After struggling to the tune of a 36.7 passer rating against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13, Colin Kaepernick performed admirably versus his archrival on Sunday in the Emerald City.
The San Francisco 49ers quarterback finished his day 11-of-19 passing for 141 yards and an 81.2 rating. Kaepernick also rushed nine times for 46 yards, his highest total since Week 4.
Those numbers came behind an injury-depleted offensive line and without Frank Gore or Pierre Garçon for much of the second half.
Select images from the San Francisco 49ers rematch with the division-rival Seattle Seahawks in the Emerald City.
Of course, an improved performance didn't offer Kaepernick much of a silver lining following the 49ers 17-7 loss, which eliminated the team from playoff contention. Kaepernick won't be in the postseason for the first time in his four-year career.
"It is difficult," Kapernick said. "That's our expectation: that we're going to get to the playoffs and we're going to make a run. To not get that opportunity this year is not something that we're used to."
The 49ers will close out the season by hosting the San Diego Chargers and Arizona Cardinals. And although a fourth straight NFC championship game appearance is no longer attainable, Kaepernick insisted that San Francisco will not call it quits.
"Regardless of the situation, this team is going to go out and fight and try to win games the best we can," Kaepernick said. "There's nobody on this team that's going to step on that field and say, 'Hey, our season is over. We're not going to compete.' We'll compete until the end."
Although Sunday's loss sealed the 49ers fate, Kaepernick recalled a few other games that got away when asked what went wrong this year.
"We didn't execute and finish the way we should have; from the Chicago game to the Raiders game, those are two that pop out in my head," Kaepernick said. "And finishing the Rams game. That's three games right there. If we're 10-4 instead of 7-7, it's a big difference at this point."
As for the game itself, Kaepernick was pleased with how the team started. The signal-caller helped orchestrate three drives of seven or more plays in the first half, including an 11-play drive ending in 10-yard touchdown run from Gore.
Much of the 49ers early success was due to the ground attack, which totaled 104 yards in the first two quarters.
"We thought we could put the running backs, myself and the offensive line in a positive situation to have good plays," Kaepernick said. "We did move the ball well at the beginning, but we have to sustain that for 60 minutes."
When the 49ers lost Gore to a concussion, the offense could still stick to its plan with Hyde in the backfield. But when the rookie left with an ankle injury, San Francisco was forced to rely on its fullback, Bruce Miller, and its third-string 'back, Alfonso Smith.
"Frank's a phenomenal player, and he's one of the big leaders on this team. So to lose him, it was a big hit to our offense," Kaepernick said. "But at the same time, it was a bigger hit when we lost (Hyde) as well. "Having both of our running backs go down, having Alfonso come in and Bruce come in, and they're playing their (tails) off to help this team, but it's not a situation we've put them in in the past."