The Niners are now 2-2 as they head to the unbeaten Arizona Cardinals in Week 5
We complained about starting fast, and the 49ers‘ defense forced Seattle to go three-and-out while the offense, led by Jimmy Garoppolo going 6-for-6 for 70 yards and a nice touchdown pass to Ross Dwelley, marched down the field to score in 4:13 after marching 71 yards.
San Francisco forced another three-and-out on the next drive thanks to a sack by Dee Ford. Again, you couldn’t have asked for a better start. The offense seemed poise to drive the field again, but Garoppolo failed to see the safety coming from the other side, which led to an interception.
Seattle had a short field, but Nick Bosa exploded off the line of scrimmage for his fourth sack of the season to take the Seahawks out of field goal range. The defense held opposing offenses to three points on Garoppolo’s last three turnovers.
The offense had another promising drive that once again stalled. This time, it was due to Laken Tomlinson failing to pick up a blitzer. Then, with Robbie Gould out with a groin injury, Mitch Wishnowsky attempted a 41-yarder that was wide left.
The defense continued to dominate on the next series thanks to more pressure from the pass rush. Ford and Javon Kinlaw were in on a sack to force a Seattle punt.
San Francisco decided to get tricky on their next drive after doing whatever they wanted to. I know the play would have worked, but it involves perfect execution, and the throw was designed for George Kittle, who just looked like he lost his leg after a scary injury. The 49ers had to punt.
Through a quarter and a half, Seattle had -7 yards on 15 plays. The pressure was too much for Seattle. Still, the score was only 7-0, and the 49ers needed to score again to give them a little leeway.
That didn’t happen, and after Trenton Cannon failed to down the ball at the one-yard line after an impressive punt from Wishnowsky. One play later, and Seattle found themselves at midfield.
The Seahawks found themselves in the red zone within a blink of an eye, and DK Metcalf scored after facing Azeez Al-Shaair 1-on-1. That score made it 7-7 with just under two minutes to play in the first half.
San Francisco had a chance to score at the end of the half and receive the ball to start the second half. That didn’t happen.
Trey Lance started the second half after Garoppolo left with a calf injury. The 49ers punted after Shanahan didn’t call one passing on the drive.
The 49ers’ defense started the second half the way they started the game by forcing Seattle into a 3rd & 10. Emmanuel Moseley was beaten on the play but made a great recovery against DK Metcalf. Moseley also had a tackle for loss on the drive.
The Niners’ defense looked fast all afternoon.
Lance had some nerves on his first pass that went behind Kittle. That’s to be expected. Lance’s first throw was errant as well. You could tell he was amped up by the RPMs on his first two throws. The 49ers needed Lance to settle in.
Russell Wilson marched down the field to score after a seven-play, 66-yard drive that took 3:31 off the clock. On the following kickoff, Cannon fumbled and gave the ball back to Seattle. The Seahawks scored in two plays after Wilson worked his magic to find Freddie Swain in the end zone for a 21-7 lead.
San Francisco needed points in the worst way, and thanks to a busted coverage by Seattle, the offense got exactly what it needed. Deebo Samuel found himself open on a coverage bust and raced untouched in the end zone for a 76-yard touchdown.
The 49ers went for two, but Kyle Juszczyk had a false start which forced the Niners to kick the extra point. Wishnowsky missed his second PAT of the game to make it 21-13.
To make matters worse, Trent Williams left the game on a cart with cramps and was questionable to return.
The defense got Seattle into a 3rd & 6 on the following drive, but Ford lined up offsides after an incomplete pass to make it 3rd & 1. The Seahawks picked up the first down. After forcing Seattle into another 3rd & 10, Dre Kirkpatrick was flagged for defensive pass interference.
Alex Collins would score to make it 28-13. Two critical penalties cost the defense on this drive. Kirkpatrick was in position and didn’t have to grab Tyler Lockett, but he did.
Cannon was fired as the kick returner after a muff and a terrible decision. Deebo Samuel replaced him. Unfortunately, the offense went three-and-out after Lance was sacked on third down.
After being on the field for a five-minute drive and the offense going three-and-out, the 49ers’ defense holds and forces a much-needed Seattle punt. Arden Key left the game after being evaluated for a concussion.
Trent Williams left the game with an elbow injury and did not return.
It was abundantly clear that Shanahan didn’t fully trust Lance based on the play-calling. Lance looked jittery, unsure of his reads, and lacked touch on his throws. So, like a rookie. A 4th & 2 jet sweep call into the boundary was a head-scratcher.
Taking the ball out of Lance’s hands-on fourth down was a sign Shanahan didn’t believe Lance could pick up a first down. The defense stopped Seattle again, and that gave the Niners the ball back.
After a couple of Kyle Juszczyk receptions, the 49ers had the ball at midfield. The tempo helped move the ball. It felt like too little, too late. Tempo should be something this offense — especially with the amount of speed they have on the field — uses way more than when they need to score at the end of the game.
On the drive, once the Niners started moving the ball, Brandon Aiyuk was standing on the sideline. The 49ers had an opportunity to score, but Jamal Adams jarred the ball loose on a big hit that caused Kittle to drop the pass.
Deebo Samuel scored with 1:20 to play, and Lance converted a two-point conversion to make it 28-21. Samuel caught eight passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns.
Before you overreact, understand that Lance didn’t take any reps during practice. If he starts next week, he’s going to look much better. Lance ran a hurry-up, two-minute, and watered down offense. With a week to prepare, I imagine he’ll bring a lot more to the table.
The 49ers are 2-2. Buckle up. We’ll see what Kyle Shanahan is made of.