NFC West Reporter
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — All it takes is one play to show a workforce from indifference to anger.
For the San Francisco 49ers, the play occurred on the workforce’s opening drive of the second half whereas they surprisingly trailed to the upstart Seattle Seahawks — who up till that time had been the extra bodily workforce.
Nevertheless, the 49ers bought a jolt of vitality when Seattle security Jonathan Abram unnecessarily pulled at receiver Deebo Samuel’s proper ankle on the finish of a 21-yard move play on third-and-7 from Seattle’s 37-yard line that completed within the crimson zone.
Together with his star receiver down on the sphere and injured, San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan was so indignant he took to the sphere to complain to the officers.
“I lost my mind a little bit on that,” Shanahan stated. “I was real concerned that he was hurt. I didn’t like how that looked. I thought it looked pretty bad, the intent of the play. It pissed a lot of people off. It pissed our team off, and you could feel our team react to that after.”
Abram ought to have been flagged for a private foul however was not on the play.
“I stayed down a little because I almost lost my temper,” Samuel stated. “You can see the definition of our team of IGYB — I got your back.”
Tight finish George Kittle and different gamers got here to the protection of his teammate as Samuel stayed on the bottom, gesturing at an official close by for the dearth of a name.
“I don’t know why you’d want to piss off Deebo,” Kittle stated. “But if you’re going to do that to him, you’re just going to piss off Trent Williams, who’s one of the scariest people on the football field.
“You are going to fireplace up our complete protection and get our complete workforce fired up, so I do not know what the purpose of that’s. … They gave us one more reason to flip the change even greater, which is what we did.”
As Kittle said, other San Francisco players joined in, and a minor scrum between the two teams ensued, with players pushing and shoving before referees could break it up.
Properly motived, San Francisco took the lead for good five players later a 1-yard quarterback sneak by rookie Brock Purdy, and the 49ers went on to run away from the Seahawks, a 41-23 victory in an NFC Wild Card contest at Levi’s Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, the 49ers will either host the Minnesota Vikings if they defeat the New York Giants on Sunday, or the winner of the Monday Night Football contest between the visiting Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 49ers took an early 10-0 lead, then slept-walked through a second quarter dominated by Seattle. The Seahawks outscored San Francisco 17-6 in the quarter, including a 56-yard field goal created by a poorly executed squib kick on a kickoff by San Francisco.
Shanahan was not pleased with his team’s performance going into halftime, but the more talented 49ers finally woke up after the Samuel incident. San Francisco scored 25 straight points to open the second half, including a pretty, 74-yard catch and run by Samuel in which fellow receiver Brandon Aiyuk paved the way by sealing off Seattle cornerback Tariq Woolen 30 yards down the field.
Samuel, who missed three games in December with a left knee injury, finished with a team-high six receptions for 133 yards on a rainy day.
Christian McCaffrey totaled 119 rushing yards on 15 carries, including a 68-yard run midway through the opening quarter.
The 49ers overwhelmed Seattle in the second half. It’s what good teams do, making big plays to destroy an inferior opponent.
But the teams will get better as San Francisco moves deeper in the postseason. The 49ers can’t afford to get complacent and let better teams than Seattle hang around for large portions of the game.
Playing in his first playoff game, Purdy was impressive, completing 18 of 30 passes for 332 yards, with three touchdown passes and no interceptions for a 131.5 passer rating. At 23 years old, Purdy became the youngest player in NFL postseason history to throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns in a game, surpassing his childhood hero Dan Marino.
Purdy was excited to learn during the postgame presser that NBA star LeBron James had praised him on social media, saying he’s got game.
“Lebron stated that? Oh, that is candy,” said a smiling Purdy. “That is superior.”
For a half, the Seahawks showed they could go toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the NFL. However, San Francisco wrangled control of the game by forcing Seattle quarterback Geno Smith into two turnovers, an interception by Deommordore Lenoir and a strip sack by Charles Omenihu recovered by Nick Bosa with the Seahawks driving to score.
Expected to be one of the worst teams in the NFL, the Seahawks were playing with house money after finishing 9-8 and advancing to the postseason.
“This workforce goes to be a very nice workforce, and I believe the town of Seattle is aware of it,” Seahawks safety Ryan Neal said. “To be trustworthy with you, they need to be simply freaking excited. If we add a pair extra items, get again collectively and get wholesome, this workforce is one thing to be terrified of. There is a very vibrant future for this group, for certain.”
Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.
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