With the San Francisco 49ers, 19-17, win over the Seattle Seahawks, the Niners held onto the sixth seed in the playoffs and delayed their division rivals from winning the NFC West. Defense prevailed for both sides, but the 49ers came out on top in a classic seesaw fight.
The consistent play by San Francisco’s defense kept the 49ers in the game as they limited QB Russell Wilson to just under 200 yards passing for one touchdown and one interception. Against the rush, the Niners D extend their streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher, with RB Marshawn Lynch gaining only 72 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries on the ground.
Colin Kaepernick was pressured all game by a constant pass rush from Seattle’s defense, he finished with just 175 passing yards and was sacked twice. However, Kaepernick came up big late in the second quarter on a nine-play, 72-yard drive that ended with an eight-yard TD toss to Vernon Davis as six seconds remained. VD’s TD gave the 49ers a 16-14 lead heading into halftime.
The touchdown drive included the best catch of the game, with Anquan Boldin pulling in a highlight worthy 27-yard one handed grab against CB Richard Sherman. The touchdown pass to Davis was the first for the Niners against Seattle in five quarters.
Frank Gore was the MVP of the game as he rushed for 110 yards on 17 carries. Previously, Gore had only gained a 120 total rushing yards in the last three games. His biggest contribution was a memorable 51-yard gallop in the fourth quarter. On first down at San Francisco’s 31-yard line, Gore escaped from Seattle’s defense on what would be the decisive play of the game. His 51-yard run gave the Niners a first-down at Seattle’s 18-yard line with just over four minutes left to play.
From there the 49ers were able to get the Seahawks to burn their three timeouts and reached the 2-yard line on the next six plays. With 31 seconds left in the fourth quarter, kicker Phil Dawson made his fourth field goal of the game that gave the 49ers the lead and ultimately the win over their division rivals. Dawson’s four field goals made extended his streak of 20 straight FGs made in a row.
Despite a sluggish offense for most of the game, the 49ers defense made sure the Seahawks offense did not make it a blowout by limiting their damage done to just three points, five first downs and 83 yards in the second half. NaVorro Bowman lead the way with nine tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. Ray McDonald chipped in with four tackles and a sack, while Eric Wright intercepted Wilson with 26 seconds left in the game to seal the win.
Seattle will end up winning the NFC West as they only need one win or a tie in their final three games to claim the crown from San Francisco. However, for the 49ers to win on Sunday and split the season series with the Seahawks, it showed the Niners are not ready to give up full control of the division just yet and they are still a potent team.