49ers Stumble, Fall Short of Successful NFC Title Defense
by Justin Henry
Cold Hard Football Facts' Dr. Death (@jrhwriting)
There will be verbal swipes at the officiating. There will be wincing at the unfortunate angle that Navorro Bowman's left knee took. There will be rueing the costly turnovers. There will be anger at Richard Sherman's exuberant taunts and words after the game was decided. For 49ers fans, there'sa lot to deter sleep after the crushing 23-17 defeat by the Seahawks.
The woes at CenturyLink Field continue, even though the 49ers held a 10-0 lead, after Seattle tripped over its own feet out of the gate with a sack-fumble. The 49ers built a 17-10 lead midway through the third quarter, but would fail to score over the final 21 minutes, as the Seahawks took over, both with points, and takeaways, including the game sealer.
1. Inconsistent Offense
The running was there for the 49ers. Colin Kaepernick in particular swept through Seattle's defense, rushing for 130 yards on 11 carries, nearly 12 yards a run. San Francisco on the night averaged 5.75 yards a run, but the problems with the offense were aside from that.
For one thing, third-down percentage took its toll. The 49ers could only convert three of 11 tries, although they did punch through on two of three fourth down attempts. On 28 dropbacks, Kaepernick gave up a Negative Pass Play four times, a one-in-seven fail rate.
2. Kaepernick One-Dimensional
As stated before, Kaepernick's running was brilliant, but when forced to stand back and unleash a throw, things were a bit murkier. Two interceptions, one underthrow to Kam Chancellor, the other the game ender, will come to define this game.
Kaepernick's rating for the night tipped the scales at 56.42, the fourth-worst start of his professional career. The quarterback completed just 14 passes to ten incompletions, and he averaged a mere 5.65 Real Passing Yards Per Attempt in the face of the 'Legion of Boom'.
3. Scoreability Sinks
San Francisco produced the fourth-most efficient scoring offense in the NFL this season, averaging a point every 12.76 yards gained. That's a touchdown every 89.32 yards, and that would be tested against the third most flexible defense in the NFL.
On 308 yards gained, the 49ers only mustered 17 points, for a Scoreability rating of 18.12. That's a touchdown every 126.82 yards gained, and would rank them near the bottom of the league with that as an average. The three turnovers most killed their chances.
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