Chase McLaughlin made three of his four field-goal attempts Monday night in his 49ers debut. Ordinarily, that would be a pretty good night for an NFL kicker.
For McLaughlin, however, it was a very, very bad night.
McLaughlin, standing in for the injured Robbie Gould, kicked two clutch field goals in the fourth quarter – the second a 40-yarder with just 1:44 remaining – to get the 49ers a 24-24 tie with the Seahawks that sent the game to overtime.
But in overtime, McLaughlin badly missed a 47-yard attempt on San Francisco’s first possession that would have won the game and kept the Niners’ undefeated season intact.
McLaughlin was so off-the-mark, in fact, that the ball sailed far off the mark and bounced into the tunnel to the left of the goal posts, drawing groans and jeers from the fans at Levi’s Stadium.
After the Seahawks and 49ers exchanged punts on their next possessions, Seattle finally got the win with a 40-yard, seven play drive that ended with a 42-yard field goal for a 27-24 Seahawks victory.
San Francisco dropped to 8-1, with Seattle improving to 8-2 in the NFC West.
McLaughlin, an undrafted rookie from Illinois who was signed last week as insurance in case Gould couldn’t kick, was released earlier this season by the Chargers. His appearance in a 49ers uniform Monday night may have been his last. Gould is expected to be ready to kick again by this Sunday, when the 49ers play host to the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium.
"I don’t know exactly what happened," McLaughlin said after the game. "I’ll have a look at it on film, but I rushed it a little bit and hit it a little high. Unfortunately, I missed it."
McLaughlin wasn’t the only reason San Francisco lost its first game of the season. Wide receivers couldn’t hold on to passes, the offensive line allowed too much pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo, tight end George Kittle was out with an injury and the defense couldn’t shut down Russell Wilson on Seattle’s final drive in overtime.
But McLaughlin was certainly the most visible reason.
Gould, who has a strained quad muscle in his kicking leg, should be back on the field this coming Sunday.