49ers overcome injury bug to down Seahawks 28-16

Dec 10, 2023, 6:15 PM | Updated: 6:20 pm

George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after a touchdown with Aaron Banks #65 duri...

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 10: George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after a touchdown with Aaron Banks #65 during the fourth quarter in the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium on December 10, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The game got gritty at times for the 49ers, but in the end, they prevailed over their arch rivals for a second time this season.

The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 28-16, in Week 14. It took almost all four quarters to get the job done Sunday, especially with the defense dropping like flies throughout the game. The Red & Gold’s offense picked up the slack though, responding to every Seattle advancement in timely fashion.

Here’s what went down.

The 49ers came out of the gate on fire, needing two plays to score on the opening drive. Running back Christian McCaffrey got the ball first, taking a halfback toss down the left side, cutting back up field for a wide-open patch of grass. The ballcarrier almost found paydirt on the play, but was stopped at the three-yard-line.

Fellow RB Jordan Mason took care of the rest, bulldozing his way to the endzone. 7-0 to the 49ers in 57 seconds.

Seattle had an answer for the Red & Gold however, marching down the field next.

Backup quarterback Drew Lock filled in admirably for Geno Smith, leading the Seahawks on an eight play, 75 yard drive. Lock converted a third down to wide receiver Tyler Lockett, before finding WR D.K. Metcalf for a back-shoulder touchdown catch on the next play.

A 31-yard strike tied the game at seven all midway through the first quarter.

The 49ers’ offense stalled out after that, unable to get a first down for the rest of the quarter. San Francisco couldn’t convert two third downs in that sequence, finishing 2/11 for the game.

Seattle followed suit of the 49ers on their second drive, going three and out. Then, Lock and Co. got going once more on a seven-play drive. The run game was key there, with RB Zach Charbonnet breaking ankles for 27-yard pickup. He then bounced outside along the far sideline to pick up another 23 yards to put the visitors in the redzone.

The 49ers’ defense woke up thereafter, forcing them into a third-and-long scenario that they couldn’t convert. On came the field-goal unit to give the lead to the Seahawks, 10-7 to close out the first quarter.

QB Brock Purdy and the offense seemed to wake up for a moment, hitting WR Brandon Aiyuk for 25-yard and 11-yard gains. Then disaster struck in the form of an interception.

Purdy was looking for Aiyuk once more, with the wideout open on a curl route. However, the QB threw it to the right of Aiyuk, forcing him to make a diving effort. The ball slipped through his hands and to Seahawks’ safety Jordan Love for the pick. After moving the rock to start the second quarter, Seattle had a chance to take control in the contest.

San Francisco’s defense stood tall though, allowing one first down before WR Jaxson Smith-Njigba dropped a pass over the middle to force fourth down. The Seahawks punted as a result.

The 49ers offense got back on track next, converting first downs with Aiyuk and McCaffrey to get them near midfield. Then, the play of the day, as Purdy uncorked a strike over the middle to WR Deebo Samuel. The ball was perfectly thrown, allowing the wideout to walk in for six on the 54-yard play.

14-10, to the 49ers in a matter of minutes.

The Red & Gold’s defense backed up the offense on the next series, allowing one 20-yard completion before putting them on lockdown. RB Kenneth Walker III got close to a first down on short pass play, narrowly missing the line to gain to force a punt near midfield.

San Francisco was able to chew up some clock on the next series, trying to hold possession until the halftime whistle. They reached seven plays on the drive before it stalled out at Seattle’s 45-yard-line with a minute remaining.

The 49ers’ defense did their job for the rest of the half, forcing minimal yards that left the Seahawks watching the clock tick down to zero.

14-10 was the halftime score.

The Red & Gold did their job once more after the break, forcing a three and out by Seattle to open the second half.

San Francisco couldn’t capitalize though, running only four plays on their next offensive series. Christian McCaffrey did break free for a 28-yard run to open the drive, but penalties halted their momentum thereafter.

Seattle was able to convert a big third down to WR Tyler Lockett for 16 yards on the next series. But like how the rest of the day went, it stalled out on the next set of downs to force a punt.

The 49ers’ offense awoken after that, going on a seven-play drive to the endzone.

Brock Purdy was the catalyst, first hitting Aiyuk on an improvised deep ball for a 45-yard gain. The catch put the Rocklin native over 1,000 receiving yards for 2023.

Then, McCaffrey took outside zone run down the left flank for 13 yards. A few plays later, Samuel made some magic, taking a short route near the endzone, making a man miss, and diving for the goal-line. He scored on the next play with his legs, putting the 49ers up, 21-10, near the end of the third quarter.

Seattle wasn’t going away though, with Walker making a highlight play next. The bulldozing RB made half of the 49ers defense miss, switching fields to pick up 27 yards. Then, Lock used to play-action passes to reach paydirt, the first going to tight end Noah Fant for 26 yards. He then hit Cody Parkinson on a misdirect play up the middle, running past the secondary for six.

The Seahawks attempted to go for two, but were stonewalled but he 49ers pass rush. 21-16 was the score after three quarters.

Purdy and Co. responded to their rivals with a big drive of their own.

Before the fourth quarter, Purdy hit Samuel for a 30-yard catch and run to get the ball rolling. Two plays later, the offense used an RPO-designed play to get the ball to George Kittle. Hitting the TE in stride up the seam, racing past defenders for a 44-yard score and spike.

28-16 to the home side in only three plays.

Now on their heels, Lock and Seattle got desperate, resulting in turnovers. The veteran gunslinger heaved a ball downfield for Metcalf, to no avail. The pass was picked by rookie safety Ji’Ayir Brown, giving the 49ers the ball back at their own 38-yard-line.

San Francisco was on the verge of closing the show when Purdy hit Aiyuk for a 30-yard dot. But, the speedy wideout didn’t take care of the rock, getting it stripped by Jordan Love while on the run. Seattle recovered it in the process.

Not much came out of that however, forced to punt it away after five plays.

The 49ers returned the favor next, only running six plays before giving it back to the visitors.

The Red & Gold had the last laugh Sunday, forcing the game-sealing INT to close the game. Stuck on fourth down  at midfield, Lock heaved the ball downfield once more, this time picked off by linebacker Fred Warner. Frustration boiled over for Metcalf after that, getting into an altercation with Warner that led to both teams conversing in a scrum.

Both Metcalf and 49ers’ cornerback Deommodore Lenoir were ejected for fighting, but by then, the contest was already over.

The 49ers advance to 10-3 on the regular season, now four games apart in the NFC West race. Both Seattle and the Los Angeles Rams sit at 6-7, and would need a miracle to make late push for the division.

QB Brock Purdy had a big game, finishing with a career-high 368 passing yards on the day. He also had two TD throws and one INT on a 122.1 passer rating. The Arizona native now has seven consecutive games with a 70% or more completion percentage, one game off of tying 49ers legend Joe Montana.

But when it comes to his own play, Purdy would rather speak glowingly about his teammates than himself.

“I’m a part of a special group. Anyone of our guys, anyone of our eligibles, get the ball in their hands and they can do the rest,” he said postgame Sunday.

One of those players is Deebo Samuel, finishing with eight touches for 150 total yards and two TDs Sunday. The South Carolina native now has five scores in two games, coming back from the Bye Week better than ever.

“I think he’s at the top of his game right now,” 49ers’ coach Kyle Shanahan said about Samuel.

The 49ers did lose a number of players in Week 14, including CB Charvarius Ward and defensive tackle Javon Hargrave. The former suffered a groin injury on the first series of the game, unable to play after that. The latter suffered a hamstring injury in the third quarter, also not returning to the contest.

There is no update on either player at this time, as the 49ers were already down right guard Spencer Burford and DT Arik Armstead.

San Francisco will look to make it six wins in a row next Sunday, traveling to Arizona for a clash with the struggling Cardinals coming off their Bye Week.

Upcoming San Francisco 49ers Schedule:

  • Sunday, Dec. 17th @ Arizona Cardinals – 1:05 p.m. PST
  • Monday, Dec. 25th vs. Baltimore Ravens – 5:15 p.m. PST
  • Sunday, Dec. 31st @ Washington Commanders – 10:00 a.m. PST
  • Sunday, Jan. 7th vs. Los Angeles Rams – TBD

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