SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers offense was feeling good about itself after mining for and finding success the past two weeks, albeit against suspect secondaries. Turns out it was merely fool’s gold.
In a 20-3 Seattle Seahawks victory Thursday night at Levi’s Stadium, Colin Kaepernick again was dominated by his nemesis as he was sacked six times, four times in the first half, and passed for a benign 124 yards. At least he made it a third consecutive game without an interception as he completed 13 of 24 passes.
"Their defense is very talented," Kaepernick said, "and we didn't match that intensity today. They played better than us."
Adding to his miserable night, Kaepernick had his right thumb wrapped after the game but said it was “just some swelling” and not broken.
Kapernick is now 1-6 against the Seahawks in his career, including the playoffs. The Niners fell to 2-5 and into last place in the NFC West. The Seahawks have won the past three meetings by a combined score of 56-13.
"That game today is not what we want," Niners coach Jim Tomsula said. "It was not acceptable."
After last year's Thanksgiving game loss to the Seahawks, Niners CEO Jed York tweeted an apology to fans and wrote that the defeat "wasn't acceptable." Receiver Torrey Smith tweeted that this loss was "unacceptable" and "sorry," while left tackle Joe Staley also uttered the "U" word.
What were they thinking? It did not end up costing them, but rather than simply kneeling on the ball to close out the first half inside their own 10-yard line, the Niners ran a dangerous running play, with Reggie Bush picking up nine yards.
One reason to get excited: Aaron Lynch was all over the place, wreaking havoc in the Seahawks pocket and picking up two sacks (Ahmad Brooks also had two sacks). The Niners had five sacks of Russell Wilson, who has been sacked a league-high 31 times.
One reason to panic: The 49ers could muster but 55 yards of offense in the first half, and Kaepernick was sacked four times for 27 yards in losses. Talk about slow starts. The Niners ended up with more punts (9) than first downs (8).
Fantasy watch: Perhaps taking a cue from previous tight ends eating up the Seahawks, Vernon Davis came to life, catching four passes for 61 yards, with a long reception of 27 yards.
Ouch: Strong safety Antoine Bethea was lost for the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury, seemingly suffered when he was called for a face mask penalty on Doug Baldwin. Also, his replacement, rookie Jaquiski Tartt suffered a bruised leg and cornerback Kenneth Acker cramped up. Carlos Hyde would not confirm a pregame report that he said he had a stress fractire in his left foot. Asked if that's what he had, Hyde said, "Something like that."
And the game ball goes to? Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch. Yes, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is “Beast Mode,” but might Aaron Lynch be Beast Mode on defense? He is quickly becoming unblockable on the outside and he now has a team-leading five sacks.
Up next: The Niners (2-5) have a 10-day break before facing the St. Louis Rams (2-3) in another NFC West matchup, at the Edward Jones Dome on Nov. 1. They split their meetings last season, with each team winning on the road, including the Niners’ 31-17 victory on Monday Night Football in St. Louis.