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49ers defensive Conference Championship report card vs. Seahawks

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The 49ers lost a heartbreaker to the Seattle Seahawks 23-17 on Sunday evening. Here are the grades for the defense and special teams:

Defensive Line: B-

The first half was excellent when it came to generating pressure on Russell Wilson. However, the second half had adjustments that didn't work for the 49ers. Marshawn Lynch had several holes on the opening Seahawks drive in the third quarter. However, San Francisco did well at stuffing the run when they needed to in the fourth quarter.

Linebackers: B

Like the defensive line, the linebackers crumbled in the second half when giving up juicy long runs to Lynch. They were excellent in coverage when covering the tight end position. Aldon Smith was a great pass rusher throughout the game, but pressure was gone when the third quarter began.

Secondary: B-

The team played well for the most part when covering the WRs, but they were burned on two major mistakes. Doug Baldwin had a 51-yard reception where he was behind Donte Whitner and Eric Reid as Seattle settled for a field goal. Carlos Rogers was also burned on one fourth-down play which resulted in a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse.

Special Teams: C-

Andy Lee shanked a punt which led to Seattle getting three points with field position. The 49ers also gave up a 69-yard kickoff return to Doug Baldwin right after they scored a touchdown. Phil Dawson was good from 25 yards, ending the 2013 season with nine straight field goal attempts made. LaMichael James also muffed a punt where Darryl Morris fell on the loose ball.

Coaching: B-

The defense had their mistakes, but they kept the 49ers in the game even with NaVorro Bowman being out with a torn ACL after a bad call. San Francisco got the ball back after a Lynch fumble, which saved them 14 yards. After standing firm on two straight possessions and a great first half, Vic Fangio had the correct game plan needed to stop Russell Wilson. He knew the perfect time to blitz the opposition and it worked more times than not. Unfortunately, one possession of Lynch tearing it up for 56 yards and a mistake in coverage by Carlos Rogers on a free play is what people will remember about the defense.

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For grades on the 49ers offense, click here.

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