SANTA CLARA -- Richard Sherman, who finished the NFC Championship game with his hands around his throat in a 'choking' gesture to 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, got his hands on one of Kaepernick's passes in the first quarter.
Kaepernick was targeting wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, who had attempted to sell Sherman that he was heading deep. The Seahawks cornerback wasn't fooled when Lloyd cut the route off and then stepped forward to snatch Kaepetrnick's pass, which was well to the inside of his intended target.
The Seahawks took over at San Francisco's 45 yard line, then went seven plays eventually scoring a touchdown when no one covered running back Robert Turbin when he drifted into the flat on the right side of the 49ers' defense.
A similar scenario occurred in the second quarter when Turbin again caught a short pass and found an open field in front of him. He gained 34 yards, which eventually set up a Steven Haushka penalty that gave Seattle its 13-0 halfime lead.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
Kaepernick's struggles were underscored by counterpart Russell Wilson's improvisational skills, including a play in the second quarter when the Seahawks quarterback avoided a blitz by cornerback Dontae Johnson, slipped from Johnson's grasp a second time, then found tight end Tony Moeaki.
Moeaki tight-roped his way along the sideline and wasn't taken down until he reached San Francisco's 1-yard line. Two strong plays by outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks kept Seattle out of the end zone, and the Seahawks settled for a short field goal.
While Wilson is 9-14 for 163 yards and a 127.9 passer rating, Kaepernick finished 7-16 for 55 yards. His passer rating is 26.8. All five of his passes to Lloyd were incomplete – some wildly so – and the 49ers crossed midfield once – one the final play of the half, which ended at Seattle's 49 yard line.
Seahawks games have been painful for the 49ers from an injury standpoint, and that trend continued on the game's second play when Michael Crabtree caught a short pass over the middle and was crunched by hard-hitting safety Kam Chancellor.
Crabtree's right leg appeared to buckle, but he instead jogged to the sideline with a rib injury. He missed the remainder of that series, played some on the next possession, but was on the sideline for much of the half with Lloyd taking most of his plays.
Crabtree caught one more pass in the half, a gain of two yards.
Defensive end Ray McDonald suffered a finger injury while safety Antoine Bethea tweaked his ankle. Both returned to the game.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.