by Alex Poletti
Photo by Getty Image/Thearon W. Henderson
In the place of veteran Robbie Gould, Chase McLaughlin held his own as the kicker for the 49ers against a scrappy Seahawks team until overtime, when he shanked a kick and opened the door for Seattle to take the win and end San Francisco’s bid at a perfect season. Sources tell The Second String that McLaughlin took out his anger by trying to hit himself in the face after the game, but he missed wide.
“He went straight in for a punch in the face at a pretty high velocity,” 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman says. “And even though the form was right and he took the proper first steps, he just completely missed. Granted, this occurred after regulation time and the fans were still pretty loud, so we knew he wasn’t at his most able.”
Before the 49ers’ most competitive game of the season, Robbie Gould was ruled inactive with an injured quad. This opened the door for the rookie out of Illinois to start just a week after signing with the team.
Hoping to continue their run as the NFL’s only remaining undefeated team, San Francisco started off strong, leading the Seahawks 10-0 by the end of the first quarter. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks fought back, though, taking the lead in the third. McLaughlin held his own by completing three of three field goals in regulation, including a clutch kick in the fourth quarter to take the game into overtime. Unfortunately, his success ended when the game was on the line, causing his emotional outburst to occur.
“The worst part about him missing the punch at the end of the game,” wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders says, “was that he struck Jimmy Garappolo, who was standing beside him, right in his face. He ruined two perfect things today: the 49ers season and Jimmy G’s jaw line.”
Though just a rookie, McLaughlin’s career is already in jeopardy due to his play against Seattle. Many voices in the San Francisco community have spoken out, including a worker at the St. Anthony Foundation in the Tenderloin, who said the soup kitchen would be happy to serve him after he officially becomes unemployed. Others have not been as kind.
“I think he should go to prison for what he did,” 49ers fan John Ostin says. “I think he’ll do just fine there. After all, he knows how to shank pretty well.”