If you look at the stat sheet, the 49ers appeared to have dominated their Week 4 divisional matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers posted a season-high 457 total net yards to Seattle's 234, ran 72 offensive plays (Seattle - 54), averaged 6.3 yards per play (Seattle – 4.3) and led the time of possession in the contest (31:40 to Seattle's 28:20). But mistakes were ultimately what cost San Francisco in the 28-21 loss.
Hot Start, Faulty Finish
Beyond an offensive holding penalty, San Francisco's offense couldn't have gotten off to a better start on their opening drive. Jimmy Garoppolo opened the game a perfect 6-for-6 for 70 yards and a score to tight end Ross Dwelley. Following Dwelley's score, the 49ers have now scored 12 touchdowns recorded by 12 different 49ers.
But beyond the opening drive, the offense struggled the remainder of the half moving the ball downfield. Garoppolo was 14-of-23 in the first half for 165 yards and threw an unfortunate interception that halted San Francisco's second series.
San Francisco managed to score on just three of their possessions on the day. The team was also just 2-14 on third down.
Losing the Turnover Battle
For the second-straight week, the 49ers were on the negative end of the turnover battle, notching two giveaways yet again. In addition to the aforementioned interception, returner Trenton Cannon fumbled a kick return inside of Seattle's 20 yard line. The turnover proved costly as Russell Wilson connected with Seahawks receiver Freddie Swain two plays later for a 13-yard touchdown.
Sunday marked the third-straight game the 49ers defense failed to record a takeaway.
Defense Held Strong, Couldn't Close Out Contest
San Francisco held Seattle's league-leading offense scoreless and without a first down throughout almost the entirety of the first half. The Seahawks led the league in first half points to open the season, averaging 20.7 heading into Week 4. Seattle opened the game with five-straight three-and-outs, three of which ended with a third-down sack. Dee Ford (2) and Nick Bosa (1) both registered at least one sack.
Recently signed cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, who got the start opposite Emmanuel Moseley with Josh Norman (chest) inactive, registered a tackle for loss on Seattle's second drive of the day.
Despite a noteworthy start for the defense, Seattle found momentum in the second half, scoring on three of their final four possessions.
"I'll have to watch it but it seemed like they just tried to spread us out a little more," linebacker Fred Warner said. "We needed to be better in the run game and that starts with me. I think they just started converting on third down and we were getting off on third down early in the game."
The 49ers did manage to limit Wilson to just 149 yards passing on the day, his lowest output of the season, and lowest mark since Week 15 of the 2020 season (vs. Washington Football Team - 121 yards).
San Francisco's defense had a number of opportunities to get off the field on third down, but more times than anticipated, penalties extended Seattle's drive. Two penalties came on the same drive that extended Seattle's lead by two scores. San Francisco committed eight total penalties on the day for a total of 78 yards in comparison to Seattle's five for 27 yards.
The 49ers lost several players throughout Sunday's contest, with one of the most notable being kicker Robbie Gould. Gould suffered a groin injury in pregame warmups and did not play in Sunday's contest.
Punter Mitch Wishnowsky saw snaps in Gould's absence. Wishnowsky connected on an extra point, however, missed a 41-yard field goal in the second quarter. He also kicked wide left on another extra point opportunity.
The 49ers had to alter their approach and play more aggressively with Gould sidelined. The team made two attempts at two-point conversions, with one drawing a false start penalty (which later became a missed extra point) and the other, a successful rush by rookie quarterback Trey Lance.
It's possible the 49ers could be without Gould for an extended period of time. The 49ers could look at the free agent market to bring in another option while the team waits for Gould's return.
Additionally, Garoppolo suffered a calf injury in the first half of the contest. Per Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco will assess the quarterback when the 49ers return to the team facility on Monday.
"I'm hopeful it'll just be a couple of weeks or something like that," Garoppolo said postgame.