Justin Smith on Sunday night against the Seattle Seahawks.

And a whole bunch of other 49ers were absent, too.

The surging Seahawks got off to a hot start and the 49ers did not provide much of a challenge in a 42-13 loss in front of a deafening crowd on a drizzly night at CenturyLink Stadium.

It was the largest defeat of Jim Harbaugh's two seasons with the 49ers. Earlier this season, the 49ers lost to the New York Giants by 23 points. The game continued a pattern in which the 49ers never had more than a two-game win streak the entire season. The 49ers have not lost back-to-back games under Harbaugh, who watched as the Seahawks spoiled his 49th birthday with the blowout win.

The 49ers played poorly from the outset. And to make matters worse, two offensive starters exited the game with injuries. Tight end Vernon Davis sustained a concussion after absorbing a brutal -- and illegal -- hit from Seattle safety Kam Chancellor in the first quarter.

Receiver Mario Manningham, who returned to action after missing the two previous games with a shoulder injury, went down in the third quarter with what is feared to be a serious left knee injury. He did not return.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers' offense struggled to get the ball snapped in the allotted time. The 49ers were flagged twice for delay-of-game penalties in the first half, and they called timeouts to avoid two other penalties in the first 30 minutes of the game.

The loss drops the NFC West-leading 49ers to 10-4-1 and out of the No. 2 spot in the NFC playoffs. The Green Bay Packers (11-4) hold a half-game lead over the 49ers for a first-round bye and a home game in the divisional round. The No. 3 seed would host a playoff game against the NFC's No. 6 seed the weekend after the regular season.

The 49ers can still gain the No. 2 seed with a victory over the Arizona Cardinals next week at Candlestick Park, along with a Packers loss at the Minnesota Vikings.

If the 49ers beat the Cardinals, they will win the NFC West. The Seahawks, who clinched a playoff spot with the victory, can only win the division title with a victory over the St. Louis Rams, coupled with a 49ers loss to the Cardinals.

Manningham's availability for the playoffs is in serious doubt, and Davis must pass the NFL's protocol for concussions in order to return. Davis is required to receive clearance from an independent neurologist before he can take part in football activity.

Chancellor was penalized 15 yards for his hit on Davis, and things only got worse from there. Despite a first-and-goal situation, the 49ers settled for a short field-goal attempt. And that proved disastrous.

Struggling David Akers' kick appeared low, and Red Bryant penetrated against Joe Staley and blocked the field-goal attempt. Richard Sherman scooped up the ball and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown. Sherman continues to play while his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy is under appeal.

Sherman's touchdown gave the Seahawks a 21-0 lead just 55 seconds into the second quarter. Sherman opened the fourth quarter with an interception of a short Kaepernick pass in the back of the end zone.

In a game matching a pair of young dual-threat quarterbacks, Seattle rookie Russell Wilson had the upper hand.

Wilson completed 15-of-21 passes for 171 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. The rookie quarterback added 29 yards rushing on six carries and watched from the sideline as Matt Flynn handled the final kneel downs to end the game. Meanwhile, Kaepernick completed 19-of-36 passes for 244 yards, with one touchdown, a garbage time connection with Delanie Walker, and one interception. Kaepernick was also the 49ers' leading rusher with 31 yards on seven carries.

Justin Smith saw his streak of 185 consecutive starts come to an end, as he was inactive due to a left elbow injury. Ricky Jean Francois made the start on the defensive line in place of Smith, whose ironman streak began in 2001 as a rookie with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Seahawks immediately tested Smith's replacement, as Marshawn Lynch scored on a 24-yard touchdown run over the right side of the 49ers' line. Seattle took advantage of a blown coverage as Lynch scored late in the first quarter on a 9-yard pass from rookie quarterback Russell Wilson for a 14-0 lead.

The Seahawks extended their lead to 28-3 late in the second quarter on tight end Anthony McCoy's 6-yard touchdown catch.

Akers ended the half on a good note with a 54-yard field goal to cut the Seahawks' lead to 28-6.

The third quarter did not begin well for the 49ers, as Manningham lost a fumble on a play in which he sustained a left knee injury.

Manningham caught a short pass from Kaepernick. Cornerback Jeremy Lane immediately had him stopped. Linebacker Leroy Hill came in and hit Manningham low, causing Manningham's knee to bend awkwardly. He required assistance to leave the field and was then transported on a cart to the 49ers' locker room for further evaluation.

The Seahawks poured it on in the second half as Wilson threw touchdown passes to Doug Baldwin that covered 4 and 6 yards. Baldwin and Sherman both played for Harbaugh at Stanford.

Montana, Clark scheduled to address crowd at Levi's Stadium


Montana, Clark scheduled to address crowd at Levi's Stadium

SANTA CLARA -- Dwight Clark and Joe Montana are scheduled to address the crowd Sunday at Levi’s Stadium at halftime of the 49ers’ game against the Dallas Cowboys.

It should be an emotional day, as 36 members from the team that defeated Dallas in the NFC Championship Game and went on to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title are expected to attend.

Montana is scheduled to be surrounded by his former teammates and speak from the field at halftime. Clark is likely to be situated in a suite, where he is expected to make some remarks. Clark, 60, announced in March he was diagnosed with ALS.

Former 49ers offensive lineman Randy Cross, appearing on the 49ers Insider Podcast, said he is looking forward to seeing so many of his teammates from the squad that served as a springboard for five Super Bowl titles under the ownership of Hall of Famer Eddie DeBartolo.

“I can’t wait to see (Clark),” Cross said. “I can’t wait to see Eddie. I can’t wait to see Joe. There is a core group of guys I’ve gotten to see a few times a year since we all went our separate ways. There are guys I’ll get a chance to see, in some cases, (for the first time) since almost around the time we parted ways in the early-‘80s.”

The NFC Championship Game on Jan. 10, 1982, is best-remembered for “The Catch” – Clark’s leaping, finger-tip grab of a Montana pass for a 6-yard touchdown with 51 seconds remaining.

The 49ers defeated the Cowboys 28-27 at Candlestick Park. Coach Bill Walsh’s team went on to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals, 26-21, in Super Bowl XVI.

“For those of us who played on the Niners charity basketball team with both Joe and Dwight, and knowing their hoop skills and the way they could jump, we weren’t terribly surprised at: A, how high he threw it; and, B, how high Dwight got,” said Cross, who was blocking from his right guard position near the sideline and had an unobstructed view of the play.

“If Dwight got his fingers on it, it was going to be a catch. That was the thing about D.C., you won’t find too many instances in which he had a ball on him or near him that he dropped. There wasn’t much doubt.”

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Kyle Shanahan is, self admittedly, not a patient person. As he watched quarterback C.J. Beathard run the scout team over the last couple of weeks -- how he visualized an unfamiliar play, went through his progressions and handled the defensive coverages -- the head coach saw rapid improvement every day. But he suppressed any urge to play the rookie before he was ready.

“I tried to wait for the right time for him and the right time for the team,” Shanahan explained.

Down 14-0 to Washington halfway through the second quarter with starter Brian Hoyer struggling, Shanahan knew Beathard’s time had come.

“I felt the team needed it right then,” Shanahan said. “It also made me more confident to do it because I thought he was ready for it, also.”

Moments after the game was over, Shanahan named Beathard the starter. Watching the game tape on the flight home only bolstered his decision.

“By no means was he perfect, missed a couple of things, but that always happens,” Shanahan said. “I thought he came in there, didn’t hesitate, competed. The moment was not too big for him. Made a few plays in rhythm, made a few off schedule plays and was a big reason we got back in that game.”

Beathard led the 49ers on two scoring drives and finished 19-of-36 with 245 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception, though it came on fourth-and-20 on his final pass attempt of the game. On his 45-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson, Beathard extended the play when the fifth year receiver wasn’t where he expected him to be.

“He was supposed to go to the post for a certain coverage, and they had a busted coverage, so he just hung out there which is why C.J. didn’t see it right away,” Shanahan explained. “We had enough protection where he could take a couple more hitches. He drove the pocket and saw where Aldrick was, and he didn’t hesitate. Made that throw with that arm strength.”

Shanahan smirked at his not-so-subtle dig at those who questioned Beathard’s arm strength during the draft process. He sees a quarterback who can make all the throws, and make them from the pocket, and scramble when he needs to. All he needs now, Shanahan contends, is experience.

“It’s about playing in the game and reacting to defenses, reacting to coverages, reacting to adjustments. He’s going to see a lot of things he hasn’t seen before, and that will change each week. It will probably change each quarter.”

Helping Beathard continue to grow through those experiences will require patience, but in this situation, it’s the kind the head coach can handle.

“You’re never going to get a quick answer. You see over time, but he’s got the ability to do it. He’s got the mental toughness to do it. I think he will get better the more he plays.”