Instant Replay: Seahawks 42, 49ers 13

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Instant Replay: Seahawks 42, 49ers 13

BOX SCORE

SEATTLE -- The 49ers were without the services of injured defensive tackle Justin Smith on Sunday night against the Seattle Seahawks.

And a whole bunch of other 49ers were absent, too.

The surging Seahawks got off to a hot start and the 49ers did not provide much of a challenge in a 42-13 loss in front of a deafening crowd on a drizzly night at CenturyLink Stadium.

It was the largest defeat of Jim Harbaugh's two seasons with the 49ers. Earlier this season, the 49ers lost to the New York Giants by 23 points. The game continued a pattern in which the 49ers never had more than a two-game win streak the entire season. The 49ers have not lost back-to-back games under Harbaugh, who watched as the Seahawks spoiled his 49th birthday with the blowout win.

The 49ers played poorly from the outset. And to make matters worse, two offensive starters exited the game with injuries. Tight end Vernon Davis sustained a concussion after absorbing a brutal -- and illegal -- hit from Seattle safety Kam Chancellor in the first quarter.

Receiver Mario Manningham, who returned to action after missing the two previous games with a shoulder injury, went down in the third quarter with what is feared to be a serious left knee injury. He did not return.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers' offense struggled to get the ball snapped in the allotted time. The 49ers were flagged twice for delay-of-game penalties in the first half, and they called timeouts to avoid two other penalties in the first 30 minutes of the game.

The loss drops the NFC West-leading 49ers to 10-4-1 and out of the No. 2 spot in the NFC playoffs. The Green Bay Packers (11-4) hold a half-game lead over the 49ers for a first-round bye and a home game in the divisional round. The No. 3 seed would host a playoff game against the NFC's No. 6 seed the weekend after the regular season.

The 49ers can still gain the No. 2 seed with a victory over the Arizona Cardinals next week at Candlestick Park, along with a Packers loss at the Minnesota Vikings.

If the 49ers beat the Cardinals, they will win the NFC West. The Seahawks, who clinched a playoff spot with the victory, can only win the division title with a victory over the St. Louis Rams, coupled with a 49ers loss to the Cardinals.

Manningham's availability for the playoffs is in serious doubt, and Davis must pass the NFL's protocol for concussions in order to return. Davis is required to receive clearance from an independent neurologist before he can take part in football activity.

Chancellor was penalized 15 yards for his hit on Davis, and things only got worse from there. Despite a first-and-goal situation, the 49ers settled for a short field-goal attempt. And that proved disastrous.

Struggling David Akers' kick appeared low, and Red Bryant penetrated against Joe Staley and blocked the field-goal attempt. Richard Sherman scooped up the ball and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown. Sherman continues to play while his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy is under appeal.

Sherman's touchdown gave the Seahawks a 21-0 lead just 55 seconds into the second quarter. Sherman opened the fourth quarter with an interception of a short Kaepernick pass in the back of the end zone.

In a game matching a pair of young dual-threat quarterbacks, Seattle rookie Russell Wilson had the upper hand.

Wilson completed 15-of-21 passes for 171 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. The rookie quarterback added 29 yards rushing on six carries and watched from the sideline as Matt Flynn handled the final kneel downs to end the game. Meanwhile, Kaepernick completed 19-of-36 passes for 244 yards, with one touchdown, a garbage time connection with Delanie Walker, and one interception. Kaepernick was also the 49ers' leading rusher with 31 yards on seven carries.

Justin Smith saw his streak of 185 consecutive starts come to an end, as he was inactive due to a left elbow injury. Ricky Jean Francois made the start on the defensive line in place of Smith, whose ironman streak began in 2001 as a rookie with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Seahawks immediately tested Smith's replacement, as Marshawn Lynch scored on a 24-yard touchdown run over the right side of the 49ers' line. Seattle took advantage of a blown coverage as Lynch scored late in the first quarter on a 9-yard pass from rookie quarterback Russell Wilson for a 14-0 lead.

The Seahawks extended their lead to 28-3 late in the second quarter on tight end Anthony McCoy's 6-yard touchdown catch.

Akers ended the half on a good note with a 54-yard field goal to cut the Seahawks' lead to 28-6.

The third quarter did not begin well for the 49ers, as Manningham lost a fumble on a play in which he sustained a left knee injury.

Manningham caught a short pass from Kaepernick. Cornerback Jeremy Lane immediately had him stopped. Linebacker Leroy Hill came in and hit Manningham low, causing Manningham's knee to bend awkwardly. He required assistance to leave the field and was then transported on a cart to the 49ers' locker room for further evaluation.

The Seahawks poured it on in the second half as Wilson threw touchdown passes to Doug Baldwin that covered 4 and 6 yards. Baldwin and Sherman both played for Harbaugh at Stanford.

Bowman guarantees he will not be odd-man out of 49ers' competition

Bowman guarantees he will not be odd-man out of 49ers' competition

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers’ biggest free-agent acquisition on defense and one of the team’s first-round draft picks play the same position.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he is holding off on thinking about how everything is going to play out this season at the linebacker position.

“I really try not to envision it too hard because I see a lot of good players there,” Shanahan said Tuesday during the 49ers’ first week of organized team activities.

The 49ers awarded weakside linebacker Malcolm Smith guaranteed money as an unrestricted free agent totaling approximately $12 million. Then, on the first day of the draft, the 49ers’ No. 3 rated prospect experienced a free fall, and the club traded into the back end of the first round to select him.

While Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster has been sidelined through the offseason program as he recovers from shoulder injury, he figures to compete with Smith for the starting job. Foster will also learn middle linebacker, where NaVorro Bowman has earned first-team All-Pro honors in four seasons.

Bowman looks to be nearly all the way back from a torn Achilles that limited him to just four games last season.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen,” Shanahan said. “Seeing Bow out here and how healthy he’s been, knowing we’ve added some good free agents, and the way the draft worked out, having a linebacker we had ranked very highly fall to us at the end of the first round. We got a lot better pretty fast.

“When you ask me how it’s going to play out, I’m not sure. It’s a good problem to have. It’s something you’d like to have any every position. There’s going to be a very good player who’s not out there all the time. That’s not a bad thing. That makes the two guys who are out there go a lot harder and play better. It makes special teams better and it allowed you to survive injuries, which almost always happen.”

Bowman’s vision for the upcoming season includes him retaining his role in the middle of the 49ers’ defense.

"I won't be on the sideline, I'll tell you that right now,” Bowman said.

Bowman said he was not fazed with the 49ers selected Foster in the first round. Foster is likely considered the heir apparent to Bowman.

Shanahan called Bowman after the selection of Foster was made, but Bowman said he did not need to speak with the coach about why the selection was made.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Bowman said of the phone call, “but it was good to hear from him, to see that he had something to say or an idea of what he wanted to get across to me.

“But we haven’t talked about it. I did that on purpose. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll compete with anyone, whether he’s 21 or 35. It doesn’t matter. I’m a guy who’s going to give my best effort and have full confidence in my abilities to play this game. I know how much I study this game. I know how good I am and that’s what was going to bring back here.

“It’s always a competition. There’s always someone trying to take your spot. As a player, if you keep that in mind, you’ll always put the work in that’s needed.”

 

49ers reissue Bryant Young's number

49ers reissue Bryant Young's number

SANTA CLARA -- For the first time since Bryant Young retired following the 2007 season, the 49ers have placed his old number back into service.

Linebacker Dekoda Watson was issued No. 97 for the team’s organized team activities this week.

Young was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and eight-time winner of the Len Eshmont Award as the 49ers’ most inspirational and courageous player. No 49ers player has worn No. 97 in the past nine seasons or offseasons.

Rookie defensive lineman Solomon Thomas is now wearing No. 94 after being issued No. 96 for the rookie minicamp. Linebacker Reuben Foster is wearing No. 56.

Rookie defensive tackle D.J. Jones now wearing No. 96. Cornerback Rashard Robinson switched back to No. 33 after an earlier change to No. 26. Running back Kapri Bibbs is now 26. Rookie running back Joe Williams is No. 32 after wearing No. 33 at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles over the weekend. Veteran running back Tim Hightower is wearing No. 22.