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3 things we learned about the 49ers

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Seattle Seahawks celebrated Thanksgiving with a feast on the Levi’s Stadium field last season.

Eleven months later, they returned Thursday night to enjoy an early Halloween, disguised as their former selves.

The Seahawks turned back the clock with the type of defensive dominance that led to consecutive Super Bowl appearances, sacking San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick six times in a 20-3 victory.

Running back Marshawn Lynch rushed for a touchdown, quarterback Russell Wilson threw for one, and kicker Steven Hauschka made two field goals, lifting the Seahawks (3-4) to their third consecutive low-scoring win over the 49ers (2-5) in the past two seasons.

“That was the way it was supposed to be,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of the defense-dominated style of victory. “I don’t want to make a big deal out of it. It’s just the way we should be playing. It felt like a really normal Seahawk night tonight.”

Defensive end Michael Bennett recorded a career-best 3 1/2 sacks as the Seahawks recorded a near-identical win to the 19-3 victory they registered on the same field over the 49ers last Thanksgiving.

“I have to give it to the (defensive backs),” Bennett said. “They did a great job today. The quarterback held the ball. It just gave me some time to get there.”

Despite getting sacked five times and intercepted on two occasions, Wilson passed for 235 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown to rookie receiver Tyler Lockett in the second quarter.

What we learned about the 49ers:

1. Colin Kaepernick might be an improved passer from inside the pocket, but even he can’t throw from on his back. The quarterback was so well contained by the Seattle defense Thursday in San Francisco’s 20-3 loss, he did not record a single rushing attempt for the first time in his career. When he did try to escape the pocket, he was captured and sacked a total of six times.

2. The 49ers should be stricken from consideration for any future Thursday night telecasts. The club used to dominate when getting just three days to prepare, as evidenced by its seven wins in its first eight Thursday games. However, since Thanksgiving 2011, San Francisco is 0-3 on Thursdays, having played basically unwatchable 16-6, 19-3 and 20-3 games on national television.

3. There is no longer a rivalry between the 49ers and Seahawks. Any hatred 49ers fans had for Seattle, which thumped San Francisco twice last season and denied the 49ers a trip to the Super Bowl two years ago with a win in the NFC Championship Game, is gone. Before the end of the first quarter Thursday, 49ers fans stopped booing the Seahawks and turned on a target closer to home — their own quarterback, Kaepernick.

Etc.

–RB Jarryd Hayne was among the seven players the 49ers designated as inactive for Thursday’s game against Seattle. It was the first time this season the former rugby standout didn’t suit up. The rookie became expendable when chief punt returner and backup RB Reggie Bush returned from a calf injury, dropping Hayne a notch down the depth chart in both of his areas of expertise.

–S Antoine Bethea sustained a shoulder injury in the 49ers’ loss to Seattle on Thursday night. The injury occurred in the second quarter when Bethea got his hand caught on Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin’s facemask, twisting Bethea’s shoulder in the process. Bethea was not able to return to the game.

–P Bradley Pinion took over the league lead in number of punts when he kicked nine times for 390 yards (43.3-yard average) Thursday in the 49ers’ loss to Seattle. Pinion now has 35 punts this season, two more than any other kicker. Pinion’s 390 yards in punts Thursday topped the Seahawks’ 388 yards of total offense. The rookie’s punting average for the season is a respectable 43.5 yards.


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