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Seahawks QB Geno Smith denies bruised elbow factored into offensive struggles in loss to 49ers

Geno Smith dismissed his banged-up elbow as the reason the Seattle Seahawks offense struggled in Thursday night's 31-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

"No, not at all," Smith said after the game, via the team's official website. "It was good enough to play, so wasn't thinking about it."

Head coach Pete Carroll concurred: "Had nothing to do with it. I think he was fine."

So if the elbow Smith injured in Week 11's loss to L.A. wasn't the cause of an inefficient offense that generated one first down on its first five possessions, failing to get moving until down big in the second half, what was the cause?

Smith missed a few throws early, couldn't keep DK Metcalf in bounds on a deep shot, telegraphed an interception, and was swarmed by the San Francisco defensive line repeatedly, taking six sacks on the night. With the ground game stymied sans Kenneth Walker and the offensive line struggling, the Niners' defense was conducting team meetings in Smith's lap.

"I still believe in the guys that we have," Smith said. "Still believe in our coaches. Still believe in the players. I think it's been a tough stretch for us, but I believe things will turn around. What we have to do is continue to work hard, if not work harder. There is no excuse for it. There are no words that I can say that will make it better. What needs to be done is we need to work harder. We need to find a way. We got a lot of talent. We got a lot of good players on this offense. We got the right coaches. So we got to believe, continue to stay consistent in our work, and then we just got to work harder and find a way."

Seattle's offense has gone 20 drives without a touchdown, dating back to the first quarter of Week 11, the longest active streak in the NFL.

The scoring slumber thrust criticism toward offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, but Smith rejected questions about the play-caller following another dismal performance.

"I feel like Shane always does a great job, and I've got his back 110 percent," Smith said. "He knows that. I feel like it comes down to us executing better as players. No matter what the play is called, it comes down to the players making it come to life. So Shane's called some great games for us, and he's going to continue to do that. I just think overall we've got to stay confident, we've got to keep believing in what we're doing, keep believing and trusting our process, and Shane's going to continue to call great plays, and we've just got to execute for him."

The Seahawks lost their fourth straight to San Francisco, getting outscored 120-56 in that stretch.

Thursday's loss pushed the Seahawks to 6-5, jeopardizing their playoff positioning amid a difficult stretch. Seattle faces Dallas in Week 13, followed by a rematch with San Francisco and a visit from the Philadelphia Eagles.

"We've got another chance to go against these guys in a few of weeks and I think everyone's got to take that personal," Smith said. "I know I am. We all got to take it personal. We can't keep coming out here and letting them beat us like that."

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