Seahawks vs. 49ers score, takeaways: San Francisco clinches NFC West behind Brock Purdy, dominant defense

The San Francisco 49ers clinched the NFC West for the first time since 2019, as they defeated the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night, 21-13. The 49ers never trailed in this matchup, and the final score looks closer than the game actually was. Seattle pulled within eight points with 3:35 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Kyle Shanahan's offense ran out the clock and won their seventh straight. 

Seventh-round pick quarterback Brock Purdy was efficient in the first road start of his career, as the new 49ers starter completed 17 of 26 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Even without Deebo Samuel, the rookie had plenty of weapons to work with. George Kittle caught four passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns, while Christian McCaffrey totaled 32 touches for 138 yards and one rushing touchdown.

The Seahawks offense struggled all evening, and that's in large part due to the 49ers' No. 1-ranked defense. The unit allowed just three points in the first half, and forced a Travis Homer fumble just after the two-minute warning in the second quarter that turned into San Francisco's second touchdown of the game -- extending the 49ers' lead to 11 points just before the halftime break. Geno Smith completed 31 of 44 passes for 238 yards and one touchdown, while Kenneth Walker III totaled 47 rushing yards on 12 carries.

Even with Mr. Irrelevant at quarterback, the 49ers proved that they are still the best team in the division. Here's a deep dive into what transpired in Seattle on Thursday. 

Why the 49ers won

There's plenty of credit to go around when it comes to San Francisco's Thursday night win. Purdy wasn't fazed on the road and fought through rib and oblique injuries, McCaffrey carried the offense -- but what really stuck out about this game was the 49ers defense. That unit is the reason why San Francisco was victorious in Week 15, and is the reason why the 49ers are still a contender even with a third-string quarterback.

The Seahawks got to the red zone just once, and went 4 of 13 on third downs. That 49ers No. 1 run defense lived up to its billing, as Seattle rushed for just 70 yards. Nick Bosa and Co. made Smith uncomfortable, the linebackers were aggressive running sideline to sideline and the secondary was very much up to the task of covering D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Charvarius Ward deserves a shoutout for the job he did on Metcalf. They had a fun one-on-one battle all evening.

Why the Seahawks lost

Quandre Diggs missed an easy interception late in the second quarter, a deep pass to Dareke Young that got the Seahawks to the 49ers' 2-yard line was negated due to a holding penalty and Seattle wasn't good on third downs. There were missed opportunities on both sides of the ball for the Seahawks. However, I think holding the 49ers to 21 points was a pretty solid effort. The offense, on the other hand, averaged 26.3 points per game coming into this matchup, but scored less than half of that on Thursday. Obviously the 49ers have an elite defense, but with the division on the line at home on a short week late in the season, this is where you have to pull out all the stops. The Seahawks did not do enough on offense. 

Turning point

The 49ers got the ball back with 3:35 remaining in the fourth quarter up eight points. The Seahawks defense needed a stop. Instead, San Francisco converted two third downs -- including this 55-yard run from rookie running back Jordan Mason.

Play of the game

The Seahawks hoped the halftime break would spark something, but just two plays into the third quarter, Kittle broke loose for 54 yards and extended the 49ers' lead to 18 points.

Two questions: 1. How does Kittle even get that open? 2. How are the Seahawks this bad at tackling?   

Double pump-fake touchdown

I think this is a perfect example of why the 49ers can still be Super Bowl contenders even without Trey Lance or Jimmy Garoppolo. Has Purdy been good? Absolutely. But Shanahan is a huge reason why the 49ers have won seven straight games. Check out this play design. Purdy gives a pump fake left, pump fake right and then finds Kittle over the middle of the field for the touchdown. The Seahawks defense had no idea what to do!

What's next

The 49ers have another road matchup next week, as they will take on the Washington Commanders on Saturday in what could be a potential playoff preview. As for the Seahawks, they hit the road to take on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday. 

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That will do it. The 49ers are the NFC West champions. They will be at worst the No. 3 seed in the NFC. Seattle falls to 7-7 and will be at least a half game out of the playoffs at the conclusion of this week with two weeks to play. 

The 49ers have won 7 in a row. 

December 16, 2022, 4:18 AM
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Carroll loses the challenge. 49ers are going to win the NFC East barring a fumble or a bad exchange on a snap to give the Seahawks the ball back. 

December 16, 2022, 4:13 AM
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Of course Purdy runs the playaction and bootleg perfectly. That's a 1st down for the 49ers, but Carroll will challenge where Purdy slid. This will be his last TO if he loses the challenge. 

December 16, 2022, 4:11 AM
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A 3rd-and-1 without Jordyn Brooks to man Seattle's defense in the middle is a tough task. Have to think this is the game here. 

December 16, 2022, 4:10 AM
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I could watch Nick Bosa rush the passer all day. This time he lines up on the right side and gets to Geno Smith with ease. Smith just got rid of that ball. This has been going on all night.

December 16, 2022, 3:54 AM
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Wonder if the Seahawks don't allow a sack if they would have punted? 21-6 game and giving SF the ball -- a few first downs and this is over. 

December 16, 2022, 3:37 AM
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You just aren't seeing the mistakes from Brock Purdy. Even on that 3rd down throw, two defenders on McCloud and he takes his time and just throws an incomplete pass where only McCloud could catch it. Not giving Seahawks any life with a turnover.

December 16, 2022, 3:20 AM
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Nick Bosa is the only player to have 30 sacks over the last 2 seasons. 5th players since 2000 to have 15+ sacks in consecutive seasons. 

December 16, 2022, 3:11 AM
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How does George Kittle get THAT open anyway. 4 catches for 93 yards and 2 TD now. 

December 16, 2022, 2:59 AM
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A 54-yard touchdown to George Kittle. I'm not sure if the Seahawks can come back here. 

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HALFTIME IN SEATTLE: 49ers 14 Seahawks 3

1st downs: SF 7 SEA 6
Total yards: SF 152 SEA 116
Third downs: SF 2-6 SEA 1-7
Yards per play: SF 5.1 SEA 3.6
TOP: SF 15:47 SEA 14:13

Brock Purdy: 12/16 96 yds 1 TD
Geno Smith: 15/23 86 yds

Christian McCaffrey: 13 carries 57 yds 1 TD, 6 catches for 30 yds

George Kittle: 3 catches for 39 yards, 1 TD

DK Metcalf: 3 catches for 28 yards

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Travis Homer FUMBLES at the Seahawks 41-yard line! Charvarius Ward picks it up, and returns it all the way to the 6-yard line. McCaffrey punches it in from one yard out. Terrible end to the first half for Seattle. 

14-3 with 47 seconds remaining in the second quarter. 

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49ers had a drive that looked like it was going somewhere, but a McCaffrey screen pass that went for -2 yards on second-and-9 hurt the possession. Purdy threw what should have been an easy pick to Quandre Diggs, but he just dropped it.

Geno Smith gets 1:55 to do something before halftime. 

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The Seahawks go 12 plays, 62 yards and score their first points of the game -- a 38-yard field goal from Jason Myers. 7-3 with 4:47 remaining before halftime. 

Seattle picked up four first downs on that drive. It had just one before this possession. 

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Seattle is averaging 2.7 yards per attempt right now. The 49ers defense. 

December 16, 2022, 2:16 AM
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Didn't look good for the Seahawks on third-and-13, but Geno Smith takes what the defense gives him, and runs for 20 yards! 

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Seahawks get a big gainer on second-and-8. DK Metcalf inside route for 13 yards. Then Smith goes back to Metcalf for ANOTHER gain of 13 yards. 

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49ers forced to punt after Purdy misses his first two passes of the night. Six plays, 23 yards. Let's see if the Seahawks can get something going offensively. Just one first down so far. 

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Brock Purdy completed his first 11 before that miss. 

December 16, 2022, 2:05 AM
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Brock Purdy now 10/10 for 89 yds and 1 TD. He's simply hitting all the open throws. 

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Kyle Shanahan wanted the neutral zone infraction, got it. Decided to punt from the Seahawks 42. Seattle went 3 and out next series, but that decision was confusing. 

December 16, 2022, 1:59 AM
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So weird. Kyle Shanahan got the neutral zone infraction he wanted on fourth-and-7, yet punted on fourth-and-2??? 

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Brock Purdy was 9-for-9 for 73 yards and a TD in the 1st quarter. 137.5 rating. 

December 16, 2022, 1:53 AM
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Momentum has changed quickly. Seahawks follow up the 49ers' TD with another three-and-out. SF defense is flying around making plays. 

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