Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers are lost after their latest defeat. Ratto: "In losing to Seattle, 20-17, on Olindo Mare's game-closing 30-yard field goal, the 49ers not only turned their postseason chances from long to next year, but they also went from being a work in progress to one in stasis because they have lost what trust they had in themselves beyond the baseline level of hard work and desire to compete."
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' Alex Smith has played better than his 2-4 starting record would suggest.
Also from Crumpacker: Vernon Davis was good and bad against the Seahawks. Crumpacker: "By any measure, though, Davis is having a career year with highs in receptions (63), yards (781) and touchdown receptions. One more productive game and he should pass Eric Johnson for the most receiving yards by a 49ers tight end in a single season. Johnson had 825 yards in 2004."
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says "widespread faulty play" spoiled the 49ers' most important game of the season.
Also from Maiocco: Seahawks coach Jim Mora liked how the 49ers ran their offense. Mora: "Interestingly enough, they didn’t attempt to run the ball. I think they only had four rushing attempts in the first half. It wasn’t a whole lot different in the second half."
Also from Maiocco: a 49ers report card featuring "F" grades for the coaching staff and running backs. Maiocco: "The 49ers spent a timeout before the first play from scrimmage because they were disorganized. Why even try trickery on a punt return in 35-degree weather? This was not a good game for the staff."
Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat pulls no punches on the 49ers. Cohn: "This is the face of losing. It is Mike Singletary appearing for his postgame press conference so early the writers aren’t ready for him. It is Singletary sniffing from a cold, his nostrils red, Singletary saying the game was there for the taking, but ... It is Singletary marinating in a million 'buts' and 'what-ifs.' It is Singletary trying to explain the very first play of the game — an unprecedented play, an unheard of play in its total badness. The 49ers called their first timeout before the Seahawks ever snapped the ball because the coaches couldn’t get their defense set. This was how the Niners prepared for this make-or-break game -- they had to call a timeout after six seconds, total chaos."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers' biggest mistake was giving Matt Hasselbeck one more chance to win the game Sunday.
Also from Barrows: Smith held up his end.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers' defeat means all aspects of the organization must come under scrutiny. Kawakami: "They are 5-7. They are disappearing from the NFC playoff race. And they were not good enough to beat a soft Seahawks team in a game the 49ers knew they had to win. They are falling short. There is no other way to judge it. They are not a disaster, but they are just about done for '09, anyway."
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says Smith and Davis didn't much care about the personal milestones they achieved in defeat.