Sleepless in Seattle.
That was San Francisco’s defense, as Seattle running back Thomas Rawls rushed for 209 yards and two touchdowns in the Seahawks 29-13 victory on Sunday. Rawls, who went undrafted out of Central Michigan, was filling in for regular Marshawn Lynch who missed the game due to an abdominal injury.
”I’m going to pass you the torch for the day,” Lynch told the rookie before the game.
Rawls must have been paying attention. The understudy finished with more yards than Lynch has gained in any game this season. It also equaled the greatest single-rushing performance for any 49ers opponent. He also caught three passes for 46 yards.
There was a time where when these two team’s met, it was considered the premiere match of the NFL season. Those days are long gone.
As dead as the 49ers defense was, the offensive unit can’t be graded much better. Making his second consecutive start after impressing his coaches against the Atlanta Falcons, quarterback Blaine Gabbert at least showed why he was chosen to be put behind center. Another improved passing performance saw Gabbert author 22 completions off 34 attempts for 264 yards with one touchdown. He threw no interceptions against the famed “legion of boom” Seahawks secondary. In fact, he made a respectful effort to slice through the secondary, showing extreme confidence while throwing the ball.
However, the 49ers managed just 130 yards in the first half — and that’s including a 92-yard scoring drive right before halftime. On that drive, Gabbert impressed, completing six of seven attempts for 78 yards. It would prove to be too little too late, as in the first 28 minutes of the game, the 49ers put together just 38 yards of total offense.
San Francisco’s best chance to make a statement in the game came during the third quarter — they pulled within 10 points of Seattle. Surely, the crowd at CenturyLink Field were at that moment anticipating another blown fourth quarter lead, an unfamiliar trend that has cursed the Seahawks as of late.
Look back to the defense. In the most critical moment, the unit could not muster the strength to stop Russell Wilson and a potent Seahawks offensive attack. Russell finished the game 24-of-29 passing, with 269 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. San Francisco head coach Jim Tomsula used the word “disappointed” three times when describing his team’s run defense and “tackle” three times when trying to explain the problem.
“You can’t go into a tackle worried about missing the tackle,” Tomsula said. “You’ve just got to tackle.”
The 49ers have now gone nine straight contests against the Seahawks without scoring more than 19 points.