Glendale – It was a year no one will forget, this season was unlike any other, the team was faced with injuries early on and throughout the season. COVID-19 took a toll with players and staff testing positive. And an unexpected relocation to Arizona to continue the season due to a mandatory shut down in California. Today the season ended with the 49ers losing to the Seattle Seahawks 26-23.
“I’m very happy the season is over,” said Kyle Shanahan. “Once we were eliminated from the playoffs, we were ready to move on and get to next year. I was real proud of the guys today, I thought those guys competed their ass off. It wasn’t a moral victory I think we should’ve won the game. This year is over and now it’s time to figure out how to improve us.
Very excited (about heading home), first time I was packed two days early in advance for anything. We’re all excited to see our families, some of us saw them during Christmas some not. It’s been way too long and being stuck in a hotel for over 30 days does wear on you a little bit. Everybody involved with us is ready to get back home.”
Nonetheless, San Francisco gave it everything they had on game day. In their finale, C.J. Beathard and his offense got off to a slow start. Beathard moved the ball for 20 yards over 17 plays in the first half. The 49ers did their part and kept Russell Wilson and his offense off the board forcing Jason Myers to kick two field goals for 36 and 30 yards in the first and second quarters.
“I mean, it was a little bit of both,” Beathard said when asked about their slow start. “The first couple of drives, they were calling perfect, really the perfect coverage for the certain plays that we had on or whatnot. And credit to them, they were doing a good job. And then part of it just us not executing also. So yeah, a little bit of both.”
Beathard sparked the offense late in the second when he went deep to Richie James Jr. for a 45 yard pass. That led to Tristan Vizcaino kicking his first career-filed goal for 36-yards to cut the lead in half 6-3. By the third, Vizcaino tied the game 6-6 when he kicked a 47-yard field goal. Beathard made another spectacular play when found a wide open George Kittle for a one-handed catch for 41 yards. That setup Vizcaino’s 33-yard field goal to give San Francisco a 9-6 lead.
“C.J. gave me an opportunity and it was perfect,” Kittle said. “I have a hard time scoring after one-handed catches, something I have to work on. Overall a fun play. I’d rather be playing in the playoffs.”
The 49ers began to play well on both sides of the ball, Jeff Wilson Jr. rushed into the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown to make it a 16-9 game in the fourth. But the Seahawks clapped right back when Wilson connected with Tyler Lockett for a 6-yard touchdown in the end zone. Then late in the fourth Wilson lobbed the ball in the end zone to Lockett for a 4-yard touchdown, his second touchdown in the fourth.
“Everybody was kind of just crossing and try to make it really difficult,” Wilson said. “[RB] Chris Carson did a great job stepping up and blocking [49ers LB] Fred [Warner]. He’s been a great blitzer all year. Chris Carson stoned him in the backfield and that was key. I just kept retreating and then Tyler scooted across the field and made another great catch. I just tried to put it in a spot where only he could get it and get his feet in and everything else, and he was able to do it. That was a great play call and a great play by Tyler.”
Despite Seattle’s 19-16 lead, San Francisco had plenty of time to tie the game or take the lead. But a crucial turnover by Beathard put the ball back in the Seahawks hands. Beathard was sacked and the ball was stripped by Benson Mayowa and recovered by Rasheem Green. And to make matters worse, Alex Collins bobbed and weaved into the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown to give Seattle a 26-16 lead.
The 49ers defense collapsed in the final minutes of the game. With .23 seconds left Beathard found Wilson for a 3-yard touchdown to cut the lead by 3 points. Wilson recored his second touchdown of the day. But San Francisco’s onside kick was recovered by the Seahawks and that was the painful ending to an arduous season. The 49ers defense played outstanding until the final minutes.
DE Arik Armstead talked about Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh, Arizona and the season.
“I would be very surprised if we don’t lose him,” said Shanahan. “I don’t know what’s wrong with people if they don’t hire him. He’s as good as you can get, knows more about football in all three phases. He’s going to hire the best staff. He knows about players. He knows who knows what they’re talking about, who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. And he also knows how to deal with people. I hope everyone’s not very smart and doesn’t hire him so I can keep him. But I’m expecting that not to happen.”
· RB Jeff Wilson Jr. finished the game with 20 carries for 76 yds. and 1 TD to go along with 3 recepts. for 12 yds. and 1 TD, his 7th rushing TD of the season and 11th of his career and 3rd rec. TD of the season and 4th of his career.
· With 1 TD vs. Was. (12/13/20), 1 TD at Dal. (12/20/20) and 1 TD at Arz. (12/26/20), Wilson Jr. scored at least 1 TD in 4 consecutive games for the 1st time in his career.
· Wilson Jr. is the first member of the 49ers to register at least 1 rushing TD and 1 rec. TD in a game twice in one season [1 rushing TD and 1 rec. TD at NYG (9/27/20)] since RB Derek Loville in 1995 [1 rushing TD and 1 rec. TD at Dal. (12/12/95) and 1 rushing TD and 1 rec. TD at Car. (12/10/95)].
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