7 Winners of 49ers Division Decisive Victory: Christian McCaffrey Impresses Again
the 49ers extended its winning streak to seven games with its 21-13 win over Seattle on Thursday night. The win marked the first time the 49ers have swept Seahawks in a season since 2011 and the first time they have won back-to-back games against their division rival since 2012.
The 49ers also clinched the NFC West with the victory, making the team the first winner of seven since Thursday night.
Winner: from 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 seemed out of the 49ers’ control. It got tough near the end, but a brawl by Brock Purdy before the two-minute warning and a 55-yard run by Jordan Mason ended the game to win the division.
The 49ers will likely be the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the NFC Playoffs, and seeding is what they will play for from this point on. With Philadelphia running away with the NFC and Tampa Bay with six wins, 49ers fans will want to keep a close eye on the Vikings, who only hold a half-game lead over the 49ers for the No. 2 seed ahead of their game Saturday against the Colts.
Winner: TE George Kittle
Kittle finished tied with Jauan Jennings for the second-most goals Thursday, but he made the most of it with four receptions for 93 yards and two touchdowns, just the third multi-touchdown game of his career.
Both of his touchdowns were what you’d expect from George Kittle, the first coming on a fake double screen with Kittle seeping through the middle. Brock Purdy hit Kittle at the 19-yard line, where Kittle then spun upfield and eluded Quandre Diggs for a 28-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to put the 49ers up 7–0.
Kittle’s second touchdown was the highlight play of the game for the 49ers offense. On the opening drive of the second half, Purdy again found Kittle about 20 yards out field with plenty of room for Kittle to run. He fended off a tackle attempt from Diggs on the sideline, dropped back to midfield while fending off a tackle attempt from Cody Barton en route to the 54-yard touchdown run to put the 49ers up 18, essentially putting the game out. .
Winner: Missed Interceptions
With the 49ers leading just 7–3 with two minutes left in the second quarter, Diggs blew Seattle’s best chance to get back in the game. Instead, he turned in the biggest sequence of plays in the game, leading to a 49ers touchdown.
On third-and-11, Purdy unleashed his worst pitch of the night, missing Diggs past Jauan Jennings en route. As a result, Diggs dropped what would have been a safe interception that, at the very least, would have put Seattle’s offense in midfield. Instead, Mitch Wishnowsky covered Seattle at their 19-yard line with a 45-yard punt.
Four plays later, Geno Smith hit Travis Homer on a short pass as 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 that would put the 49ers up 14-3 before the half.
It may not have completely turned the game in Seattle’s favor, but Diggs’ drop prevented 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 excelled inside the defensive line despite finishing with just one tackle. He not only played a role in holding Kenneth Walker to his fourth straight game under 50 rushing yards, but also hit the quarterback for the third week in a row and will be credited with several pressures. Big games from him never quite translate to the score, but he always feels an impact when Armstead is as dominant as he was Thursday night.
Winner: DE Nick Bosa
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Nick Bosa had a pretty good game. His sack in the third quarter was his 15.5th of the season, giving him back-to-back 15-sack seasons, and he’s just .5 sacks away from setting a new career high. He finished with the sack, two tackles, one for loss, three quarterback hits and was in the backfield all night.
Bosa likely got robbed of an even bigger night thanks to a rude call to the passerby. A pressure from Bosa forced Smith to fend off the ball, but Deommodore Lenoir was there for an interception returned for a touchdown that would have put the 49ers up 27-6. However, Bosa was called out for roughing up the quarterback because he couldn’t defy the laws of gravity and keep his body weight off of Smith.
Off the penalty, Bosa once again dominated on the edge of the 49ers line.
Winner: LB Dre Greenlaw
Greenlaw’s year continued Thursday night with an eight-tackle performance that puts him at 111 tackles for 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 also played well in the passing game, with a couple of pass breakups and a batted ball down the line.
Greenlaw has put his stamp on many plays this season, but none bigger than his forced fumble on Thursday.
Winner: CB Charvarius Ward
Ward rarely follows a receiver, but he did with DK Metcalf on Thursday night. Metcalf was attacked nine times with seven receptions for 55 yards, but his longest play of the game was just 13 yards. His average reception was 7.86 yards, the third-lowest in a game this season and the lowest since Week 9.
Ward was close to Metcalf throughout the game, breaking up a couple of passes, and even had a close interception if Metcalf hadn’t grounded him on a pass interference flag.