SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Seahawks came to Levi's Stadium, having never won a road game against the 49ers in Russell Wilson's three-year career, and pushed around the home team like they were playing at CenturyLink Field.
The Thanksgiving rivalry game looked anything but as Seattle won, 19-3, with relative ease.
Only the Seahawks, one of the two 7-4 clubs playing Thursday in the South Bay, looked the part of a playoff team. Their top-ranked defense held San Francisco in check the entire night, akin to their championship winning group from 2013.
San Francisco's CEO Jed York took to Twitter, before the game concluded, saying "Thank you #49ersfaithful for coming out strong tonight. This performance wasn't acceptable. I apologize for that".
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the recent recipient of a six-year contract extension, was in lock step with his employer afterwards.
"It’s not acceptable. We didn’t play well. We didn’t perform well. We have a much higher standard for ourselves,” Kaepernick said.
The 49ers' franchise QB threw two interceptions Richard Sherman and authored his most regrettable performance of the season. He completed 12 of 25 passes for just 90 yards before the game was decided late in the fourth quarter. He finished with 121 passing yards and was sacked four times.
"They were bad throws. Our receivers won. I didn’t make the throw on those. Those are my fault," he said.
[Related: Sherman gets best of Kaepernick, Roman]
The Seahawks (8-4) out gained the 49ers with 379 yards to 164. For the first time since rookie Chris Borland took over for Patrick Willis, whose season is done after toe surgery, San Francisco looked severely hampered without its seven-time Pro Bowler. Not to mention NaVorro Bowman, who hasn't played a down this season while recovering from a brutal knee injury sustained in last January's conference title game - against these same Seahawks.
Borland led the 49ers with 16 tackles, making a majority of his stops on Seattle running plays. But with Wilson consistently extending plays and stressing the defense, Borland and fellow reserve Michael Wilhoite were unable to come up with answers.
Wilson gashed San Francisco with throws to running backs, including the game's only touchdown, a 13-yard pass to the uncovered Robert Turbin in the left flat where an obvious blown coverage was made in the first quarter. Turbin later added a 34-yard reception in the second that set up one of Steven Hauschka's four field goals.
Players were so open for Wilson at times, it seemed as if Seattle was running things San Francisco wasn't prepared for. But that wasn't the case.
"They kept it simple, they kept it basic. They beat us," linebacker Ahmad Brooks said, who made consecutive plays at the goal line to force a Seahawks field goal in the second quarter. Down 7-0, Brooks made a shoe-string tackle on Wilson before he could get to the end zone, and broke up a pass intended for a wide open Doug Baldwin.
Wilson finished with an efficient 15 completions on 22 attempts for 236 yards and a score. Marshawn Lych added 104 yards on 20 carries.
San Francisco's defense needed a perfect showing. Because Seattle's relentless defense didn't let the 49ers breathe.
Kaepernick had thrown for fewer than 200 yards just once all season. Thursday's 164-net yard performance for the offense was far and away the team's worst of 2014. The previous low came in Nov. 2's loss to St. Louis, when they amassed 99 yards more than Thursday.
The 49ers' longest play was a 16-yard pass to rookie running back Carlos Hyde out of the backfield. But more plays down field could have been made.
"I wouldn’t say things aren’t open," Anquan Boldin said. "It’s just a lack of execution. That’s the only way I can put it. Just got to do a better job next game."
San Francisco (7-5), has only four games remaining after their playoff hopes took another huge blow Thursday. One of those games, in two weeks, is back in Seattle Dec. 14.
"We know what we have to do now – to come back and win them all,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said.
In a crowded NFC playoff race, winning out means San Francisco gets to 11 wins. But that also means winning in CenturyLink, which Harbaugh's team hasn't done since his first season in 2011.
San Francisco's longest drive in the first half went six plays. Their first 20-yard drive didn't come until just before the half, when they went 26 yards, but didn't score any points.
Their only points came on a 12-play, 44-yard drive that culminated with a Phil Dawson field goal from 40-yards out to make it 16-3. It was the first of only two drives that ended in Seahawks' territory.
It was a loss of the worst variety for the 49ers. Fans booed Kaepernick off the field, Sherman and Wilson ate their Thanksgiving turkey for a television crew on the 49ers' midfield logo following the game, and the CEO Tweeted his displeasure before the game ended. York's words didn't do much to quell the idea of discontent between the front office and coaching staff that has been so widely reported all year.
But after weeks of sputtering and coming away with ugly wins, the offense met its maker in Thursday's loss.
The promise in August that came with a healthy Michael Crabtree, the additions of wideouts Stevie Johnson and Brandon Lloyd, along with taking Hyde in May's draft, made many believe the offense would take the next step in its evolution under Harbaugh and coordinator Greg Roman.
But that hasn't happened.
"Couldn’t tell you (why), man," left tackle Joe Staley said.
San Francisco's offense, that was a play away from returning to the Super Bowl, if not for an ill-advised throw broken up by Sherman in January, has gone backwards.
"Lack of execution...that's all it is," said Boldin.
Kaepernick took responsibility for his play, and went as far to say he deserved the boos that he received from an anxious crowd at Levi's Stadium. But there wasn't any finger pointing in the locker room.
"We all have a part in it. It’s a team sport. And Kap is not the only person on the San Francisco 49ers," Staley said. "We all wear that jersey. And we’re all held to that standard of what we expect out of each other and ourselves. Today, it wasn’t the standard, obviously.
"(We) sense the fans' frustration. We’re frustrated. They show up on Sundays and cheer for the team and we give our lives to this sport. All the hard work, all the sacrifice our families go through. And to come out today and play that way, it’s disheartening. I share the fans’ frustration. We know that feeling too."
San Francisco will pick up the pieces and prepare for their next game when they trudge up north to play the one-win Oakland Raiders on 10 days' rest Dec. 7. They travel to Seattle the following week.
“What matters is what we do, how we respond as a football team,” Harbaugh said.