49ers fall 2-2 in 28-21 loss to Seattle

SANTA CLARA – Jimmy Garoppolo led the 49ers to a touchdown on their opening possession but did little after that before exiting the game with a calf injury as San Francisco recorded their second-straight home game at Levi’s Stadium with a 28-21 loss to the visiting Seattle Seahawks today.

“We’re 2-2 and I don’t think much past that,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said. Garoppolo engineered an 8-play, 71-yard drive in 4:13 culminating with a 21-yard touchdown throw to backup tight end Ross Dwelley up the right sideline. Garoppolo looked sharp on the drive getting the ball out quick, going 6-of-6 for 70 yards.

Dwelley became the 12th 49er to score a touchdown this season, becoming the first team since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 to have 12 different players score their first 12 touchdowns. 

Garoppolo finished the game 14-of-23 passing for 165 yards, one touchdown and one interception before giving way to rookie quarterback, Trey Lance at halftime. According to Garoppolo, the injury occurred during the first possession.

“Happened in the first series,” said Garoppolo. “I don’t know exactly what happened. Tweaked the calf. It hurt initially. I thought I’d keep trying, keep trying to go and it just kept getting worse and worse, traveling down to the Achilles a little bit, but we’ll get more information tomorrow with MRI and everything. Hoping for the best right now.”

Lance started shaky in the third quarter, missing on his first two attempts before connecting with wide receiver Deebo Samuel for a 76-yard touchdown but San Francisco wouldn’t cross midfield again until 1:20 after Samuel’s second score of the game. 

Samuel, who finished with eight catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns, didn’t see much of a big change with Lance who replaced Garoppolo for the remainder of the game.

“There wasn’t a big change,” Samuel said. “We just had to adjust and go off the things that Trey is really good at. That is what we did.”

Lance finished the game 9-of-18 passing for 157 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 41 yards on seven attempts, including a 2-point conversion run.

Shanahan was encouraged about Lance’s performance today but knows that there’s still plenty of room for improvement after stepping in for Garoppolo.

“Some good, some bad,” said Shanahan. He got thrown in not expecting to get in. I thought he ran the ball well, he hit some passes, obviously missed some passes. Was in a tough situation there when we were down two scores. Did a good job moving the chains a couple of times with his legs, but it looked like a typical first game.” 

Rookie running back Trey Sermon led the 49ers with 19 carries for 89 yards.

You’d hardly know from looking at the final stats, the 49ers dominated the Seahawks out-gaining Seattle 457-234 in total net yards and had 23 first downs to the Seahawks 14. In fact, the San Francisco held a 12-3 edge in first downs in the first half.

The 49ers defense were brutish on Seattle’s offense in the first half, forcing five straight three-and-outs to begin the game. Dee Ford registered two of the 49ers three sacks in the first half while Nick Bosa recorded the other one.

After a fast start to the game, the defense went into hiding in the second half.

“Yeah, it seemed like we did, we came out strong,” Fred Warner said who registered nine tackles. “Our emphasis was just on execution. We wanted to make sure we came out and started the way we did. I was proud of the way we stared. We just need to keep that same level as the game went on.”

The Seahawks were held to minus-7 yards on those possessions before picking up their first first-down of the game on a 28-yard catch and run from quarterback Russell Wilson to running back Alex Collins.

Five plays later, Wilson connected with wide receiver DK Metcalf for a 12-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 shortly before halftime. 

Following a quick three-and-out by San Francisco to begin the third quarter, Seattle went up 21-7 in a span of less than a minute behind a 16-yard touchdown run by Wilson, and a 13-yard pass to wide receiver Freddie Swain.

It was a classic play by Wilson, who spun away from a blitzing Dontae Johnson before finding Swain for the improbable touchdown. 

Wilson went 16-of-23 passing for 149 yards with two touchdown passes and one rushing score. The Seahawks franchise leader in passing yards and touchdowns is now 15-4 in his career against the 49ers and has yet to lose three-straight games in his career. 

With Seattle leading 21-13 early in the fourth quarter, Collins 14-yard touchdown run pushed the Seahawks lead to 28-13 essentially putting the game out of reach.

With both teams standing at 2-2, the 49ers are in last place in the highly competitive NFC West. This loss is tough for San Francisco who will travel to Arizona next week to take on the first-place Cardinals. 

Arizona (4-0) pummeled the Los Angeles Rams, 37-20 in today in a battle of unbeaten teams. Seattle hosts the Rams for the upcoming Thursday Night Football.

“It is always urgent after a loss,” said Warner. “It’s not that there wasn’t urgency after last week’s loss [30-28 against the Packers]. That one stung a lot because of the manner we lost…it is always going to sting, though, especially in the division.”

The 49ers continue to deal with a growing list of injuries. Aside from Garoppolo’s calf injury, kicker Robbie Gould injured his groin in pregame warmups, left tackle Trent Williams left the game with a shoulder injury, and defensive end Arden Key was evaluated for a concussion.

Garoppolo’s injury is the biggest question for San Francisco. He will undergo an MRI on his calf on Monday and hopes “it’s just a couple of weeks or something.”

Photo by 49ers/website

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