SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The last of the NFL’s unbeatens has fallen.
Despite a spirited fourth-quarter comeback and a wild overtime period, the San Francisco 49ers suffered their first loss of the season Monday night at Levi’s Stadium, a 27-24 overtime defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks and quarterback Russell Wilson.
And with that, the 1972 Miami Dolphins celebrated again as they remain the last NFL team to finish an entire season with a perfect record.
With the defeat, the Niners became the final team to lose a game this year dropping to 8-1 on the season.
After the 49ers fought back to kick a game-tying field goal at the end of regulation, Wilson took matters into his own hands on third down in Seattle territory with the clock winding down.
Wilson broke contain up the middle and raced 18 yards into San Francisco territory to set up kicker Jason Myers’ game-winning 42-yard field goal. That came after Niners rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin missed a 47-yard field goal earlier in overtime that would have given the 49ers the victory.
McLaughlin, who signed this week to replace injured veteran kicker Robbie Gould, earlier hit game-tying field goals from 46 and 47 yards but was wide left with the chance to win it in overtime.
The Niners also hurt their chances to win in regulation by turning the ball over three times with each of those giveaways resulting in a Seattle touchdown. In fact, all of the Seahawks’ first 21 points came off takeaways. Entering the game, the Niners had allowed just 16 points off turnovers in their first eight games.
After falling behind 21-10 with less than two minutes left in the third quarter, the Niners surged back on the strength of a fumble recovery for a touchdown from defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. The Niners defense managed another stop on the ensuing Seattle possession and kicked a field goal to tie it up.
The Niners’ first defeat came on a night where it was difficult for many of their key players to stay healthy and on the field. Already without tight end George Kittle, the Niners lost receiver Emmanuel Sanders and defensive tackle D.J. Jones to rib and groin injuries, respectively, in the first half.
Without Sanders and Kittle and with a rusty offensive line attempting to reintegrate tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, the Niners struggled to block for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and catch passes that hit them in the hands.
With 6:19 left in the third quarter, Garoppolo fired down the right sideline to a wide-open Kendrick Bourne. The throw was a bit high but should have been an easy enough catch for Bourne that would have gone for a big gain.
Instead, the ball went right through Bourne’s hands and into those of Seattle safety Quandre Diggs for an interception. At the time, the Niners were clinging to a three-point lead but Diggs’ return gave the Seahawks prime field position at San Francisco’s 16. Three plays later, the Seahawks scored to take a 21-10 lead.
Bourne later dropped a would-be first down over the middle on the drive in which the 49ers had to settle for a field goal. Meanwhile, the 49ers offensive line struggled to protect Garoppolo, allowing five sacks, two of which turned into fumble recoveries for Seattle.
Such miscues have been few and far between for the 49ers this season but on this night, there were enough to send them home with their first loss of the season and breathe life into what now figures to be a tight battle for the NFC West division crown.