Turning point of the Game: The Seahawks seemed well on their way to building on their 7-point halftime lead with their first possession of the third quarter, driving to the San Francisco 25. But on a Matt Hasselbeck pass intended for Billy McMullen, the ball was batted high in the air and intercepted by linebacker Patrick Willis on the Seahawks 14. Incredibly, he swerved in and out of the Seahawks offense virtually untouched for 86 yards as he crossed the goal line to tie the score at 20-20 just less than three minutes into the second half. Just 2:36 later, they scored again on a 2-yard run by Frank Gore, set up by a Walt Harris interception.
Offensive Player of the Game: Julius Jones carried the ball 26 times for 127 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown run* *
Defensive Player of the Game: Patrick Kerney led the Seahawks with six tackles, including two sacks on the same San Francisco drive in the fourth quarter – plus two more quarterback hurries.
Special Teams Player of the Game: Olindo Mare converted field goals of 51, 38 and 32 yards, plus three extra points for the Seahawks.
The look on Mike Holmgren's face told the story. Disbelief wouldn't be accurate, nor would disgust. Essentially, it comes down to coming to grips with a struggle to jumpstart the Seattle Seahawks despite the seemingly unending run of injuries that have crippled the passing game.
Sunday afternoon, two more receivers went down and are out indefinitely, consequently the passing game itself was thwarted by two interceptions and a fumble after a catch by Billy McMullen, a free agent receiver signed this week. The consequence was a 33-30 overtime loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
The loss dropped the Seahawks to 0-2 for the first time since 2002, with the winless St. Louis Rams coming to town this week. Seneca Wallace, who worked out at wide receiver all week, went down with a strained calf muscle in warmups, and starting split end Logan Payne went down on the second offense series with a torn ligament in his right knee.
That left starting flanker Courtney Taylor, Michael Bumpus signed off the practice squad, and Billy McMullen – signed this week after not playing in the NFL since 2006 – as their receivers.
"We've lost a lot of guys there, which is very unusual," Holmgren said. "We have to sign a couple more guys, first of all. We have to continue to get better in the running game, we have to be very resourceful and we can't turn the ball over.
"Look, we just have to regroup. We can't feel sorry for ourselves, fix the things we can fix, hopefully, and get ready for the Rams next week."
Still, the Seahawks had a 17-6 lead in the second quarter and were ahead 20-13 in the third quarter when they were driving for another score at the 49ers 25. This is when the face of the game changed. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's pass to McMullen was tipped, Patrick Willis picked it off and raced 86 yards for a touchdown. Two minutes later, Walt Harris intercepted another tipped pass. And that set up a second touchdown that transformed the seven-point lead into a 27-20 deficit over the span of less than three minutes.
Undaunted, the Seahawks running game, led by the 127 yards rushing from Julius Jones battled back to regain a 30-27 lead midway through the fourth quarter, before the 49ers tied it with 2:42 left on a 28-yard Joe Nedney field goal.
Nedney then missed a 41-yard attempt as regulation time ran out. The Niners won the coin toss in OT and in the opening drive gave Nedney a second chance to boot, this time, the 40-yard game-winner – quieting the previously raucous Qwest Field crowd of 67,951.
The Seahawks completed the drive that began in the third quarter, just the way they started it – on the ground. Following up a couple of drives that ended with interceptions, the Hawks grounded out a 15-play, 74-yard drive, topped off by a 1-yard plunge by T.J. Duckett. Olindo Mare's extra point tied the score at 27 just 40 seconds into the fourth quarter.
After the Seahawk defense held the Niners three and out, the Hawks once again grounded out a scoring drive, with Matt Hasselbeck completing passes of 11 yards to John Carlson and 14 yard to Billy McMullen to offset the spinning, slashing runs of Julius Jones. A couple of incomplete passes from the 13-yard line after a 4-yard Jones scoot ended the drive, however, and Mare's third field goal of the game – this one from 32 yards out – helped the Seahawks regain the lead, 30-27, with 7:45 left in the game.
The Niners weren't through, following up with a 12-play drive of their own that never crossed the 10-yard line. Patrick Kerney had two sacks and rookie Lawrence Jackson added a third on the drive that included yet another major pass play to Isaac Bruce, this one 30 yards and another penalty in the secondary that gave the 49ers a first down at the 10. The result of the 58-yard drive though was a 28-yard Joe Nedney field goal that tied the game at 30 with 2:42 left.
The Seahawks couldn't move the ball, and the 49ers got it back with 1:09 left on the Seattle 49, and drove to the Seahawks 23, allowing the clock to run down. But Nedney's 41-yard field goal hooked right, forcing the overtime.
The Seahawks seemed well on their way to building on their 7-point halftime lead, as Julius Jones and Leonard Weaver were grinding out tough yardage, while Matt Hasselbeck and rookie tight end John Carlson continued to make tough yards as the. Hawks drove from their own 42 to the San Francisco 25.
On a pass intended for Billy McMullen, the ball was batted high in the air and intercepted by linebacker Patrick Willis on the Seahawks 14. Incredibly, he swerved in and out of the Seahawks offense virtually untouched for 86 yards as he crossed the goal line to tie the score at 20-20 just less than three minutes into the second half.
The Seahawks got the ball back in decent field position, though, at their own 38 following a solid Josh Wilson kick return. But on a third-and-10, Ray McDonald deflected Hasselbeck's pass at the line of scrimmage and cornerback Walt Harris made a diving interception at the Seattle 42. J.T. Sullivan went right back to work, hitting Bryant Johnson for passes of 19 and 13 yards to the Seattle 9. Two plays later, Frank Gore bounced outside from in between the tackles for the 2-yard touchdown. Suddenly, the 49ers had a 27-20 lead midway through the third quarter.
That was the score at the end of the quarter, but it ended as the Seahawks had driven from their own 38 to the San Francisco 5, dominated by the running of Jones again, with some help from Leonard Weaver, as Jones became the first Seahawk of the season to surpass 100 yards rushing.
Seahawks Insider at the Half
Halftime at a glance: The Seahawks led 20-13, but the statistics were amazingly close, with Seattle holding a 193-188 edge in yardage. Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was 7-of-16 for 101 yards, while J.T. O'Sullivan was 11-of-17 for 175 yards a touchdown. Hasselbeck lost yet another wide receiver when Logan Payne went down with a knee injury on the second series of the game, while quarterback Seneca Wallace – also expected to play wide out – did not dress with a calf injury. Rookie tight end John Carlson did have three receptions for 50 yards.
The key to the Seahawks offense was running back Julius Jones in his first start with 72 yards on 12 carries, including a 27-yard touchdown run.
Play of the half: San Francisco linebacker Manny Lawson came through clean on Jon Ryan's second punt, smothering it. But ubiquitous Seahahwks defensive back Jordan Babineaux scooped up the ball on the Seattle 30 and ran 24 yards with it to the San Francisco 46 for the first down.
Turning point of the half: Rocky Bernard forced Frank Gore to fumble and it was picked up by Seahawks corner back Marcus Trufant. But Trufant fumbled at the 10, it was bobbled around and defensive tackle Craig Terrill grabbed it. He then rumbled 9 yards for the touchdown to make it 14-0 just less than four minutes into the game.
The 49ers again drove inside the Seahawks 10, this time all the way to the 3-yard line before the defense – led by Bobby Wagner, Patrick Kerney, Leroy Hill and ultimately Rocky Bernard pushed the Niners all the way back to the 10. the Joe Nedney 28-yard field goal made it 14-6 Seahawks with 7:22 left. J.T. O'Sullivan hit passes of 25 yards to Bryant Johnson and 27 to Isaac Bruce.
The Seahawks moved right back into their territory on a 54-yard kickoff return from Josh Wilson and Matt Hasselbeck immediately hit newly signed receiver Billy McMullen streaking up the right sideline and got inside the 15-yard line before Nate Clements popped the ball out of his hands and safety Michael Lewis recovered for the 49ers on the San Francisco 9-yard line.
The good news is the defense held and Hasselbeck got the ball back on the Seahawk 48. Julius Jones continued to eat up good yardage rushing the ball, taking it to the San Francisco 40. Fullback Leonard Weaver ran 7 yards on third down, one break way from a first down, but that left the 3 yards shy of the first down. Olindo Mare came on, and boomed the 51-yard field goal through the uprights to give the Seahawks a 17-6 lead with 2:49 left.
O'Sullivan and Bruce connected again, this time passing by Marcus Trufant and Deon Grant for 63 yards to the Seahawks 9. On first down, an illegal formation pushed it back to the 14-yard line. The Seahawks appeared to have a turnover when Grant intercepted O'Sullivan in the end zone, but the officials ruled Kelly Jennings with an interference penalty. That put the ball on the 3, and O'Sullivan hit Johnson with a 3-yard touchdown pass moments later to complete the 4-play, 80-yard drive. Suddenly, the margin had shrunk to 17-13 Seahawks, with 1:42 left in the half.
Some tough runs and another clutch pass to Carlson set up Mare with a 38-yard field goal to end the half 20-13.
The Niners nearly pinned the Seahawks back on their own 1-yard line Andy Lee's first punt, but as the ball dropped at the 2 and kicked forward, two different players failed to control the ball and it went into the end zone for a touchback.
The Seahawks special teams seem to take another hit when Manny Lawson came through clean on Jon Ryan's second punt, smothering it. But ubiquitous Seahahwks defensive back Jordan Babineaux scooped up the ball on the Seattle 30 and ran 24 yards with it to the San Francisco 46 for the first down.
Four plays later, Jones burst around left tackle on a draw play, streaking 27 yards for the touchdown. It was set up on a big 17-collaboration between Hasselbeck and rookie tight end John Carlson on third-and-8 from the San Francisco 44. Jones went the distance on the next play to give the Seahawks a 7-0 lead with 9:12 left in the first quarter.
As if that wasn't a bizarre enough way to extend a touchdown drive, the defense scored the Seahawks next touchdown. Rocky Bernard forced Frank Gore to fumble and it was picked up by Seahawks corner back Marcus Trufant. But Trufant fumbled at the 10, it was bobbled around and defensive tackle Craig Terrill grabbed it. He then rumbled 9 yards for the touchdown to make it 14-0 just less than four minutes into the game.
Matt Hasselbeck, who was 18-of-36 for 189 yards and was intercepted twice, on losing to the Niners at home compounded by the injuries to Seneca Wallace and Logan Payne:
"I saw it in pregame (to Seneca). I saw it happen. That's a really tough deal. He figured in huge in the game plan today. You know, he and Logan both. It is really amazing what's happening right now.
"We expect to win at home, so I don't know what to say. I'm a little surprised, a little stunned and upset. I think we'll feel that way all day today, and probably until we watch the film tomorrow. Take Tuesday to try and transition, and Wednesday it's time to get ready to play another game."
On the ensuing drive, the Niners got a 44-yard kickoff return from Allen Rossum to the Seahawks 49. O'Sullivan completed a couple of passes, but it was four runs from Gore that moved the ball inside the Seahawks 10. Ultimately, the Seahawks defense held, though, and the Niners settled for a 26-yard Joe Nedney field goal with 2:39 left in the quarter. And that's the way the quarter ended, with the Seahawks leading 14-3.
This and that
The Seahawks lost wide receiver Seneca Wallace before the game with a calf injury, then lost Logan Payne with a knee injury on the second offensive series of the game. … Inactive for the Seahawks were Brandon Coutu, Maurice Morris, Sean Locklear, Red Bryant, Deion Branch, Doug Baldwin and Baraka Atkins – with Charlie Frye the third quarterback. … Retired Seahawks guard Chris Gray raised the 12th Man Flag before the game. … Cornerback Marcus Trufant (right hand) and Lofa Tatupu (right thumb) had small protective covers on their hands. … The 49ers won the coin toss, but deferred to the Seahawks to receive the opening kickoff, and the 49ers chose to receive at the start of the second half instead.