49ers

49ers report card: Grades on offense, defense in 27-24 loss to Seahawks

49ers report card: Grades on offense, defense in 27-24 loss to Seahawks

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers, the last unbeaten team in the NFL, are unbeaten no longer.

The Seattle Seahawks came to town and emerged with a 27-24 overtime victory that took a physical toll on the 49ers while also providing another dose of anguish for the home fans at Levi’s Stadium.

The 49ers fall to 8-1 on the season, while the Seahawks are right back in the NFC West hunt with an 8-2 mark.

Here are the 49ers’ grades from their first loss of the season:

Rushing offense

Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert combined for 68 yards on 15 rushing attempts, but the 49ers managed only two first downs on the ground.

Matt Breida really struggled, as he was clearly bothered by an ankle injury before leaving the game in the second half. Breida managed just 18 yards on 10 carries. The 49ers were not able to open consistent holes on the ground, as Seattle made it a point to slow down the running game. The Seahawks' front seven won this battle quite decisively.

Grade: D-minus

Passing offense

The pass protection really struggled.

Jimmy Garoppolo really struggled.

The pass-catchers really struggled.

This was a bad night for this group all the way around. Offensive tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey were back in the lineup, and the Seattle pass rush feasted. Garoppolo lost two fumbles on sacks, including one that Jadeveon Clowney scooped up and returned for a touchdown.

The 49ers were playing without tight end George Kittle. No. 1 receiver Emmanuel Sanders went down in the first half with a rib injury. Deebo Samuel stepped up with eight receptions for 112 yards, but everyone else really struggled. Kendrick Bourne had a touchdown reception, but he had some costly dropped passes, too.

Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis had three passes thrown their way apiece. Neither caught a pass and both players had drops. They made zero contribution.

Garoppolo completed 24 of 46 passes for 248 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He should have had a few more interceptions, but Seattle’s defense let some easy opportunities slip away.

Grade: F

Rushing Defense

The 49ers run defense did a commendable job against Chris Carson, who gained 89 yards on 25 rushing attempts. The 49ers had to be happy with the effort to hold Carson to 3.6-yard per attempt.

Russell Wilson was the Seahawks’ most-effective runner, as he gained 53 yards on six scrambles. Those yards, though counting toward the rushing total, were on plays that started out as passes.

K’Waun Williams had a forced fumble of running back Rashaad Penny that DeForest Buckner recovered in the third quarter.

Grade: B

Passing Defense

The 49ers did a good job against Wilson, who completed 24 of 34 passes for 232 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw had what looked like a huge interception in overtime, along with a 47-yard return. However, the 49ers failed to cash in.

The 49ers' pass-rush got after Wilson, sacking him five times for minus-43 yards. Fred Warner had two sacks. Arik Armstead had 1.5 sacks, while D.J. Jones added a sack and K’Waun Williams came up with a half-sack.

The 49ers got back into the game in the fourth quarter when DeForest Buckner had a 12-yard fumble return for a touchdown after Armstead and Williams teamed up for a sack.

Jaquiski Tartt saved a touchdown in the first half when he stripped DK Metcalf of the ball near the goal line.

Grade: A-minus

Special Teams

Rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin was in line to be the star of the game after making a pressure kick at the end of regulation to send it to overtime. But when he had a chance to win it in the extra session, his kick sailed so far to the left that it ended up in the tunnel in the corner of the end zone.

Mitch Wishnowsky averaged 46.4 yards on his five punts, but he had one touchback and Tyler Lockett had a 20-yard return to leave him with a net average of 37.6 yards.

Richie James did not get much going in the return game.

Grade: C-minus

[RELATED: McLaughlin tries to make sense of missed FG]

Overall

First, it looked as if the 49ers were going to win a blowout. Then, it looked as if Seattle would pull away. It was a back-and-forth encounter that ended with Seattle taking home the victory in overtime.

The 49ers made so many mistakes. And the Seahawks let them off the hook with their failure to capitalize on many other potential mistakes. The 49ers’ defense gave the 49ers a chance to win, but the offense was mostly a disaster.

Grade: D

Chiefs' Eric Bieniemy indentifies 'heart and soul' of 49ers' defense

Chiefs' Eric Bieniemy indentifies 'heart and soul' of 49ers' defense

The Kansas City Chiefs offense is stacked. They have an elite quarterback in Patrick Mahomes and a track team of receivers in Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman and Travis Kelce, the best tight end east of George Kittle.

They shouldn’t fear anybody. Not with that lineup. They do have great respect for the 49ers defense, its ferocious front in particular.

That’s an appropriate stance. The 49ers might have the NFL’s best defensive line, featuring Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Dee Ford and Arik Armstead.

The 49ers have the league’s best pass defense and ranked fifth with 48 sacks during the regular season. They have nine more this postseason, largely by taking opponents off schedule and setting up favorable pass-rush situations.

All that’s why the Chiefs attack versus the 49ers defense is strength on strength. Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy understands that and identifies what makes the 49ers go.

“They are fast, and they do a great job of rushing the passer,” Bieniemy said in his Thursday press conference. “They have some big boys up front. That’s the heart and soul of who they are. I’m not knocking anybody on that defense because everything starts up front. It’s just like on offense. We want our guys to be the heart and soul of who we are.

"Well, the heart and soul of that defense lies up front. Those guys do a great job of getting off the ball. On top of that, they have a couple of backers who just fly around. On the back end, those guys are playing very, very sound, with one hell of a leader in Richard Sherman.”

[RELATED: 49ers' Robert Saleh details what makes Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes elite]

The 49ers have linebacker depth and legit players in a secondary that plays its coverages well. It’s a complete unit that has earned Kanas City’s respect.

“Obviously they have a ton of playmakers on the defense with the defensive line, linebackers and in the secondary,” Mahomes said. “They have guys that have experience and they have young guys that are super talented and so you can see that the young guys have really grown as the season has gone on and they have learned from other guys around. They’re very sound in what they do and in the coverages that they play. For us, it’s about executing at a high level and knowing it’s going to be a challenge every single play.”

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).

Jimmy Garoppolo's first encounter with Patrick Mahomes left impression

Jimmy Garoppolo's first encounter with Patrick Mahomes left impression

SANTA CLARA -- In Week 3 of the 2018 season, the Chiefs beat the 49ers 38-27, but more important than the loss alone, the trajectory of the losing club was changed forever. 
 
Late in the fourth quarter, down by 12 points, Jimmy Garoppolo faced a third-and-20 situation. The quarterback scrambled for 13 yards and in the process tore his ACL, ending his season. 

There were several impressions made on Garoppolo from the experience but one of the positives was his first interaction with Patrick Mahomes. After the game, Garoppolo was on a cart in the tunnels of Arrowhead Stadium and the Chiefs quarterback sought out Garoppolo to wish him luck in his recovery. 

It’s a moment that Garoppolo was asked if he still recalled. 

“Absolutely,” Garoppolo said. “I didn’t even know Pat at the time. For him to come out of his way after the game and wish me luck and everything, just a real class act. The guy is awesome, on the field, off the field, he does it all.”  

The 49ers went on to finish the 2018 season with a disappointing 4-12 record but an argument could be made that there was a huge positive from those results. The 49ers, in turn, had the second pick in the 2019 NFL draft and were able to select Nick Bosa. 

The addition of the Ohio State product, as well as free agent Dee Ford, has added speed to the defensive line. Those two, among other key additions, helped the team to a 13-3 regular season. Subsequently, the club is now preparing for Super Bowl LIV to face off with Chiefs once again, but this time for all the marbles. 

[RELATED: McGlinchey calls out Jimmy G naysayers]

The two quarterbacks have not had the chance to interact since that fateful game but Garoppolo still has a lot of respect for the gesture. 

“Not really since then, no, but just for him to do something as simple as that, it went a long way.”
 

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).