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49ers Fall to Seahawks in Seattle

Posted Sep 15, 2013

San Francisco suffered a defeat against its NFC West rival before a packed CenturyLink Field and a nationally audience in Week 2.

With two up-and-coming quarterbacks leading explosive offenses, go figure that the 49ers duel with the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night resembled more of a defensive struggle.

The 49ers (1-1, 0-1) fell to their NFC West Division rival, 29-3, at a noisy CenturyLink Field and before national audience. Russell Wilson was his solid self, but it was running back Marshawn Lynch and a turnover-creating defense piloted the Seahawks (2-0, 1-0) to victory.

Kaepernick rushed for a team-high 87 yards but threw three interceptions and lost a fumble. It was his first ever multi-pick game.

"Don't think any of us are proud of our performance tonight," Jim Harbaugh said postgame. "They played very well. We didn't play nearly good enough. Facts are sudden things. That's what took place."

San Francisco’s start to the game wasn't so inauspicious. The special teams unit created a stir early in the first quarter. Craig Dahl blocked Jon Ryan’s punt at the end of Seattle’s second drive of the game. A handful of Seahawks special teamers stood up out of their stance at the snap of the ball. TV commentators speculated that they were reacting to a whistle blown by a fan in the stands.

Dahl’s block was the 49ers first on a punt since Week 4 last season.

PHOTO GALLERY: 49ERS VS. SEAHAWKS

The 49ers wouldn’t turn the unusual opportunity into points. Nine plays into the ensuing drive, Kaepernick was intercepted by safety Earl Thomas at the one-yard line. Kaepernick’s pass to tight end Vernon Davis was batted into the air by cornerback Walter Thurmond.

"We're not going to win games if I play like that," Kaepernick said postgame. "There were a couple of balls I tried to force in there."

Rookie safety Eric Reid intercepted Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on  the next drive. Reid made incidental contact with Wilson’s intended target, wideout Golden Tate, before hauling in his second pick in as many games. In fact, Reid became the franchise’s first rookie to open his career with two straight games with interceptions since the NFL merger in 1970.

Reid left the game on the final series of the first half after a big hit on Seahawks wideout Sidney Rice left Reid motionless at midfield. Concussed, he was taken to the locker room in advance of the halfway mark and replaced in the game by Dahl.

"He couldn't remember the play," Harbaugh said of Reid. "It was assessed as a concussion."

The Reid-authored turnover gave Kaepernick and Co. the ball back at their own 25-yard line but crowd noise again came into play. A false start penalty and a delay of game infraction, which wiped out rookie wide receiver Quinton Patton’s first NFL catch, pushed the offense back, forcing an eventual punt.

Nose tackle Ian Williams, who appeared at fullback on offense for the first time, went down with a left ankle injury during the defense’s second series of the game. He was deemed “out” for the remainder. The team did not comment on the severity of the injury, but Williams broke the ankle, according to media reports.

Harbaugh said Williams was "engaged (in a) zone play when a backside guard cut blocked" him.

"That's legal the way the rules are set up," the coach said.

Williams’ replacement, Glenn Dorsey, recorded a sack of Wilson on the team’s third series, late in the opening quarter.

That’s about when things came to a stop. With just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter, the game was suspended due to the presence of lighting and rain.

Exactly one hour later, at 7:05 p.m. PT, the game resumed.

The defensive struggle continued into the second quarter. With Seahawks stud left tackle Russell Okung out (foot, deemed “questionable” to return) and Steve McQuistan sliding over from his guard spot, 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith sacked Wilson to end Seattle’s first post-delay drive.

Seattle then grabbed a 2-0 lead on San Francisco’s ensuing offensive series. Fullback Bruce Miller was flagged for holding linebacker Malcolm Smith inside the end zone.

The Seahawks extended their lead to 5-0 on Steven Hauschka’s 30-yard field goal thanks to more strong defensive play: In his organizational debut, defensive end Cliff Avril stripped an on-the-move Kaepernick midway through the second quarter, and outside linebacker K.J. Wright picked it up inside 49ers territory.

The advantage became 12-0 on the home team’s first drive of the second half. Wilson found wideout Doug Baldwin for a 51-yard pass-and-catch, then running back Marshawn Lynch ran into the end zone from 14 yards out.

Lynch, who entered Sunday with 100-yard performances in three straight matchups with the 49ers defense, fell just short of a fourth consecutive. He rushed 28 times for 98 yards and recorded two fourth-quarter touchdowns, one receiving and one rushing.

The 49ers finally found an offensive rhythm on their first drive of the third quarter. Kaepernick gained 28 yards, weaving his way down the left sideline. On the next play, he found rookie tight end Vance McDonald for a 19-yard connection.

The highlights led to Phil Dawson’s 21-yard field goal. That decreased the deficit to nine points, but that’s as close as the visitors got to victory.

"We need to bounce back in a big way," Harbaugh said.

The 49ers host Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts (1-1) in Week 3.

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