Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports



The 49ers were officially eliminated from the playoffs with their 17-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. This game looked like so many from throughout the season, especially over the last eight games. There was Colin Kaepernick missing wide open receivers including taking a sack instead of hitting a wide open running back, an inability to get into third and manageable situations, a defense that played well for a half, and injuries.

Let's go through four things that led to the 49ers loss.

1) Injuries - Losing Frank Gore late in the first half was a killer. Gore was having an ok day running with a couple of big plays including a touchdown run to give the 49ers the lead, and when they lost Carlos Hyde the 49ers were left with a running back that they cut at the end of training camp. The loss of Garrett Celek also complicated things offensively. The 49ers like to use a lot of two tight end personnel against Seattle, and this loss force them to turn to an undrafted rookie free agent in Asante Cleveland.

The injury with the biggest impact occurred on the final play of the first half when Chris Borland injured his ankle trying to block for Eric Reid on an interception return. Once Borland was off the field the Seahawks were able to get the running game going and only an illegal motion penalty stopped them in the second half.

2) Colin Kaepernick - Kaepernick's stats look good, but his missed throws to Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin, along with taking an unnecessary sack to kill the momentum of a drive late in the second quarter really hurt the offense.

It was disconcerting to see Kaepernick running the ball so much early in the game. That may sound strange, but when Kaepernick starts running his play in the passing game is severely diminished. When was the last time Kaepernick ran wild and the 49ers won the game?

3) Negative plays on 1st down - The 49ers offensive line gave up five sacks yesterday. Four of those five came in situations when facing 3rd and 9 or longer. Each of these sacks was set up by a negative play on first down, and another example of how things snowball.

4) Penalties - The penalty bug struck on the 49ers opening series when a blocking in the back penalty on a big Carlos Hyde run moved the ball from the Seattle 40 back to the San Francisco 40. On top of that, the Seahawks first points came as a result of the 49ers defense giving up 30 yards on two unnecessary roughness penalties, and later a holding call on Asante Cleveland wiped out a 10 yard Hyde run.

Notes:

Dontae Johnson - The rookie fourth round pick bounced back from a tough performance against Oakland with another solid effort. Johnson has given up the fourth lowest quarterback ranking among all rookie cornerbacks who have played at least 25% of snaps this season.

Tank Carradine - Played only 19 snaps but registered two solo tackles and two sacks. It's taken the coaching staff a while to get him on the field, but Carradine is showing flashes whenever given the opportunity.

Quinton Dial - Another young defender that held up well at the point of attack and finished with the highest PFF grade on defense.

Alex Boone - Had another good game yesterday. After a poor start to the season he has put together a string of good games. From week six on he has a PFF grade of 11.6.

Carlos Hyde - The rookie running back put up 55 yards on six carries, and could have had more if not for a couple of penalties. Hyde has been up and down this season, but yesterday was a definite up.

Bruce Ellington - The rookie averaged just under 25 yards per kick return, and needs a look on offense. So far he has been limited to mostly running fly sweep fakes this season. At this point in the season, instead of wasting time with guys like Brandon Lloyd it would be a good idea to give Ellington some meaningful snaps to prepare for next year.