The San Francisco 49ers outscored the Seattle Seahawks by 19 points during the second half. But that apparently wasn’t enough of a message for 49ers tight end George Kittle.
While talking to the media after the contest, which San Francisco won, 41-23, Kittle made it clear that he didn’t like a tackle where Seahawks safety Johnathan Abram appeared to twist the ankle of 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel early in the second half.
Kittle also explained that the 49ers found motivation from the incident.
“First off, why would you want to p*** off Deebo? But if you’re gonna do that to him, you’re just gonna p*** off Trent Williams, who is one of the scariest people on the football field,” Kittle said. “You’re gonna fire up our defense and get our entire team fired up.
“I don’t know what the point of that is. They gave us another reason to flip the switch even higher, and I think that’s what we did. That definitely influenced to maybe play a little bit angrier and a little bit meaner.”
The 49ers were already at the Seahawks 16-yard line when that play occurred, but after Abram twisted Samuel’s ankle, the 49ers scored 25 consecutive points.
The Turning Point of Seahawks-49ers Matchup
The Samuel-Abram incident led to a skirmish on the field. No penalties were called, and the play was kind of forgotten until Kittle talked about it in front of the media.
But interestingly, Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett called a different moment during the third quarter the turning point of the contest.
With the ball at the San Francisco 14-yard line, the Seahawks were in position to answer the first 49ers touchdown in the second half with at least a field goal. Then on 2nd-and-9, quarterback Geno Smith completed a 7-yard pass to receiver Tyler Lockett.
But the officiating crew nullified the play with an illegal man downfield penalty, which Lockett criticized after the game.
“We got it to where we wanted it. 3rd and 2, and they [the officials] called illegal man down field,” Lockett said. “Very, very tough just because I think Geno threw it in 1.2 seconds, so it’s hard for anybody to get past the line of scrimmage.”
The penalty moved the Seahawks back to the 49ers 19-yard line. Smith threw an incomplete pass on second down and then lost the ball on a sack, which the 49ers recovered, on third down.
Seattle DE Quinton Jefferson Rips Seahawks Defense
The Seahawks led the 49ers, 17-16, at halftime before scoring the game’s next 25 points after the Samuel-Abram incident.
But even during the first half, San Francisco was gashing the Seattle defense for big plays. That continued in the third and fourth quarters.
Rather than any penalty call or tackle, the 49ers’ big plays is what Seahawks defensive end Quinton Jefferson concentrated on in his conversation with the media.
“They whipped our a**. You seen it,” Jefferson said. “They could do whatever they want. It was a frustrating game.”
Running back Christian McCaffrey set up San Francisco’s first touchdown with a 68-yard run on the first play of the team’s second drive of the game. Jefferson described the Seahawks defense as “Moses” because it “split like the Red Sea.”
In three matchups with the 49ers this season, the Seahawks lost all three by an average of 15.3 points per game.