Thursday Night Football Recap: 49ers stifle Seahawks, celebrate NFC West title

Dec 15, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) runs for a touchdown against Seattle Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs (6) after making a reception during the first quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday Night Football Recap: 49ers stifle Seahawks, celebrate NFC West title

49ers 21, Seahawks 13

Thursday night’s divisional showdown between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks had the looks of a battle for first place just one month ago, but quickly turned into an opportunity for the 49ers to clinch the NFC West outright after the teams headed in different directions. San Francisco made good on the opportunity, celebrating an NFC West title on the road at Lumen Field for the second time in the last four seasons. 

Each defense started the evening in good standing, forcing three punts before the night’s first points. The 49ers struck first with just under four minutes to go in the first quarter, quickly moving the football into Seattle territory on multiple big plays by Christian McCaffrey before Brock Purdy drilled George Kittle over the middle for a 28-yard touchdown. 

Seattle finished its first four drives with just 11 total yards and a single first down against the 49ers’ dominant defense. The Seahawks finally put together a successful drive midway through the second quarter. Two straight catches by DK Metcalf and a long scramble by Geno Smith set up Jason Myers’ field goal with 4:47 to play before halftime, cutting the deficit to 7-3. 

The 49ers’ defense thwarted the last Seattle threat before half in a major way, forcing a fumble that cornerback Charvarius Ward recovered and returned deep into Seahawks’ territory. Christian McCaffrey bullied his way into the end zone just two plays later, extending the San Francisco lead to 14-3 with 47 seconds to play in the first half. 

San Francisco took full control of the game early in the third quarter on Brock Purdy’s second touchdown pass to George Kittle of the night, this time a 54-yard explosion to extend the 49ers’ lead to 21-3. Kittle dodged multiple defenders on the play, the longest touchdown catch for a tight end in the NFL this season. 

Seattle finally caught a break on its next drive when Deommodore Lenoir’s pick-six of Geno Smith was called back due to a roughing the passer penalty on Nick Bosa. Jason Myers connected on his second field goal of the night later on the drive, bringing the Seahawks back within two scores at 21-6 with eight minutes to play in the third quarter. 

As Seattle and San Francisco exchanged seemingly endless punts in the second half, the clock quickly began to become a factor for the Seahawks in the fourth quarter. A missed field goal by 49ers’ kicker Robbie Gould with five minutes to play kept Seattle in the game, but the Seahawks desperately needed to get their offense going in order to have a chance. Geno Smith finally connected with Noah Fant on the Seahawks’ first touchdown of the game with 3:35 to play, a 10-yard pass to trim the deficit to 21-13. 

Unfortunately for Seattle, it could not get the stop it so badly needed in the final minutes to have a chance at tying the game. 49ers’ quarterback Brock Purdy converted a huge first down with a run along the sideline, forcing the Seahawks to drain their remaining timeouts. Jordan Mason ran out of bounds at the Seattle one-yard line moments later, and Brock Purdy took a knee to preserve a division-clinching 49ers’ win. 

Brock Purdy finished the night 17-for-26 with two touchdowns and no interceptions, capping off another impressive performance that started with 11 straight completions. San Francisco’s defense continued its dominance as well, allowing fewer than 18 points for a seventh consecutive game.

Seattle falls to 7-7 on the season, dealing a huge blow to its playoff hopes in a crowded NFC Wild Card race. San Francisco clinches at least one home game in the NFC playoffs with its seventh consecutive win, taking home its first NFC West title since 2019.

Next Week: Seattle: at Kansas City, San Francisco: vs. Washington

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