Rapid Reaction: San Francisco 49ers

January, 19, 2014
Jan 19
9:58
PM ET

SEATTLE -- A few observations from the 49ers' 23-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC title game:

What it means: The season is over. The 49ers saw their eight-game win streak end in an incredible game against their NFC West rival. The Seahawks will now try to do what the 49ers couldn’t last year -- win the Super Bowl.

The dagger: With the 49ers driving with a half-minute remaining, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick tried to hit Michael Crabtree in the corner of the end zone. The pass was short and cornerback Richard Sherman deflected it. Linebacker Malcolm Smith intercepted it. It was Kaepernick’s second interception of the quarter.

Costly game: The 49ers lost inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman, perhaps their best player, to a gruesome knee injury in the fourth quarter. There were no updates from the team. Left guard Mike Iupati went out in the first half with an ankle injury. It is not known how serious either injury is, but the worst-case scenario is that Bowman’s could affect him into training camp.

Stock watch: Kaepernick had another great game on the ground. He finished with 130 yards on 11 carries. He has two of the four 100-yard rushing performances by a quarterback in the playoffs.

Big plays given up: The San Francisco defense played strong for much of the game. But the difference was two big touchdowns. One was a 40-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch. The other, which gave the Seahawks the lead in the fourth quarter, was a 35-yard pass from Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse on fourth-and-7.

What’s next: The offseason. The 49ers are one of the NFL’s best teams (perhaps the best), but their season ends in Seattle.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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