The 49ers season is more about incremental improvement then winning games at this point.

A 43-16 beatdown by the Seahawks isn’t surprising. Though head coach Kyle Shanahan wants to win, he is fully aware of the position his team is currently in.

What he cannot accept is fundamental struggles, like penalties and ball security. Both of which have been popped up regularly in 2018.

Here are my takeaways from a rough Week 12:

In the giving spirit

San Francisco retook control of a highly coveted statistic on Sunday — worst turnover differential.

While the Bucs were busy picking off Cam Newton four times, the 49ers had three giveaways and no takeaways in Seattle. That pushed their turnover differential to minus-20, seizing the top — or bottom — spot from Tampa Bay.

This has been San Francisco’s biggest deficiency all season. The 49ers put themselves in an insurmountable hole with two early fumbles against the Seahawks.

Jeff Wilson Jr. had the first, early in the second quarter, fumbling at the five yard line with Seattle leading just 13-0. The defense held Seattle to 21 total yards in its two drives following the fumble before Richie James muffed a punt at the San Francisco 30, just two minutes before halftime.The Seahawks took 34 seconds to put the 49ers in a 20-0 hole, creating a deficit that this current incarnation of the offense cannot overcome.

Big-play birds

The young and undisciplined 49ers have been hurt by big plays all season.

San Francisco gave up four huge plays to the Seahawks and all of them lead to touchdowns — a 45-yard reception by Jaron Brown, a 52-yard catch by Tyler Lockett, an 84-yard Lockett kickoff return to open the second half, and Bobby Wagner’s 98-yard pick-six.

The fact that all three phases of the team were culpable only adds to Shanahan’s frustration.

Dante doubles up

Everyone wanted to see Dante Pettis capitalize on last week, right?

Well he did not disappoint.

Pettis was explosive against the Seattle secondary, catching five passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns. The second score showcased his big-play ability that made John Lynch draft him so high, catching a 20-yard pass and running away from the defense the remaining 50 yards.

The past two weeks have looked promising for the rookie receiver, who dealt with injuries during the middle of the season. It’s also encouraging that he’s played this well recently without Pierre Garçon or Marquise Goodwin in the lineup. He’s been productive despite drawing extra attention from defenses.

Pettis and the 49ers will get another crack at the hated Seahawks — this time in Santa Clara — in two weeks, but first comes a showdown with the hopeful Broncos (6-6).

The Broncos will come to the Bay tied with three other teams (Dolphins, Colts and Titans) one game back of the Ravens for the AFC’s final playoff spot.

For Shanahan’s bunch, dealing a massive blow to Denver’s chances will serve as a rebound from an overall terrible outing in Seattle.


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