The 49ers extended their win streak to seven games with their 21-13 win over Seattle on Thursday night. The win marked the first time the 49ers have swept the Seahawks in a season since 2011 and the first time they’ve won back-to-back games against their division rival since 2012.
The 49ers clinched the NFC West with the win as well, making the team the first winner of seven from Thursday night.
Winner: of the NFC West, the San Francisco 49ers
For the second time in four years and the second time in the Kyle Shanahan era, the 49ers have clinched the NFC West in Seattle. While the 49ers only won by eight, their smallest margin of victory since Week 10, it was a game that never felt like it was out of the 49ers’ control. It got tight near the end, but a Brock Purdy scramble before the two-minute warning and a Jordan Mason 55-yard run put the game away to win the division.
The 49ers will likely either be the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the NFC Playoffs, and seeding is what they’ll be playing for from this point on. With Philadelphia running away with the NFC and Tampa Bay at six wins, 49ers fans will want to keep a close eye on the Vikings, who only have a half-game lead on the 49ers for the No. 2 seed entering their Saturday game against the Colts.
Winner: TE George Kittle
Kittle finished tied with Jauan Jennings for the second-most targets on Thursday but made the most of it with four receptions for 93 yards and two touchdowns, just the third multi-touchdown game of his career.
His two touchdowns were about what you’d expect from George Kittle, the first coming on a double fake screen with Kittle leaking through the middle. Brock Purdy hit Kittle at the 19-yard line, where Kittle then turned upfield and eluded Quandre Diggs for a 28-yard first-quarter touchdown to put the 49ers up 7-0.
Kittle’s second touchdown was the game’s highlight play for the 49ers’ offense. On the opening drive of the second half, Purdy again found Kittle about 20 yards downfield wide open with plenty of space for Kittle to run. He avoided a Diggs tackle attempt on the sideline, cutting back towards the middle of the field while avoiding a Cody Barton tackle attempt on his way for the 54-yard touchdown to put the 49ers up 18, essentially putting the game away.
Winner: Dropped interceptions
With the 49ers up only 7-3 with two minutes left in the second quarter, Diggs dropped Seattle’s best chance to get back into the game. Instead, it turned into the game’s biggest sequence of plays, leading to a 49ers touchdown.
On a third-and-11, Purdy unleashed his worst throw of the night, not seeing Diggs step in front of a Jauan Jennings in route. As a result, Diggs dropped what would have been a sure interception that, at minimum, would have set the Seattle offense up at midfield. Instead, Mitch Wishnowsky pinned Seattle back at their 19-yard-line with a 45-yard punt.
Four plays later, Geno Smith hit Travis Homer on a short pass when Dre Greenlaw forced a fumble that was recovered by Charvarius Ward and returned to the Seattle 6-yard-line. Christian McCaffrey would score his only touchdown on a goal-line run putting the 49ers up 14-3 before the half.
It might not have completely changed the game in favor of Seattle, but Diggs’ drop kept Seattle from staying in the game.
Winner: DL Arik Armstead
The 49ers’ defense once again dominated, but these four players stood out and were the pillars of the defense’s success.
Armstead stood out on the inside of the defensive line despite finishing with just one tackle. Not only did he play a role in holding Kenneth Walker to his fourth straight game of under 50 rushing yards, but he also hit the quarterback for the third week in a row and will be credited for several pressures. His big games never quite translate in the box score, but there’s always an impact felt when Armstead is as dominant as he was on Thursday night.
Winner: DE Nick Bosa
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Nick Bosa had a pretty good game. His third-quarter sack was number 15.5 on the season, giving him consecutive 15-sack seasons, and he is just .5 sacks away from setting a new career-high. He finished with the sack, two tackles, one going for a loss, three quarterback hits, and was in the backfield all night.
Bosa was likely robbed of an even bigger night thanks to a by-the-book roughing the passer call. A Bosa pressure forced Smith to get rid of the ball, but Deommodore Lenoir was there for an interception returned for a touchdown that would have put the 49ers up 27-6. Bosa was, however, called for roughing the passer because he couldn’t defy the laws of gravity and keep his body weight off of Smith.
Outside of the penalty, Bosa once again dominated on the edge of the 49ers’ line.
Winner: LB Dre Greenlaw
The year of Greenlaw continued on Thursday night with an eight-tackle performance that puts him at 111 tackles on the season. His biggest play of the game was the aforementioned forced fumble in the second quarter that was returned by Ward inside the Seattle 10-yard-line that set up the 49ers’ second touchdown of the game. Greenlaw played well in the pass game as well, with a pair of pass breakups and batted ball at the line.
Greenlaw has put his stamp on plenty of plays this season but none bigger than his forced fumble on Thursday.
Winner: CB Charvarius Ward
Rarely does Ward follow a receiver, but he did so with DK Metcalf on Thursday night. Metcalf was targeted nine times with seven receptions for 55 yards, but his longest play of the game was just 13 yards. His average reception went for 7.86 yards, his third lowest in a game this season and his lowest since Week 9.
Ward was tight to Metcalf all game, breaking up a pair of passes, and even had a near interception had Metcalf not pulled him to the ground drawing a pass interference flag.