The San Francisco 49ers have defeated the Seattle Seahawks 41-23 in the first Wild Card game of the postseason. This 49ers Wild Card Round did not start pretty for San Francisco by any means, but after a strong second half, San Francisco got the win. The 49ers will move on to host another playoff game, still awaiting their next opponent. Here is a look back on the highs and lows of the 49ers Wild Card Round, including the top plays and players.
49ers Wild Card Round: A Tough Beginning
While the 49ers’ defense dominated the first quarter of the game, with a 10-0, the second quarter did not go as planned. In the 49ers Wild Card Round, the San Francisco defense fell apart. The first half ended 17-16, with the Seahawks in the lead and things not looking great for the 49ers.
Between the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second, the Seahawks went on a 78 yards drive, taking up almost seven minutes before scoring a touchdown. Seahawks quarterback, Geno Smith, was well protected, able to get set and take advantage of the easy passes.
There were two main points of the first half that made the game closer than it had to be. Having a rookie quarterback make his first start in the 49ers Wild Card Round can be hard. Brock Pury tried too hard to make the big plays, resulting in him missing the simple ones. This led to the San Francisco offense having to settle for field goals, never getting the large lead that they wanted.
The other big mistake was a bad penalty that 49ers defensive back, Jimmie Ward committed at the end of the second half. Geno Smith scrambled out of the pocket, then went running with the ball with less than ten seconds left in the half. When Smith slid, Ward went in for the tackle late. This resulted in an automatic first down, putting Seattle in field goal range. The first half ended 17-16 Seahawks.
49ers Wild Card Round: Tremendous Second Half
The second half of the game went very differently for both teams. The 49ers scored 25 points in the half, compared to Seattle’s six points when San Francisco pulled many of their starters. San Francisco also cleaned up their penalties, while Seattle faced multiple big ones.
The 49ers’ defense played strong in the second half. The first drive that Seattle’s offense had in the second half, ended with a strip sack caused by defensive lineman Charles Omenihu. The fumble was recovered by defensive lineman Nick Bosa at San Francisco’s 30-yard line. This was a game-changer for San Francisco in the 49ers Wild Card Round.
The 49ers also had an interception by cornerback Deommodore Lenior, which essentially sealed the game for San Francisco. While the defense had a rocky first half, they pulled through and prevented Seattle from any possible comeback in the 49ers Wild Card Round.
The 49ers’ offense was expected to start rocky with a young quarterback, but in the second half of the game, they came out firing. San Francisco got the ball to start the second half. They took up 7 minutes and 45 seconds in that first drive, eventually scoring the touchdown, with a Brock Purdy QB Sneak.
There was a big difference between first half Purdy and the second half version of him. While there are things he can still work on, he did not try too hard to make the big play, and that paid off. The offense also got a flow going with the run game, which they struggled with a bit in the first half. When the 49ers’ offense played calmly, they were able to get the job done.
Brock Purdy ended the 49ers Wild Card Round completing 18 passes out of 30 attempts for 332 yards and three touchdowns, according to ESPN. He also rushed for one touchdown and threw a pass to George Kittle to get the 2-point conversion.
49ers Wild Card Round: Play of the Game
The play of the game for the San Francisco 49ers came in the second half of the game and resulted in a touchdown. Purdy took advantage of the short pass and hit wide receiver Deebo Samuel down the middle. Not only was this a completion, but Samuel also got to the sideline, and ran the ball for a 74-yard reception and a touchdown.
Between key blocks from tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, Samuel was able to break free and extend their lead a comfortable amount. This touchdown also came after Seattle’s Johnathan Abram unnecessarily twisted Samuel’s ankle after a play. This clearly lit a fuel under the 49ers, and the Seahawks paid.
49ers Wild Card Round: Top 3 Players
McCaffrey had a great game in the 49ers Wild Card Round. According to ESPN, he had a total of 15 carries for 119 yards. McCaffrey also had two receptions for 17 yards and one touchdown. McCaffrey stood out by the way he always strived for the extra yardage. Also to be noted, at the end of the game, Seattle kicked an onside kick and McCaffrey recovered it sealing the win.
Defensive Lineman Charles Omenihu has been a solid player for the 49ers but was very surprising in this game. According to ESPN, Omenihu had three total tackles, all solo. He also had two sacks, and one tackle for loss. Omenihu was also the reason for the forced fumble that Bosa recovered. Omenihu had a great game, and it will be exciting to watch him next week.
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel played a powerful game for the 49ers. According to ESPN, Samuel had a total of six receptions for 133 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed the ball three times for 32 yards. Following the play where he had his ankle twisted, Samuel appeared to be hurt. He then stated after the game that he was trying to keep his composure. This was a smart move because if he would have gotten into a fight, it could have risked ejection.
The 49ers Wild Card Round was a great opener for the NFL playoffs. The 49ers won the game 41-23 and as of now left without any serious injuries. The schedule nor the opponent of the next game are not yet determined, but the 49ers will be the hosts following this stunning victory.
For More NFL Content:
Check out my most recent 49ers article here. Check out my most recent article on why this game came down to mentality over physicality. Also, check out this article on where defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans will coach in the 2023 season.