The coronation of the Seahawks as NFC West champions has to wait at least a week. Frank Gore’s out-of-nowhere, 51-yard run with four minutes to play set up Phil Dawson for his fourth field goal, a 22-yarder, that handed Seattle its second loss of the season, 19-17, to the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park Sunday.
The Seahawks (11-2) saw their seven-game win streak snapped in their fourth consecutive loss at Candlestick Park. The Seahawks had an opportunity to wrap up their first division title since 2010, but Gore’s big sprint, off left guard, to the Seattle 18-yard line with four minutes left, proved the killer. Dawson drilled a 22-yarder seven plays later for the winning points.
The 49ers, unbeaten at Candlestick against the NFC West since losing to Seattle Oct. 26, 2008, led 6-0 after the first quarter, had a 16-14 edge at halftime and fell behind 17-16 in the third quarter. They rallied for their first win over the Seahawks after two consecutive blowout losses at CenturyLink Field.
San Francisco controlled the clock for much of the second half, managing to keep control of the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoff hunt.
The Seahawks couldn’t do much offensively against the NFL’s third-ranked defense, gaining 264 yards to San Francisco’s 318. Russell Wilson completed 15 of 25 for 199 yards and a touchdown, but his interception on Seattle’s final play, when WR Jermaine Kearse fell down on the 70-yard Hail Mary, dropped his passer rating for the game to 81.9.
Marshawn Lynch, who tallied his 10th rushing touchdown in the first half, had 50 yards through the first two quarters but finished with just 72. As a measure of how well the 49ers blanketed Seattle receivers, rookie tight end Luke Willson led Seattle in receiving with 70 yards, including his first NFL touchdown.
The Seahawks contained San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick, who threw for 175 yards, one touchdown and one pick, but Gore ran for 110 yards and WR Anquan Boldin had six catches for 93 yards. In Boldin’s first meeting with the Seahawks in September, he had one catch for seven yards.
Dawson got the 49ers on the board at 5:04 of the first quarter with a 23-yard field goal that capped a 10-play, 56-yard drive. The highlight was an outstanding, 17-yard sideline catch by Michael Crabtree and a scramble by Kaepernick, which would have resulted in a touchdown if Bobby Wagner hadn’t made a score-saving tackle.
Dawson made it 6-0 near the end of the first quarter with a 48-yard field goal following San Francisco’s block of a Jon Ryan punt. The snafu set up the 49ers on the Seattle 34-yard line.
Lynch scored on Seattle’s first series of the second quarter after Wilson threw 31 yards to tight end Willson and 24 yards to Golden Tate. On Lynch’s run, Wilson successfully suckered the 49ers with a play fake, leaving a huge running lane open for Lynch.
Dawson gave the 49ers a 9-7 lead with a 52-yard field goal, but the Seahawks were fortunate that San Francisco didn’t come away with a touchdown. Following a Kaepernick 20-yard completion to Boldin, Kaepernick threw a ball to Crabtree along the sideline that should have resulted in a first down at the Seattle five-yard line. But Byron Maxwell got away with pass interference, setting up Dawson’s third field goal.
Wilson came back with a 39-yard touchdown pass to Willson to give the Seahawks a 14-9 lead. Lynch’s five-yard run, Wilson’s eight-yard completion to Doug Baldwin and Robert Turbin’s eight-yard run highlighted the seven-play, 72-yard drive. The TD catch by Willson was a career first and his longest.
The 49ers scored with six seconds left in the half when Kaepernick threw an eight-yard TD to TE Vernon Davis. Kaepernick’s 27-yard completion to Boldin to the Seattle 20-yard line set up the score.
After a scoreless third period, the Seahawks took a 17-16 lead with 6:27 left when Steven Hauschka nailed a 31-yard field goal. The score was set up by a 52-yard punt return by Golden Tate to the Niners 27, but were denied the touchdown.
Gore’s 51-yard run to the Seahawks 18 set up Dawson’s field goal. Out of timeouts with 26 seconds left, the Seahawks went deep with the first play but were picked off.
NOTES: Seahawks LB K.J. Wright broke a bone in his left foot in the first half and will be lost for six weeks. C Max Unger left in the second half with a pectoral strain. Backup S Jeron Johnson had another hamstring strained, this one the other leg that had been healthy.
NEXT: The Seahawks play their final road game of the season Sunday at Met Life Stadium against the New York Giants, site of the Super Bowl Feb. 2. Seattle will return to CenturyLink Field Dec. 22 to face the Arizona Cardinals, who defeated the St. Louis Rams 30-10 Sunday.