NFL

Kittle: 49ers offense and special teams let defense down in 'brutal rollercoaster'

By Sports Desk December 06, 2021

George Kittle described the San Francisco 49ers' loss to the Seattle Seahawks as a "brutal rollercoaster" after they came up short in a wild finish to a frenetic Week 13 clash.

The Niners had won their past three games but came undone in Seattle, falling to a 30-23 loss that dropped them to 6-6 and dented their playoff hopes.

San Francisco led 17-7 and 23-14 in the first half, but a series of damaging penalties and turnovers undermined the positives for the Niners, which included a nine-catch, 181-yard performance from tight end Kittle, who scored two touchdowns.

The Niners committed three turnovers, with Jimmy Garoppolo tossing a pair of interceptions, were called for 10 penalties and went three for 10 on third down in an error-strewn showing.

Yet San Francisco's defense stopped Seattle twice from inside their own 30-yard line in the second half, a forced fumble from linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair on the two-yard line giving the Niners the ball back with the chance to tie the game and force overtime.

The 49ers subsequently went 95 yards down the field, but Garoppolo saw a fourth-down throw to Trent Sherfield with seconds remaining batted down at the line of scrimmage as Seattle clung on.

Kittle was disappointed with the 49ers' offense inability to execute and the performance of the special teams, which gave up a fake punt touchdown and also lost a fumble when Travis Benjamin dropped the opening kickoff of the second half.

"This game was like a rollercoaster. It was pretty brutal," Kittle said. "I think our defense played really, really well for being down the amount of guys they were...

"At least two of your three teams have to play well, and I think our offense and our special teams didn't play our best games.

"I'm not trying to point fingers, but we have to hold each other accountable, gotta look in the mirror.

"Our run game was okay, but as a whole we have to run the ball better and just hold on to the football."

There was controversy on that final series, with Sidney Jones not penalised for holding or pass interference despite extremely physical coverage on Sherfield in the endzone on third down.  

However, Kittle refused to blame the officials, adding: "Refs make calls, they don't make calls. It is what it is. You've got to live with it.

"It's frustrating when there's drive stoppers. We had a couple penalties the last drive we were able to overcome. You can't use penalties as an excuse. You've just got to play better."

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