Sunday began with devastation. The 49ers lost their 22-year-old starting quarterback and the man they believe to be the future of the franchise in Trey Lance. It appears, based on the images of his right ankle, that he will be out for the foreseeable future.
They will take consolation in a 27-7 win that gets them in the win column over a Seahawks team that has proved a thorn in their side for a very long time.
It came on his third run up the middle of the game, late in the first quarter. Questions will be asked of Kyle Shanahan’s approach.
At that point, they led 6-0. As Lance was carted off the field, the man he was supposed to replace watched on.
It was an absolutely brutal and instant reminder of why the team kept Jimmy Garoppolo. As Lance winced in pain, Garoppolo returned, and suddenly it was back to the norm of last season.
After running and throwing with Lance three times each, the 49ers took to the air. Five of their next six plays were pass attempts.
The last of those attempts was a 38-yard touchdown to a wide open Ross Dwelley on “leak,” one of Kyle Shanahan’s patented concepts that almost always results in an uncovered tight end or fullback.
Dwelley looked like he had sand in his shoes en route to the end zone, trying out a hesitation move that didn’t fool Quandre Diggs, but ended up with him in the end zone anyway.
The started rolling from that point on.
There was a Talanoa Hufanga interception. Then there was a Fred Warner interception negated by a bogus pass interference call on Emmanuel Moseley. The interception was manifested later that drive, though, with one of the more absurd, hilarious trick plays of all time.
Seattle put all four running backs on the field and let DeeJay Dallas throw the ball out of a heavy pistol formation. It went as poorly as possible.
That interception led to, well, nothing. But they got the ball back in the Seattle end following a brilliant bulldozing technique from Tarvarius Moore on a punt return that turned into a muff and 49ers recovery.
San Francisco got back on the board promptly with a Kyle Juszczyk fullback dive touchdown.
From there, it was tepid. That might even be generous.
The 49ers offense stalled. A bad snap from Jake Brendel on a 3rd-and-2 turned into a Ross Dwelley fumble recovery and Kyle Shanahan opted to take a field goal. That backfired.
On the next play, Dwelley, the left wing, got beat by Tariq Woolen for a blocked kick. Coby Bryant took that 86 yards in the other direction for a touchdown.
Almost nothing happened after that.
The rain increased and both teams seemed content to punt the ball back and forth after feigning interest in running their offenses. The 49ers at least did well to matriculate the ball slowly down the field to burn the clock on their penultimate drive.
The highlight of that period of play was probably a joint sack from Drake Jackson and Nick Bosa. That marked Jackson’s first career sack (or half sack) and was Bosa’s second of the game (1.5 sacks, technically).
San Francisco capped off the game with a Garoppolo QB sneak garbage-time TD.
This is now a 49ers team with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm yet again. The ceiling is lower, but it will likely be more predictable.