What We Saw: 49ers at Seahawks

Brock Purdy punished key mistakes from Seattle in a battle to secure the NFC West.

49ers @ Seahawks

Final Score: 49ers 21, Seahawks 13

Senior Writer: Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1 on Twitter)


The San Francisco 49ers clinched the NFC West title after a narrow win over the Seattle Seahawks in a game that left little to be desired for the neutral bar a couple of nice moments from the so-called Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy. The last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft won his third straight game on the back of another turnover-free effort in a game where his defense once again proved to be the determining factor. A forced fumble on a Travis Homer carry just prior to the half setup the 49ers with an opportunity them did not miss to extend their lead 14-3 at the half, a lead they would not relinquish.


Two plays into the second half, Purdy stepped up to find George Kittle in broken coverage for his second score of the night to give the 49ers a game-defining 21-3 lead. It wasn’t all plain sailing for the 49ers, who benefitted from a favorable officiating crew that by the end of the night looked pretty incompetent after decisions against both teams could be easily scrutinised.


Geno Smith and the Seahawks did not go quietly into the night, howiver, making their long-standing divisional foes work for the win that handed them a playoff berth. Smith connected with tight end Noah Fant to bring the score within a touchdown and 2pt conversion late in the fourth quarter.


Backup rookie running back Jordan Mason sealed the win for the 49ers with a big third down run just when it looked like the Seahawks would get another chance at an unlikely comeback.


San Francisco 49ers




Brock Purdy: 17/26, 217 Yards, 2 TD, 1 Sack | 4 Carries, -2 Yards


So, this kid looks like he is for real! Brock Purdy threw his third straight multi-touchdown passing game to ensure the 49ers came away from a hostile environment in Seattle with the NFC West title. Purdy spread the ball around to six different receivers, including big George Kittle, who hauled in two long touchdown passes. Purdy holds an impressive 6:1 TD:INT ratio since stepping in as the starter and keeping things simple to his top receiving options has made it a very comfortable transition to being an NFL starter.


It is clear that Kyle Shanahan has simplified the playbook and stressed the run game with Purdy controlling the offense, however one of the most remarkable aspects has been Purdy’s game awareness. Here he does brilliantly to move the chains with his legs at a key point in the game. This intelligence alongside his ball security has made him the story of the season so far at the quarterback position. Although not fantasy happy, he is most certainly not fantasy irrelevant.


Running Back


Christian McCaffrey: 26 Carries, 108 Yards, TD | 8 Targets, 6 Receptions, 30 Yards

Jordan Mason: 4 Carries, 64 Yards


It was another productive showing from the 49ers big trade acquisition – Christian McCaffrey has started on the right foot in terms of paying back the big investment the 49ers made in him near the trade deadline. McCaffrey posted his third straight 20+ fantasy points game in a 49ers uniform as he dominated between the tackles and as a PPR darling through the air. The fact he is also the goal line back makes things very healthy in terms of a fantasy output.


Playing behind an offensive line that knows exactly how to create holes has been a joy for McCaffrey, who never saw such roon to work in when carrying the offense in Carolina. Somewhat surprisingly given his injury history, San Francisco has turned the all purpose back into a workhorse, with McCaffrey logging a season high in carries in Seattle. Fantasy managers will hope his body stands the test of time through the fantasy playoffs.


Jordan Mason had a couple of carries in relief of McCaffrey before breaking out for a game-ending 55-yard run on third down.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


George Kittle: 5 Targets, 4 Receptions, 93 Yards, 2 TD

Jauan Jennings: 5 Targets, 3 Receptions, 31 Yards

Tyler Kroft: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 28 Yards

Brandon Aiyuk: 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 19 Yards

Ray-Ray McCloud III: 3 Targets, 1 Reception, 16 Yards


If the 49ers struggle anywhere it is in the passing game, with Kyle Shanahan not being able to adapt this offense to have the same production through the air as it does on the ground. Let’s face it, it has cost him a couple of Super Bowls. Today, it did just enough with tight end George Kittle leading the way with a monster performance (24.30 fantasy points), his best fantasy return of the season. Kittle’s two touchdown grabs brings him up to six for the year and he is the best bet for production after Deebo Samuel was ruled out for a few weeks with an ankle injury and Brandon Aiyuk still suffering from drops and poor decision making as a route runner.


The worry for the 49ers is that they don’t have a fantasy stud at receiver and if they are asked to answer questions through the air, it could be a tough ask. They are a bit one dimensional in the passing game, although Purdy has brought something a bit extra. Still, beyond McCaffrey and Kittle, there is little to get excited about.


Seattle Seahawks




Geno Smith: 31/44, 238 Yards, TD, 3 Sacks | 1 Carry, 18 Yards


To be honest, Geno Smith excelled himself in escaping a relentless 49ers defense that dominated the Seahawks offensive line and tee’d off on both rookie tackles, giving the comeback quarterback no chance to establish any kind of rhythm. Smith averaged just 5.4 yards per passing attempt and it could have been worse if a check down to Kenneth Walker didn’t break out for 33 yards. Smith had one rush for 18 yards and it equalled his next longest pass in the entire game.


Smith phenomenally didn’t turn the ball over but this pick-six that Deommodore Lenoir took to the house before it was nullified by yet another debatable roughing the passer call was a slice of luck. To be fair Nick Bosa, who was fiercely dominant all game, did land with his full weight on Smith, however it is hard to justify what else the pass rusher could have done.


Smith worked the ball plenty to his two favorite receivers, DJ Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, who both saw nine targets and hauled in seven catches, but the output was limited due to pressure limiting his range to the short and intermediate options. Smith’s performance broke a seven game stretch of multiple passing touchdowns but it was still healthy enough to reach respectability.


Running Back


Kenneth Walker III: 12 Carries, 47 Yards | 5 Targets, 4 Receptions, 32 Yards

Travis Homer: 1 Carry, 5 Yards | 4 Targets, 4 Receptions, 25 Yards | 1 Fumble (Lost)


It was a difficult night on the ground for the Seahawks, who ran the ball just 13 times for 52 yards and Travis Homer‘s costly fumble which swung the game heavily in favor of the 49ers prior to the half. Lead back Kenneth Walker‘s struggles continued as he posted his fourth successive disappointing fantasy score. Walker has now run for less than 51 yards in seven of his 12 games in his rookie season. He missed last week with a niggling ankle injury but showed no signs that the injury hampered him in this game. This output wasn’t a surprise given that the 49ers defense have conceded the fewest fantasy points to running backs so far this season. Walker will have better days and his number of targets out the backfield is at least encouraging.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Tyler Lockett: 9 Targets, 7 Receptions, 68 Yards

DK Metcalf: 9 Targets, 7 Receptions, 55 Yards

Noah Fant: 6 Targets, 5 Receptions, 32 Yards, TD

Will Dissly: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 13 Yards

Marquise Goodwin: 5 Targets, 2 Receptions, 10 Yards

Penny Hart: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 3 Yards

Colby Parkinson: 1 Target


With Smith peppering his receivers with short targets there was little opportunity for DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett to break off big plays. Metcalf in particular looked frustrated with the scheme, often receiving the ball at the line of scrimmage before attempting to battle through multiple 49ers defenders for a couple of yards. Metcalf was called for both a taunting penalty and offensive pass interference, although that call was extremely harsh. In fact the 49ers were extremely handsy in the secondary and the referees didn’t call many potential defensive pass interference calls that were quite obvious.

The same went for Lockett, who was clearly impeded on four separate occasions without a flag being thrown. The bad news for fantasy managers through the playoffs is that it was announced post-game that Lockett broke his finger on the final drive of the game. That news is one to watch for next week.


Noah Fant notched his third touchdown of the season, a return that hasn’t matched the expectations this season. His five catches were his second most on the season, another telling tale of a disappointing season. He could see a bump in production if Lockett misses the playoffs but don’t be pinning your playoff hopes on him.


Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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