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What we learned as Lance takes over in 49ers' loss to Seattle

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SANTA CLARA — The season appears to already be slipping away for the 49ers.

The 49ers fell two games behind the top of the NFC West on Sunday with a 28-21 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.

But that’s only the beginning of the 49ers’ issues ...

We all know the 49ers have plenty of injuries at running back and cornerback.

On Sunday, the bad luck began before the game even started when kicker Robbie Gould was ruled out with a groin injury after warmups.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had an up-and-down first half, and he could not answer the bell to start the third quarter because of a calf injury.

And left tackle Trent Williams, one of the team’s best players, left the game in the fourth quarter with an elbow injury.

Meanwhile, the 49ers’ opponent next week, the Arizona Cardinals, took the lead in the NFC West with a victory over the Los Angeles Rams in a matchup of teams that entered the week with 3-0 records.

The 49ers fell to 2-2 with their second consecutive loss, while the Seahawks snapped a two-game losing streak to even their record at 2-2.

Here are the takeaways from the 49ers’ Week 4 game:

Lance takes over for injured Garoppolo

Rookie quarterback Trey Lance might not be ready for a full-time role, but coach Kyle Shanahan had no choice Sunday.

Garoppolo started and had largely a lackluster first half. And when the 49ers came out to open the second half, it was Lance who took the field.

 

Lance completed nine of 18 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns.

The 49ers announced Garoppolo’s return as “questionable” due to a calf injury. He stood on the sideline with a wrap on his right calf.

Lance gave the 49ers a little life after the Seahawks took a 14-point lead in the third quarter. Lance hit a wide-open Deebo Samuel for a 76-yard touchdown pass.

Shanahan appeared to put more on the plate of Garoppolo, due to struggles with the 49ers’ run game.

Garoppolo led the 49ers down the field for a touchdown on the team’s first possession of the game. He found tight end Ross Dwelley on a 21-yard pass play to give the 49ers an early 7-0 lead.

But the 49ers could not maintain that momentum, as Seahawks free safety Quandre Diggs intercepted Garoppolo on the next series.

Garoppolo completed 14 of 23 pass attempts for 165 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His passer rating was 79.1.

Wishnowsky takes over kicking duties

The 49ers left points on the board and did not seize momentum because of the lack of a place-kicker.

Robbie Gould sustained a groin injury during pregame warmups and could not perform. The 49ers handed the place-kicking duties over to punter Mitch Wishnowsky.

Wishnowsky made the extra point on his first attempt after the 49ers scored an opening-drive touchdown.

But he also missed just outside the left upright from 41 yards out. The kick would have given the 49ers a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, when the 49ers cut the Seahawks' lead to 21-13, the 49ers were prepared to go for two points.

But when guard Laken Tomlinson was called for a false start, Shanahan opted to kick a 38-yard PAT rather than go for two points from the 7-yard line. Wishnowsky missed the extra-point try.

Defense starts hot before fading

The 49ers forced five three-and-outs to open the game. But, then, Seattle got on a roll and scored touchdowns on four of its next five full possessions.

The 49ers committed two costly penalties on the Seattle drive that put the game away early in the fourth quarter. Dee Ford jumped offside on a third-and-6 play, leading to a Seahawks third-down conversion on a short run. Then, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was called for 23-yard pass interference on a third-and-10 play.

Two plays later, running back Alex Collins gave the Seahawks a 28-13 lead with a 14-yard touchdown run.

The 49ers held the Seahawks without a first down for more than 25 minutes to open the game.

The defense was dominant, holding the Seahawks to minus-7 yards on their first five possessions of the game. Seattle went three-and-out and ran just 15 plays and punted five times to open the game.

Dee Ford had two sacks in the first half, and Nick Bosa added one sack.

As well as the 49ers played on defense, the offense could not take advantage. Seattle scored the tying points late in the first half when Russell Wilson found DK Metcalf for a 12-yard scoring play on the first play after the two-minute warning.

 

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