SANTA CLARA – On a day in which the 49ers made plenty of news off the field, they had one final game to get through before heading into what promises to be a busy offseason.
The 49ers dropped their seventh consecutive game to the Seattle Seahawks, as the NFC West-champions rallied and then held on for a 25-23 victory on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. The loss snapped the 49ers’ string of nine consecutive wins in home finales.
The 49ers on Friday fired general manager Trent Baalke, who said during his weekly appearance on the 49ers pregame show on radio station KNBR that attending the season finale was the “right thing to do.”
CEO Jed York is scheduled to meet with coach Chip Kelly after the game. York is expected to fire Kelly and begin the search for a coach-general manager pairing to set the organization in a different direction.
Kelly, who was known for an innovative passing game, was unable to get any production from the team’s offense. The 49ers’ passing attack ranked last in the NFL. And the defense was the worst in franchise history, setting franchise-worst marks in yards allowed in a season, point allowed and rushing yards allowed.
Colin Kaepernick, playing in what could be the final 49ers game of his career, started out hot. He completed his first 10 pass attempts for 144 yards through the first 25 minutes of the game.
Kaepernick completed 17 of 22 pass attempts for 215 yards with a passer rating of 122.3. His 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Garrett Celek pulled the 49ers to within 25-23 with 5:42 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Kaepernick can opt out of his contract before the start of the new league year on March 9 to become an unrestricted free agent. If Kaepernick does not opt out, the 49res would be expected to release him to avoid paying his scheduled $14.9 million in salary and bonuses.
The 49ers took a 14-3 lead on Shaun Draughn’s two 1-yard touchdown runs – the later of which came on a fourth-and-goal play on the first play of the second quarter. Draughn got the start in place of Carlos Hyde, who sustained an MCL sprain last week in his left knee and was placed on injured reserve.
The 49ers’ backup running back, DuJuan Harris, helped the Seahawks get back into the game in the second quarter with a fumble near midfield that defensive end Frank Clark recovered and returned 27 yards.
Two plays later, Russell Wilson hit tight end Luke Willson for an 11-yard touchdown pass to cut the 49ers’ lead to 14-13.
Staley returns to action: Left tackle Joe Staley, who missed the previous three games due a hamstring injury, returned to the starting lineup on Sunday. Staley was named the winner of the Bill Walsh Award as the team’s MVP on Friday.
The 49ers’ starting offensive line consisted of Staley, left guard Andrew Gardner, center Zane Beadles, right guard Joshua Garnett and right tackle Trent Brown. Gardner saw his first action with the 49ers after signing as a free agent on Dec. 21.
This ‘n’ that
--Rookie cornerback Rashard Robinson sustained a left ankle injury and left the game in the second quarter and did not return. After being helped to the team bench, a cart transported Robinson to the locker room for further observation.
Robinson, a fourth-round draft pick, started seven games for the 49ers this season. He clinched the 49ers’ victory in Week 16 with an last-minute interception of Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff.
--The 49ers suited up only 45 players for the game – one fewer than allowed – due to tight end Je’Ron Hamm sustaining a serious left leg injury during pregame warmups. Hamm was fitted with an air cast and taken off the field on a cart.
--The 49ers scored their first safety since the 2013 season when Seattle long-snapper Nolan Frese airmailed a snap over punter Jon Ryan’s head and out of the back of the end zone in the third quarter.
--Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka made field goals of 31, 32, 33 and 28 yards.
--Wide receiver DeAndre Smelter, a fourth-round draft pick in 2015, had a 23-yard reception for his first NFL catch.