SEATTLE, Wash. - Leading into Sunday's 29-16 loss to the Seahawks, 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula wanted his team to start faster on the road. He believed slow, lethargic starts played in a big role in the team doing poorly away from Levi's Stadium.
"Just coming out rolling, just go. And that’s our focus this week. Just, let’s go," Tomsula said Monday. "We’re leaving on Saturday. Let’s just full-steam ahead. We don’t need to sit back and pause and this and that. Let’s just go. Let’s start this week and take it all the way through the game.”
That didn't happen Sunday. Not at all.
The 49ers allowed touchdowns on Seattle's first three possessions, while the offense failed to get first downs on their first two drives, and didn't make an appearance in Seahawks' territory until late in the first half before Vance McDonald scored his first career touchdown. It was San Francisco's only touchdown on three red zone trips.
"When I say opening fast, I mean opening fast in the course of the play," Tomsula said after Sunday's game. "Don't feel your way through the play. Come off the ball and attack."
"Defensively, I was not happy with the way we came out. You know, attack the guys, attack in the tackling."
The Seahawks were able to do whatever they wanted early in the game, leading to rookie running back Thomas Rawls' recording setting performance. Rawls got the start over the injured Marshawn Lynch, who was announced as inactive 90 minutes before game time. NaVorro Bowman said after the game the team prepared for Lynch during the week, not Rawls.
The 49ers offense showed life in the second half, with new starter Blaine Gabbert leading two field goal drives in the third quarter that stalled out just before the end zone.
Gabbert finished with 264 yards passing on 22 of 34 completions. Former starter Colin Kaepernick, who is slated for shoulder surgery next week after being placed on injured reserve, had just one game with 200 or more yards passing in seven starts against Seattle.
"We fluttered in the red zone," Gabbert said. "You've got to get touchdowns when you're in the plus-10 area, especially against a good football team like that. You can't come away with field goals, albeit all points are good, touchdowns change the game."
Coming into Sunday, the 49ers' minus-89 point differential on the road was the worst in the NFL, which fell to minus-105 after the loss.
The 49ers have started slow in road games all season, dating back to Week 2 in Pittsburgh, the next game in Arizona, and now Sunday.
"S----y performance by everybody," left guard Alex Boone said. "That’s what you get when you play like s---."
Chris Biderman is the Editor-in-Chief of Niners Digest and covers the 49ers from their headquarters in Santa Clara. Chris has been writing about the team since the spring of 2013. The Ohio State alum received his Journalism degree in 2011 and has been working in sports media since 2008. Chris, a Santa Rosa, Calif. native, is also a contributor to the Associated Press covering sports throughout the Bay Area. You can follow Chris on Twitter here.
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