Seahawks scuttle 49ers

Posted Dec 23, 2012

On a rainy night at CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks used a deluge of big plays and time-consuming TD drives to slap the NFC West-leading 49ers with a 42-13 setback to clinch a playoff berth.

Look who’s going to the playoffs.

The Seahawks needed one victory in their final two regular-season games to make sure their 2012 season included a postseason. But logic said it would come in next week’s finale against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field.

Instead, the Seahawks slapped an illogical 42-13 loss on the NFC West-leading San Francisco 49ers on this Sunday night to push their record to 10-5 and secure the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoffs.

The lopsided victory also setup a situation where the Seahawks can win the NFC West with a victory over the St. Louis Rams next week and a 49ers loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

The Seahawks also upped their record at home to 7-0, and they’ve won 10 games for the first time since 2007 – which also was the last season they had a winning record.

Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson threw four touchdown passes; Marshawn Lynch ran for more than 100 yards for the third consecutive game and eighth time this season and a TD; and Richard Sherman returned a field goal that was blocked by Red Bryant 90 yards for another score.

The 49ers entered the game allowing a league-low average of 15.6 points, but the Seahawks scored 28 in the first half and the rout was on – a victory that avenged the Seahawks’ 13-6 loss to the 49ers in San Francisco in Week 7.

The 49ers got the ball first, as the Seahawks won the coin toss but deferred. After a three-and-out, a 16-yard punt return by Leon Washington and a 15-yard roughness penalty by the 49ers’ Tramaine Brock after the punt, the Seahawks had a first down at the 49ers’ 35. Two plays later, Lynch scored on a 24-yard run to the left side, with key blocks from center Max Unger, left tackle Russell Okung, tight end Zach Miller and wide receiver Doug Baldwin.

The Seahawks had to drive the long field on their next possession, and did, with Lynch scoring on a 9-yard pass from Wilson to cap a nine-play, 86-yard drive. Lynch carried five times for 17, while Wilson was 2 of 2 for 57 yards also ran for 3 yards on a third-and-1 play. The 49ers had the ball at the Seahawks’ 4 as the quarter ended.

But the Seahawks made it 21-0 on the third play of the quarter, when Bryant blocked David Akers’ 21-yard field attempt with his right hand and Sherman returned the block 90 yards up the sideline for the score.

The 49ers got their field goal when a Wilson pass went off the hands of rookie running back Robert Turbin and linebacker Patrick Willis intercepted the carom. Akers kicked a 33-yarder after the defense held.

The Seahawks came right back and drove 60 yards in a 13-play drive that consumed almost 8½ minutes to Wilson’s 6-yard TD pass to Anthony McCoy. Lynch carried six times for 23 yards, while Wilson was 3 of 3 for 21 yards.

But the 49ers then drove 31 yards in seven plays to a 54-yarder by Akers with 31 second left in the half.

Sherman not only scored on the 90-yard return with the blocked field goal, but prevented the 49ers from scoring a TD by batting away Colin Kaepernick’s third-and-goal pass to Michael Crabtree in the end zone.

On the blocked field goal, Heath Farwell helped clear a lane for Bryant, who used almost every inch of his fully extended 6-foot-4 frame to bat the ball. Sherman did the rest to score the third TD by the special teams this season.

Wilson was 8 of 9 for 98 yards in the first half, while Kaepernick was 8 of 19 for 85 yards.

The 49ers came out on their first possession of the seconds half and moved quickly to the Seahawks’ 32-yard line, but Leroy Hill forced a fumble after a reception by Mario Manningham and Kam Chancellor recovered. Russell Wilson then directed a 15-play, 68-yard drive that ended with his 4-yard TD pass to Doug Baldwin and consumed almost seven minutes. The Seahawks converted five third-down situations, including the TD pass, as Baldwin made a leaping grab in the end zone.

Wilson hit five passes for 47 yards and ran for 9 yards on the TD drive.

As for those third-down conversions, on third-and-2, Lynch ran for 10 yards; on third-and-1, Michael Robinson ran for the 1; on third-and-8, Wilson passed 17 yards to Jermaine Kearse; on third-and-6, Turbin made a nice grab of an 11-yard pass from Wilson; and then came the TD pass, on third-and-goal.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Richard Sherman intercepted a third-down pass from Kaepernick in the end zone. Wilson then directed a 12-play, 80-yard drive that ended with his 6-yard TD pass to Baldwin and consumed almost eight minutes. Marshawn Lynch carried eight times for 22 yards to go over 100 for the game and Robert Turbin had two carries for 28 yards.

The 49ers finally found the end zone with 1:40 left in the game on Kaepernick’s 18-yard TD pass to Delanie Walker on fourth-and-17. The TD capped a 13-play, 90-yard drive that was way too little and way too late.