So naturally they turned to running back Frank Gore, who has made
a habit of coming up big against the Seahawks.
On first-and-10 from the 49ers' 31, Gore bolted off left tackle, cut
back against the grain and raced 51 yards to the Seahawks' 18.
Seven plays later, Phil Dawson kicked his fourth field of the game,
a 22-yarder with 26 seconds left, lifting the 49ers to a 19-17
"I kind of knew that (safety Earl Thomas), he's so fast going to the
ball, I kind of knew he was going to overrun it," said Gore, who
rushed for 110 yards on 17 carries. "So I kind of set him up
outside. Because he's so aggressive."
The 49ers (9-4) took another huge step in their playoff push,
snapped their two-game losing streak to the Seahawks (11-2) and
prevented Seattle from clinching the NFC West at Candlestick Park.
Gore has rushed for 1,364 yards against Seattle, his most against
any opponent in his career. He set a 49ers' single-game rushing
record with 212 yards against the Seahawks on Nov. 19, 2006, but his
51-yard run Sunday was arguably his most important against Seattle.
The Seahawks still own a two-game lead in the NFC West with three to
play, but the 49ers remained in the lead for the NFC's second
wild-card spot. What's more, the 49ers gained some confidence
against a Seattle team they could well see again in the postseason
at CenturyLink Field, where they've lost the past two games by a
combined score of 71-16.
"If we keep doing our thing and they keep doing their thing, no
question," Gore said. "They're a great team, and we're a great team.
"We play well on the road. How we go about it in the season, we go
by quarters. It's the fourth quarter now. We want to be that team
going to get to that next level, trying to get that (Lombardi)
trophy. You got to take the north direction. This is a big win.
We're taking small steps. We still got a lot to learn. But that 's a
good thing. We beat a good team like Seattle and we're still not
playing our best ball. That's great."
The 49ers marched 76 yards in 11 plays for Dawson's 22-yard
game-winner. After Gore's big run, quarterback Colin Kaepernick
swept left end for 8 yards on third-and-7 from the 15, giving the
49ers first-and-goal from the 7 with 2:39 left to play. Four plays
later, Dawson connected.
"We didn't project it to be this way," Seahawks cornerback Richard
Sherman said. "We expected to blow them out ,but they got the
benefit of a few calls throughout the game and that helps you,
especially on third down. We will see them again, and it will be a
Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch carried 20 times for 72 yards,
giving him 1,042 yards for the season. This marks Lynch's third
straight 1,000-yard rushing season and the fifth of his career.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson completed 15 of 25 passes for
199 yards and one TD with one interception.
Kaepernick completed 15 of 29 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown
with one interception, and 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin caught
six passes for 93 yards as San Francisco won its third straight
[to top of second column]
"We're playing playoff football," Boldin said. "It's either
win or go home. That's how we feel. We're getting hot at the
right time. That's what you want. You want to play your best
football in December and January. We feel like we're hitting our
As expected the game turned into a physical struggle featuring
two NFL defensive heavyweights.
After building a 16-14 halftime lead, the 49ers marched deep
into Seahawks' territory late in the third quarter and appeared
ready to extend their advantage. But on first-and-10 from the
20, Kaepernick underthrew wide receiver Michael Crabtree on a
fade route along the left sideline, and Seahawks cornerback
Byron Maxwell intercepted at the 1, then returned 2 yards to the
The Seahawks took a 17-16 lead on Steven Hauschka's 31-yard
field goal with 6:20 left to play. Seattle wide receiver Golden
Tate set up Hauschka's field goal with a 38-yard punt return to
49ers' 27. The Seahawks stalled at the 13, and Hauschka gave
them a one-point lead.
But the 49ers responded with their game-winning drive, and the
Seahawks left Candlestick still needing to do more to dethrone
the 49ers in the West.
"We've got three huge games coming up," Seahawks coach Pete
Carroll said. "Our season wasn't going to end today one way or
The 49ers built a two-point halftime lead, using Dawson field
goals from 23, 48, 52 yards and Kaepernick's 8-yard touchdown
pass to tight end Vernon Davis with six seconds remaining.
The Seahawks scored on Lynch's 11-yard touchdown run and
Wilson's 39-yard TD pass to rookie tight end Luke Willson, both
in the second quarter.
In the end, the 49ers made what linebacker NaVorro Bowman called
a "statement to world" with their victory over Seattle.
"This is still our division until someone takes it from us,"
NOTES: Starting LG Mike Iupati (knee) missed his third straight
game for the 49ers. Adam Snyder started in his place. ... WR
Percy Harvin (hip) and CB Brandon Browner (groin) were among the
inactives for Seattle. ... CB Tarell Brown (ribs) was inactive
for the third straight game. ... Seahawks LB K.J. Wright left
the game in the second quarter with a broken foot that will
sideline him for six weeks, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ...
Niners nickel CB Eric Wright was injured late in the third
quarter, taking a knee to the head, and left the game, but he
returned and intercepted QB Russell Wilson's final pass. ...
Seahawks C Max Unger left the game with a chest injury in the
third quarter and did not return. ... Seahawks S Jeron Johnson
injured a hamstring.
[© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2013 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.