Santa Clara, CA – The 49ers did everything they could to end the season on a high note. A season riddled with injuries, controversy and in the end, another head coach on the chopping block. But this time he was accompanied by General Manager Trent Baalke who was also shown the door.
Chip Kelly is the second head coach to finish the season 2-14 in his first year. Bill Walsh also record the same record his first season. Kelly gave his best and understands this is a business in the end. Nonetheless after a compelling first half, San Francisco fell 25-23 to the Seahawks in their season finale.
“I’m supposed to meet with [Owner] Jed York after the game,” Kelly said. “We were 2-14, that’s how I would analyze the season. It’s a bottom line business, we didn’t win enough games.”
The 49ers had some miscommunication on opening drive which led to a fumble and Seattle kicking a 31-yard field goal. Colin Kaepernick was sacked on the first play. By the next he handed off the ball to Shaun Draughn, in that process Bobby Wagner forced a fumble.
“You’re going to have those ups and down in the game,” said Draughn in regards to his fumble. “You just have to put that behind you and keep the next play in your view.”
The duo quickly recovered from their mistakes and on the next series Kaepernick led his offense down field in 7 plays for 75 yards with Draughn rushing in the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown making it a 7-3 game.
To start the second quarter, Draughn rushed in for another 1-yard touchdown extending the 49ers lead 14-3. Steve Hauschka kicked a total of 4 field goals, his second field goal of the day came after the Seahawks failed to convert on third down.
But another mistake by San Francisco proved costly and the Seahawks took advantage. DuJuan Harris rushed up the middle and Ahtyba Rubin forced him to fumble. Frank Clark picked up the ball and rushed for 27 yards setting up Luke Wilson 11-yd touchdown.
“We gave up two-thirds of their yards in the first two times they had the ball it seemed,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said. “And then the guys adjusted beautifully. I thought the 49ers played tough as hell today, they were in it all the way and battled in all three phases.”
The Seahawks were back in the game down by one. Russell Wilson went deep to Jimmy Graham for 42 yards. That setup Thomas Rawls 1-yd touchdown giving Seattle a 19-14 lead to end the half.
The 49ers offense collapsed in the third with Kaepernick getting sacked for the third time today. San Francisco defense held the Seahawks to a field goal in the third while the offense struggles continue.
The 49ers got lucky when Nolan Frese fumbled out of bounds late in the third and into the end zone for a safety. While it looked like San Francisco’s defense had given up, they held them to field goals in the second half.
The 49ers however were able to trim the lead late in the fourth when Kaepernick connected with Garrett Celek in the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown making it a 25-23 game.
But too little to late for San Francisco as time ran out. As the team prepares to head into the offseason, they reflected on the year and gave their thoughts on the latest transactions that overshadowed their season and final game.
“You want to build that camaraderie and know who your going to work with every single day,” said Navarro Bowman. “Going through so many [coaches] in a short time is tough. So you have to be a professional and understand that’s apart of this lifestyle. Whatever happens the guys who are here will go out and represent this team well.”
“I appreciate Chip Kelly and what he’s done as far as coming work every single day and making sure this team stays focused and being resilient,” Kaepernick said. “Not very good circumstances on as far as how our team was playing win-loss record wise. I appreciate him working his tail off in making sure this team was prepared.”
Notes – The San Francisco 49ers announced that both Trent Baalke and Chip Kelly have been relieved of their duties. The organization has begun its search for the team’s next general manager and head coach.
49ers Chief Executive Officer Jed York will address the matter at 10:00 a.m. Monday morning in the Levi’s Stadium auditorium.
“I have informed Trent and Chip of my decision to pursue new leadership for our football team,” said York. “These types of conversations are never easy, especially when they involve people you respect personally and professionally.