SEATTLE — The San Francisco 49ers Won the NFC West by one 21-13 win over Seattle Seahawks Thursday night. the rookie Brock PurdyThe Niners’ third starting quarterback this season led the team to a road win over a division rival four days after a loss. Tom Brady And Tampa Bay Buccaneers In his first NFL start.
Purdy threw for two touchdowns as a running back Christian McCaffrey The Seahawks rushed for another after losing a fumble. San Francisco’s defense kept the quarterback Geno Smith And the Seahawks’ offense was out of the end zone until the last minute of the game.
Although the Niners will continue to contend for playoff seeding in the NFC, the Seahawks’ playoff chances are severely diminished after the loss. The Seahawks have lost four of their last five games and face off Kansas City Chiefs And New York Jets In the next two weeks.
San Francisco 49ers
For the second time in four years, the 49ers are the NFC West division champions.
And now the fun begins.
The Seahawks have long been a thorn in the side of the Niners, especially at Lumen Field. But the Niners, led by another stellar performance from McCaffrey, beat their most troublesome foe with relative ease on Thursday night to extend their winning streak to seven games.
At 10-4 and 5-0 in the NFC West division, the Niners can’t drop lower than the No. 3 seed in the NFC postseason picture, meaning coach Kyle Shanahan and his staff will have some balancing act to do in the final three weeks of the season.
In theory, the Niners could still catch up Philadelphia Eagles for the No. 1 overall spot, but realistically, they’re unlikely to jump any higher from the No. 2 spot. It stands, 10-3 Minnesota Vikings With a half game in front of them but an 8-2 record in the NFC, the Niners hold a potential tiebreaker if they finish with the same record as Minnesota.
Shanahan, no stranger to significant injuries, could handle the workload of some key players over the final three weeks. But he likely won’t as long as the No. 2 seed is in play. What’s more, Purdy can use as many snaps as possible before starting his first playoff journey.
“There’s no doubt about it,” Shanahan said. “I mean that’s not our ultimate goal by any means. I’m very proud of our team and what we’ve accomplished all year to get there. Our goal is to get into the tournament and we accomplished that today, but now it’s all about trying to make it the best we can.” Can set up as the situation and hopefully get some of our guys back in the process.”
For now, the Niners can enjoy a “mini bye” before their Christmas Eve clash Washington Commander And jump in to celebrate another division title in Seattle’s home stadium.
QB Breakdown: Purdy was listed as questionable this week with a rib and oblique injury, but it was hard to tell from his performance against the Seahawks. With McCaffrey at the helm, Shanahan made some easy looks for tight end Purdy George KittleAnd Purdy was again mostly poised and on target.
He finished 17-of-26 for 217 yards with two scores and no interceptions for a 117.0 passer rating. He also became the second rookie quarterback in franchise history to win in his first two starts, joining Scott Bull in 1976.
Promising trends: Kittle remains an integral part of the Niners’ offense as always, but it hasn’t shown up as often as in the past in the pass game. He finished Thursday night with four catches for 93 yards with two scores. with receiver Dibo Samuel Nursing a sprained left knee and ankle, the Niners need Kittle to produce more and offer McCaffrey a complement. Thursday night was a step in the right direction.
Main game: The Niners controlled play for most of the first half but struggled to extend their lead, seemingly leaving the door open for Seattle to jump ahead just before halftime. Moving the ball late in the second quarter, the Seahawks pulled away Travis Homer Caught a short pass and tried to find space in the open field before being hit by the cornerback Jimmy Ward. Niners linebacker Dre Greenlaw Aggregate soon after, shake the loose ball. San Francisco cornerback Charvarius Ward It recovered and ran 40 yards to Seattle’s 6-yard line, and McCaffrey scored two plays later to make it 14-3 and effectively put the game away.
Next game: vs. Commander (4:05 p.m. ET, Dec. 24)
That was evident in Week 2, when the Seahawks were held to no offensive points in a 27-7 loss to the 49ers in Santa Clara.
That’s been even more evident in recent weeks, as the 49ers widen their lead in the NFC West by blowing out back-to-back opponents while the Seahawks lose three of four, all to teams with worse records than their own.
And on Thursday night at Lumen Field, it was once again evident just how big a gap suddenly became between the Seahawks and a division rival they used not too long ago. Facing a third-string quarterback who didn’t have his best offensive weapon in Samuel, the Seahawks looked to clean up the 49ers in their building, controlling the game from start to finish in the NFC West.
The Seahawks are still a team on the rise. They have a strong young core and a boatload of 2023 draft capital, including potential top-five picks. Russell Wilson trade and they are still in playoff contention, with the two teams currently occupying the NFC wild-card spot with the same number of wins, New York Giants and the commander.
But they got another reminder Thursday night of how far they have to go to catch the 49ers. And while they have a mini-bye to lick their wounds, it won’t be easy with a game against the 10-3 Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Christmas Eve — especially with wide receiver. Tyler Lockett He is expected to miss time after breaking a bone in his hand.
QB Breakdown: Smith was what could be expected of him under very difficult circumstances. He was already facing one of the NFL’s best defenses with a struggling run game, and when the Seahawks fell behind big early, they were forced into throwing mode against a loaded pass rush. Smith completed 31 of 44 passes for 238 yards and a late touchdown pass. Noah Fant. He also threw a pick-six that was negated by an iffy roofing penalty.
Main game: Late in the second quarter, the Seahawks trailed 7-3, with a safety Quandre Diggs An over-the-middle Purdy was in perfect position to take the throw. But instead of an interception setting Seattle up in good field position, the ball bounced off Diggs’ hands, putting the Seahawks on their own 19-yard line. Four plays later, Homer lost a fumble that the 49ers recovered and returned to the 6-yard line, setting up an easy touchdown. Diggs was a Pro Bowl selection in each of the past two seasons, but hasn’t played at that level this year.
Disturbing trends: The Seahawks have now allowed at least 150 rushing yards in five straight games, the biggest way their defense has returned to its early-season form after a promising turnaround. The 49ers went 170 on 34 attempts. And while the Seahawks were doing a decent job — by their standards, at least — of stopping McCaffrey from running them all night, they allowed Jordan Mason to bust free for a 55-yard gain that put the game away. McCaffrey finished with 108 yards on 26 attempts. Seattle was already playing without its best run defender Al Woodsand lost his replacement, Brian MoneAn ACL injury in the first trimester.
Next game: at Chiefs (1 p.m. ET, Dec. 24)