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Seahawks’ offense sputters in loss to 49ers

Frank Gore rushed for 131 yards to help the San Francisco 49ers defeat the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday. (Associated Press)
Frank Gore rushed for 131 yards to help the San Francisco 49ers defeat the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday. (Associated Press)
Seattle Times
SAN FRANCISCO - If Thursday’s game was a test against the defending NFC West champion, the Seattle Seahawks did not pass. At least not very well. Quarterback Russell Wilson completed three passes in the second half for a total of 19 yards as Seattle lost 13-6 to San Francisco at Candlestick Park, the 49ers scoring the only 10 points in the second half. The Seahawks didn’t get blown out, but what happened was almost worse than that. Seattle got run over. The 49ers rushed for 173 yards against Seattle, and the 49ers’ Frank Gore became the first running back in nearly a year to gain more than 100 yards on the ground against the Seahawks. San Francisco tight end Delanie Walker scored on a 12-yard pass from Alex Smith in the third quarter to give the 49ers a 10-6 lead, and kicker David Akers added a 28-yard field goal with 5:24 left in the game to make it 13-6. Seattle never advanced beyond its 31 on its final possession before punting the ball away with 2:17 left in the game. The Seahawks forced a three-and-out from the 49ers and got the ball back at their own 11-yard line with 1:36 on the clock and no timeouts. After a short completion to receiver Sidney Rice, the Seahawks actually moved backward with a sack and a penalty for a false start. On fourth-and-17, the Seahawks were almost assessed a safety after guard Paul McQuistan was called for an illegal block in the end zone. But San Francisco declined the penalty because Seattle did not gain the first down on the play, a 16-yard completion from Wilson to Ben Obomanu that came up just short. The Seahawks turned the ball over on downs, and the 49ers ran out the clock. Wilson was 9 for 23 passing in the game for 122 yards. He completed only one pass in the second half before the Seahawks’ final drive, and that completion lost two yards. That lack of passing production, combined with San Francisco’s rushing total, was a bad combination for the Seahawks. The only time Seattle had allowed more rushing yards going back to the beginning of 2011 was last year’s game against the 49ers in Week 16 when San Francisco rushed for 178 yards in Seattle. And despite all that, this is a game the Seahawks will feel they let slip through their fingers, given the number of dropped passes in the first half. Robert Turbin touched it in the first quarter, when Wilson’s perfectly placed pass hit him in the hands near the 49ers’ goal line. Tight end Evan Moore let the ball go through his hands in the second quarter. So did Golden Tate in the second and again in the third. And while Seattle didn’t lose its grasp on the division lead until the second half, it was those opportunities in the first half that will haunt Seattle. The Seahawks led 6-3 at halftime, but had outgained the 49ers 177-115 and had driven across midfield on each of their first four possessions. That demonstrated progress compared to last year’s game at San Francisco, when the Seahawks crossed midfield only once on seven first-half possessions. But the Seahawks were inside the 49ers’ 20-yard line only once and never reached the end zone. Steven Hauschka kicked two field goals, including a seasonlong 52-yarder, but missed a 51-yarder. So it was a heavyweight fight that featured the punters, a slugfest starring kickers. Midway through the third quarter, the game had nine points and six punts. Maybe that was fitting, for two teams defined by their defenses. Then the 49ers got their breakthrough, scoring the game’s first touchdown on their first possession of the second half, Walker scoring with 4:29 left in the third quarter. It was San Francisco’s first touchdown in 106 minutes, 31 seconds, going back to the fourth quarter of its Week 5 game against the New York Jets. San Francisco had 86 yards of offense on that opening drive of second half. The 49ers were in position to score their second drive of the second half, too, until Brandon Browner intercepted Smith’s pass in the end zone.
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