GAME: #5 San Francisco (12-4, 2nd, NFC West) at #1 Seattle Seahawks (13-3, 1st, NFC West). TYPE. NFC Championship. WHEN: Sunday, 3:30 p.m., CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 31st (series tied 15-15). STREAKS: 49ers W 8; Seahawks W 2. HEAD COACHES: Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco; Pete Carroll, Seattle. LINE: Seahawks by 3½. TV: FOX. RADIO: ESPN 710 AM, KIRO 97.3 FM.
The San Francisco 49ers own the NFL’ s longest winning streak at eight games and can crow over the most victories and best defense in the league since Week 4. Plus, they have an offense that has hit its stride. But the Seahawks have dismantled the 49ers the last two times at CenturyLink, where Seattle is 16-1 since the Russell Wilson era began.But Wilson has been shaky the past five weeks, his completion percentage plummeting with each outing (hasn’t thrown multiple TDs in a game since a blowout of the Saints Dec. 2). Still, Wilson has his own defense to rely upon and, with Wilson making plays, Seattle has won at The Clink by an average score of 29-13 in his tenure.
As Sunday’s NFC Championship game approached, Pete Carroll attributed part of Wilson’s recent struggles to Seattle’s schedule down the stretch, during which Wilson struggled against the 49ers (lost 19-17), Cardinals (lost 17-10) and Rams (won 27-9).
“We’ve played some terrific teams,” Carroll said. “They’ve done a nice job on us, and we haven’t been able to take advantage of some of the opportunities that we’ve had. But when we take care of the football and we run the ball well and manage the game like we have been, that gives us a great chance to win. So I’m happy with what’s going on.
“We always want to do more. We’re always looking for more opportunities, more yardage. We’re not going to accept incompletions unless he’s (Wilson) throwing the ball away. I know there is a lot of talk about that. But I’m not that worried about it. Whatever comes, we’re ready for it.”
Perfectionist that he is, Wilson has a different take on the state of Seattle’s passing game heading into Sunday’s joust for the Super Bowl, although he is no less confident than Carroll.
“I think we need to get better,” Wilson said. “It’s one of those things that my confidence never waivers. Every time I step on the field, every time I place a call, I believe in it. That’s never going to change for me. I think the biggest thing is be more accurate on a couple throws I normally make. That’s what it comes down to. It’s nothing I need to search deep down for or go study a whole bunch for. It’s just put the ball on the money right where you need it to be. That’s what it comes down to, giving our guys a chance and letting them make plays and keep the chains moving.”
The Seahawks hoped to have WR Percy Harvin available to stretch the 49ers defense, but that’s not going to happen. Doctors ruled Harvin out on Friday, which means that for the Seahawks to improve their passing game they will need Marshawn Lynch to be successful running the ball against the toughest front seven in the NFL.
Lynch has averaged 103 rushing yards with four touchdowns during his career against the 49ers at CenturyLink Field. Meanwhile, Frank Gore of the 49ers has managed 44 yards with no touchdowns in his last two appearances in Seattle.
Since 2010, the Seahawks and 49ers have met eight times. The team that won the rushing battle is 8-0. It’s not likely to be different Sunday.
“We’ve evolved to be the two of the best teams in our division and now two of the best teams in the league,” WR Golden Tate said. “So naturally, it’s going to be a very intense game. We’re thankful that we get another opportunity to win this series. For one that really, really matters the most to go onto the Super Bowl. I’m excited. It’s going to be fun, but San Francisco is a great team with a great coaching staff and has some really good players. So it’s going to be fun.”
SERIES: Dates to Sept. 26, 1976, when the 49ers won 37-21 in the Kingdome. Jim Plunkett threw three touchdowns, two to Gene Washington, for the 49ers. Hugh McKinnis scored on two short runs for the Seattle. The Seahawks have won two of the past three in the series, but San Francisco won the last won, Dec. 8 at Candlestick Park, 19-17, as Phil Dawson kicked a 22-yard field goal in the final two minutes.
Seahawks: Scored 417 points (26.1 per game), ranking 8th; allowed 231 points (14.4 per game),1st; differential of +186 points ranks 2nd. 49ers: Scored 406 points (25.4), ranked 11th; allowed 272 (17.0), 3rd; differential of +134 points ranks 3rd.
SEAHAWKS HEAD COACH: Pete Carroll (71-57 career, 38-26 Seattle) is in his fourth season. In 2010, he directed Seattle to the NFC West title, the Seahawks becoming the first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing (7-9) record. Prior to joining the Seahawks, Carroll served as head coach at Southern California, where his Trojans won seven Pac-10 titles.
SEAHAWKS QUARTERBACKS: During the regular season, Russell Wilson completed 257 of 407 passes for 3,357 yards, 26 TDs and 9 interceptions for a passer rating of 101.2. In Seattle’s playoff win over New Orleans, he was 9 of 18 for 103 yards, no TDs and no INTs. His game-by-game lines:
- At Carolina, 25 of 33, 320 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 115.7 rating.
- Vs. San Francisco, 8 of 19, 142 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 63.9 rating.
- Vs. Jacksonville, 14 of 21, 202 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 117.5 rating.
- At Houston, 12 of 23, 123 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 48.7 rating.
- At Indianapolis, 15 of 31, 210 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 78.7 rating.
- Vs. Tennessee, 23 of 31, 257 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 98.5 rating.
- At Arizona, 18 of 28, 235 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 122.1 rating.
- At St. Louis, 10 of 18, 139 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 117.6 rating;
- Vs. Tampa Bay, 19 of 26, 217 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 91.3 rating.
- At Atlanta, 19 of 26 for 287 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 134.6 rating
- Vs. Minnesota, 13 of 18, 230 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 151.4 rating.
- Vs. New Orleans, 22 of 30 for 310 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 139.6 rating.
- At San Francisco, 15 of 25, 199 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 81.9 rating.
- At NY Giants, 18 of 27 for 206 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 83.6 rating.
- Vs. Arizona, 11 of 27, 108 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 49.6 rating.
- Vs. St. Louis, 15 of 23, 172 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 102.1 rating.
- Vs. New Orleans, 9 of 18, 103 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 67.6 rating.
Tarvaris Jackson vs. Jacksonville, 7 of 8, 129 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 158.3 rating; at Indianapolis, no statistics; vs. Minnesota, 1 of 3, 6 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 42.4 rating; at NY Giants, 2 of 2, 16 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 100.0 rating.
SEAHAWKS STATS / NOTES
- REGULAR SEASON SUMMARY: Record: 13-3-0. Home: 7-1. Road: 6-2. Vs. NFC: 10-2. Vs. AFC: 3-1. Vs. NFC East: 1-0. Vs. NFC North: 1-0. Vs. NFC South: 4-0. Vs. NFC West: 3-3. Points For: 417 (26.1). Points Against: 231 (14.4).
- 2013 NFL RANKS: Scoring Offense — 26.1 (T8); Total Offense — 339.0 (17th); Rushing Offense — 136.8 (4th); Passing Offense — 202.3 (26th); Scoring Defense — 14.4 (1st); Total Defense — 273.6 (1st); Rushing Defense — 101.6 (T7); Passing Defense — 172.0 (1st); Turnover Differential — +20 (1st).
- Eighth time in 11 seasons that Seattle has qualified for the postseason. Seahawks are 10-12 all-time in the playoffs.
- Won 21 of the past 25.
- Point differential of +186 (regular season) ranks second in the NFL, first in NFC.
- 29-11 since the final half of the 2011 season. In those 11 losses, the average margin of victory for opponents has been 4.5 points.
- 66-30 at home since 2002. Only Green Bay (65-29-1) has a comparable home record during that span.
- Seattle’s defense ranks No. 1 in passing yards allowed and No. 1 in interceptions, a feat that has been accomplished just twice since the 1970 merger with both previous teams reaching the Super Bowl, Miami in 1982 (lost) and Tampa Bay in 2002 (won).
- 77 pass plays of 16 or more yards during regular season and 49 running plays of 12 or more. With 126 explosive plays, the Seahawks ranked No. 6 in the NFL behind Philadelphia’s 165, Detroit’s 146, Denver’s 134, Green Bay’s 129 and New Orleans’ 128.
- Seahawks led the NFL in fewest explosive plays allowed, 82.
- +20 in turnover differential (37 takeaways, 19 giveaways) ranked first in the NFL.
- Russell Wilson has the second-highest passer rating (107.1) in the NFL since Week 9 of the 2012 season.
- Wilson had 14 consecutive wins at home before the loss to Arizona. The NFL record for most home wins to start a career is 16 by Danny White of Dallas in 1980-81. Kurt Warner (1999-01) had 15. Also on the list: Marc Bulger (14, 2002-04), Doug Flutie (10, 1988-98), Philip Rivers (9, 2006-07).
- Over his past 24 regular-season starts, Wilson is 20-4. He has exceeded a 100 passer rating 15 times.
- Wilson has nine fourth-quarter comebacks, the most recent against Tampa Bay Nov. 3.
- Wilson has 24 wins in his first two seasons, the top mark in NFL history by a player over that span.
- Wilson’s record as a starting quarterback is 24-8, a winning percentage of .750. Among quarterbacks with a minimum of 15 starts, only Tom Brady has a better mark, .772 (146-43).
- Only three second-year quarterbacks since 1970 have a passer rating above 100.0: Kurt Warner (1999), 109.2; Dan Marino (1984), 108.9; and Wilson (101.2).
- Wilson tossed 52 touchdowns in his first two seasons, tied with Peyton Manning for second most in NFL history. Dan Marino had 68.
- Marshawn Lynch leads the NFL with 20 100-yard game games since 2011 and has rushed for 100 or more in 20 of his last 41. The 19 100-yard games rank first in the NFL over that span; Adrian Peterson 18.
- Since Week 9 of 2012, Lynch has rushed for 3,788 yards and 32 touchdowns, both totals leading the NFL (Adrian Peterson 3,538 yards, 25 TDs).
- Lynch scored 14 TDs in 2013, 12 rush, two receive.
- Lynch rushed for 140 yards in the 23-15 win over the Saints, setting a Seahawks single-game postseason record. Lynch owns three of the top four rushing totals in Seattle playoff history: 140 yards vs. New Orleans Jan. 11, 2014; 132 yards at Washington Jan. 6, 2013; 131 yards vs. New Orleans Jan. 8, 2011.
- Seattle limited opposing quarterbacks to a 63.4 passer rating during the regular season, lowest in the NFL.
- Richard Sherman has picked off 20 passes since 2011, most in the NFL. His eight picks this year led the NFL. Sherman has also defensed 60 passes since 2011, most in the NFL.
SEAHAWKS 2013 OFFENSIVE LEADERS
SEAHAWKS 2013 DEFENSIVE LEADERS
|Tackles||Wagner 119, Thomas 100, Chancellor 93|
|Sacks||Bennett 8.5, Avril 8.0, McDonald 5.5|
|Quarterback Hits||Bennett 25, Averill 14, McDonald 13|
|Interceptions||Sherman 8, Thomas 5, Maxwell 4|
|Passes Defensed||Sherman 19, Maxwell 12, Browner 10|
|Forced Fumbles||Avril 5, Thomas 2|
|Fumbles Recovered||Chancellor, Mebane, McDaniel, Wright 1|
49ERS NOTES: Defeated Green Bay (34-28), St. Louis (35-11 and 23-13), Houston (34-3), Arizona (32-20 and 23-20), Tennessee (31-17), Jacksonville (42-10), Washington (27-6), Seattle (19-17), Tampa Bay (33-14) and Atlanta (34-24), and lost to Seattle (29-3), Indianapolis (27-7), Carolina (10-9) and New Orleans (23-20) . . . The 49ers defeated Green Bay 23-20 in the wild card round and Carolina 23-10 in the divisional round . . . San Francisco ranks 11th in scoring offense (25.4), 24th in total offense (323.8), third in rushing offense (137.6), 30th in passing offense (186.2), third in scoring defense (17.0), fifth in total defense (316.9), fourth in rushing defense (95.9), seventh in pass defense (221.0) and T4 in turnover differential (+12) . . . Frank Gore led the 49ers in rushing with 1,128 yards and nine TDs . . . Anquan Boldin led the 49ers in receiving with 1,179 yards and seven TDs. Vernon Davis had 52 catches for 850 yards and 13 TDs.
49ERS QUARTERBACKS: Colin Kaepernick completed 243 of 416 passes for 3,197 yards, 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions for a passer rating of 91.6. In two games against the Seahawks, he completed 28 of 57 for 302 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions for a rating of 41.7.
2013-14 KEY DATES: Jan. 19, 2014 — AFC and NFC championship games; Jan. 26, 2014 — AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, Honolulu; Feb. 2, 2014 — Super Bowl XLVIII, MetLife Stadium, New York; Feb. 18-25, 2012 — Scouting combine, Indianapolis; March 11, 2014 — Free agency begins; May 8-10, 2014 — NFL draft.
NFC West Standings
|Seattle||13-3-0||3-3-0||Sat, vs. New Orleans|
|S. Francisco||12-4-0||5-1-0||Sun, at Carolina|
|St. Louis||7-9-0||1-5-0||Season Complete|
2013 Seahawks Preseason Schedule
|8/8/13||at San Diego||7 p.m.||NFLN||W||31-10||1-0|
|8/17/13||vs. Denver||7 p.m.||NFLN||W||40-10||2-0|
|8/23/13||at Green Bay||5 p.m.||CBS||W||17-10||3-0|
|8/29/13||vs. Oakland||7 p.m.||Fox||W||22-6||4-0|
2013 Seahawks Regular-Season Schedule
|9/8/13||at Carolina||10 a.m.||FOX||W||12-7||1-0|
|9/15/13||vs. SF||5:30 p.m.||NBC||W||29-3||2-0|
|9/22/13||vs. JAX||1:25 p.m.||CBS||W||45-17||3-0|
|9/29/13||at Texans||10 a.m.||FOX||W||23-20||4-0|
|10/6/13||at Indy||10 a.m.||FOX||L||34-28||4-1|
|10/13/13||vs. Tenn||1:05 p.m.||CBS||W||20-13||5-1|
|10/17/13||at Arizona||5:25 p.m.||NFLN||W||34-22||6-1|
|10/28/12||at StL||5:40 p.m.||ESPN||W||14-9||7-1|
|11/3/13||vs. Tampa||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||27-24||8-1|
|11/10/13||at Atlanta||10 a.m.||FOX||W||33-10||9-1|
|11/17/13||vs. Minn||1:25 p.m.||FOX||W||41-20||10-1|
|12/2/13||VS. NO||5:40 p.m.||ESPN||W||34-7||11-1|
|12/8/12||at SF||1:25 p.m.||FOX||L||19-17||11-2|
|12/15/13||at NYG||10 a.m.||FOX||W||23-0||12-2|
|12/22/13||vs. Ariz||1:05 p.m.||FOX||L||17-10||12-3|
|12/29/13||vs. STL||1:25 p.m.||FOX||W||27-9||13-3|
|1/4/14||vs. NO||1:35 p.m.||FOX||W||23-15||14-3|