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Grading 49ers' offense, defense in tough loss to Seahawks

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SEATTLE — The 49ers did not need a perfect game Sunday to beat the Seattle Seahawks.

But they had way too many mistakes in all phases — especially special teams and offense — to escape Seattle with victory.

“Yeah, we definitely blew it,” 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa said after the 49ers’ 30-23 loss in Week 13.

The Seahawks snapped the 49ers’ three-game winning streak. The 49ers, now 6-6, slipped to the No. 7 seed in the NFC playoffs.

“I know we’re all disappointed, very frustrated,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said.

Here is the 49ers’ report card from their Week 13 loss:

Rushing offense

The Seahawks own one of the most-difficult defenses on which to run the ball, and it showed on Sunday. The Seahawks entered the game allowing just 3.9 yards per rushing attempt (third in the NFL). And they were able to slow down Elijah Mitchell and the 49ers’ ground game.

Mitchell carried the ball 22 yards for just 66 yards and a touchdown. The 49ers had a 2.8-yard average and had just six first downs rushing in the game.

Seattle stacked the line of scrimmage and made it difficult for the offensive line to generate any holes.

Grade: C-minus

Passing offense

Tight end George Kittle had a huge game with nine receptions for 181 yards and two touchdowns. But the Seahawks did a good job with the game on the line of forcing 49ers’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to go elsewhere with the ball.


The 49ers had success in the passing game, as they averaged 9.5 yards per pass attempt.

Garoppolo was sacked just one time for 5 yards, but it went for a safety.

But Garoppolo made two poor decisions with passes that got intercepted. He had two interceptions in his past five games. But he was picked off twice on Sunday.

Brandon Aiyuk had three receptions for 55 yards.

The loss of Deebo Samuel hurt, as Jauan Jennings and Trent Sherfield combined for just three catches for 24 yards.

The 49ers were not good on third downs, as they were successful on just three of their 10 tries.

Grade: D-plus

Rushing defense

The official stats show that the 49ers gave up 146 rushing yards on 27 attempts. But half of those rushing yards came against the 49ers’ special teams (see below).

Newly acquired veteran running back Adrian Peterson gained 16 yards on 11 rushing attempts. He had a 1-yard touchdown run.

On the 26 running attempts against the 49ers’ defense, the Seahawks managed just 73 yards or 2.8 yards a carry.

The 49ers had six tackles for loss, including two from nose tackle D.J. Jones.

Grade: A

Passing defense

Starting cornerback Emmanuel Moseley left the game in the first half with an ankle injury. That caused some issues for the 49ers’ pass defense. Rookie Deommodore Lenoir played the remainder of the first half. He was benched to start the second half, and veteran Dontae Johnson took over.

Despite all of that, the 49ers’ pass defense allowed just 4.4 yards per Seahawks passing attempt. Contributing to that low average was the 49ers’ four sacks for minus-50 yards. Nick Bosa had a 23-yard sack. Arik Armstead and Jordan Willis had a sack apiece, while Arden Key and Azeez Al-Shaair shared a sack.

The 49ers’ pass defense also forced three turnovers. Azeez Al-Shaair and D.J. Jones forced fumbles of tight end Gerald Everett with Moseley and Johnson recovering the fumbles. K’Waun Williams had an interception at the goal line on a pass that Everett failed to handle.

The worst sequence for the pass defense came at the end of the first half when Key and Charles Omenihu had roughing-the-passer penalties that gave the Seahawks 30 yards in penalties.

All in all, the 49ers can point to a lot of different areas than how they defended the Seahawks’ passing game.

Grade: A-minus

Special teams

The 49ers’ breakdowns on special teams were the main areas that failed the team in both losses to the Seahawks this season.

The problems started early, when Seattle caught the 49ers off-guard with a fake punt after an impressive start for the defense. Travis Homer took a direct snap and took it untouched for a 73-yard touchdown.

Seattle scored a touchdown late in the second quarter after they took over at the 35 on a kick return. Return man Travis Benjamin opened the second half with a lost fumble.


Kicker Robbie Gould made a 50-yard field goal, but he also missed an extra point.

Grade: F


On offense and defense, the 49ers looked well-prepared for this game from the beginning.

The game plan looked especially good on defense, where it looked as if defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans had his club ready for whatever Seattle tried.

The 49ers had success in the passing game, as it was going to be difficult to move the ball against Seattle on the ground.

RELATED: Why Kittle wasn't targeted on final two plays

They had a difficult time getting into a rhythm in the third quarter after Benjamin’s fumble took away a possession.

Grade: C-plus


The Seattle Seahawks are not a good team. But they are the Seattle Seahawks, and they will always give the 49ers problems.

The 49ers simply made too many mistakes. They were too careless with the football. They had too many disastrous plays on special teams, and they committed too many penalties.

Blame the refs, if you’d like, but 10 penalties for 86 yards is way too much to overcome — especially for the 49ers in Seattle.

Grade: D


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