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What we learned as McCaffrey feasts in 49ers’ big Thanksgiving win


SEATTLE — Brock Purdy and the 49ers allowed the Seattle Seahawks an opportunity to believe on Thursday, but then, San Francisco finished it off midway through the fourth quarter to take a commanding NFC West lead.

Purdy threw a 28-yard touchdown strike to atone for the first pick-six of his career, and the 49ers’ defense was outstanding from start to finish in a 31-13 victory on the nightcap of a full Thanksgiving Day of football at Lumen Field.

The 49ers (8-3) won their third in a row and jumped a spot in the NFC playoff picture to No. 2, behind the Philadelphia Eagles. The Detroit Lions fell to No. 3 with their loss to Green Bay earlier in the day.

The 49ers extended their lead over the Seahawks (6-5) in the NFC West standings to two full games.

Here are the takeaways from the 49ers’ Week 12 win:

Record-setting McCaffrey

Running back Christian McCaffrey picked up where he left off after his NFL-record-tying touchdown streak came to an end two weeks ago in Jacksonville.

McCaffrey had two rushing touchdowns in the first half Thursday night to become the 49ers’ single-season leader in rushing touchdowns. He now has 11 rushing scores with six games to play.

Previously, six players shared the team record of 10 rushing touchdowns in season: Frank Gore (2009), Derek Loville (1995), Ricky Watters (1993), Billy Kilmer (1961), J.D. Smith (1959) and Joe Perry (1953).

McCaffrey’s 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter gave the 49ers a 14-3 lead.

His 8-yard run eight minutes later was a thing of beauty.

McCaffrey appeared to have nowhere to go off the 49ers’ left side. But he showed patience and a hole opened for him to cut back, avoid six would-be tacklers and take it into the end zone.

McCaffrey finished the night with 114 yards on 19 rushing attempts.

Failing to slam the door until . . .

The 49ers had a 21-point halftime lead, and their advantage could have been bigger.

The offense took over twice in Seattle territory after takeaways and came out of those possessions with only three points.

Those missed opportunities looked big later in the game when the Seahawks made their run.

The 49ers have to do a better job of closing the door when they have their opportunity to pull away for a decisive victory.

As it was, the 49ers finally sealed the win midway through the fourth quarter.

The 49ers’ defense thoroughly dominated in the first half, limiting the Seahawks to no first downs on four of their six possessions.

When Seattle finally got a first down, cornerback Ambry Thomas intercepted Geno Smith on the next play.

The most success the Seahawks had in the first half was in the final 39 seconds, when they gained 41 yards on four plays and picked up two first downs.

But Seattle could not cash in, as kicker Jason Myers missed a 52-yard field goal attempt to the right as time expired in the first half.

Smith was questionable throughout the week with a bruised triceps sustained in Seattle’s Week 11 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Before the final seconds of the first half, Smith completed just two of seven attempts for 4 yards and an interception.

Purdy’s winning ways over Seahawks

The Seahawks are the first team to face Purdy three times in his NFL career, and Seattle coach Pete Carroll has yet to find the answers to beat the second-year pro.

Purdy took care of the football and was solid in the first half, completing 15 of 20 pass attempts for 134 yards as the 49ers built a 24-3 lead.

But he made a mistake that gave the Seahawks some life early in the third quarter when his short pass for McCaffrey went off his hands and was intercepted by linebacker Jordyn Brooks. He took it 12 yards for a touchdown. It was the first pick-six of Purdy’s career.

But when the 49ers needed to end all Seattle hopes of a comeback, Purdy delivered with a touchdown pass to Aiyuk against the coverage of rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon.

On Thursday, Purdy completed 21 of 30 passes for 209 yards and one touchdown with one interception.

Wide receiver Deebo Samuel was his main target with seven receptions for 79 yards. Samuel scored the 49ers’ first touchdown of the game on a 2-yard run.

Less than a year ago, Purdy made his first road start in Seattle on the night the 49ers clinched the NFC West title.

Then, Purdy’s first playoff game was a return match against the Seahawks. He completed 18 of 30 pass attempts for 332 yards and three touchdowns in the 49ers’ 41-23 victory.

Prior to Purdy’s arrival, the 49ers won just one time in Seattle in their previous 11 trips to the Pacific Northwest, but with the Iowa State product behind center, the San Francisco is 3-0 against the Seahawks and 2-0 in Seattle.

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