Seahawks roll past 49ers in noisy Seattle 42-13

Red Bryant remembers the early years of his career, when the

Seattle Seahawks struggled to win only four and five games in his

first two seasons.

Getting a 10th win on Sunday night and a trip to the postseason

was special to the Seahawks’ big defensive end.

”Who has been playing better than us the last few weeks?”

Bryant questioned. ”This is the National Football League and you

don’t get any gimmies. We work hard to win. … It’s hard to win in

this league.”

Russell Wilson threw a career-high four touchdown passes to move

into second place for most TD passes by a rookie, Marshawn Lynch

scored two first-quarter TDs, and the Seahawks routed the San

Francisco 49ers 42-13.

Richard Sherman returned Bryant’s blocked field goal 90 yards

for another touchdown as the Seahawks (10-5) jumped to a 21-0 lead.

That only added to an already hyped crowd on a typically cold and

rainy December night, with noise echoing off the walls and

overhanging roof of CenturyLink Field that might have been heard

all the way across Puget Sound.

No one appeared to care about the weather, not with the

performance they were seeing on the field. And not with a ticket to

the postseason guaranteed thanks to Seattle’s first 10-win season

since 2007.

”We knew we were capable of doing this. We had no doubt. Even

in Week 1, we knew that we had the talent to do what we’re doing

now,” said wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who had two touchdown

receptions. ”It took time because we’re a young team. We had to

mature. We had to grow together, build that chemistry, build that

trust out there on the field. That’s the most important

thing.”

Seattle surged into the playoffs on the strength of its sixth

win in seven games, putting up dizzying offensive numbers that no

one thought would continue against the top scoring defense in the

NFL but did.

Seattle has outscored its last three opponents 150-30. The 42

points were the most allowed since Jim Harbaugh took over the

49ers, and the most San Francisco yielded since giving up 45 to

Atlanta in 2009. It was the perfect way for Seattle coach Pete

Carroll to snap a three-game losing streak against his rival.

”We just try to play really good football and see what happens

at the end,” Carroll said. ”We have been scoring and doing a nice

job of it and it would be great If we can keep it rolling.”

Seattle will likely be the No. 5 seed in the NFC. There remains

a slight chance of winning the NFC West, if the Seahawks beat St.

Louis in the season finale and Arizona can upset the 49ers in San

Francisco.

The Seahawks, 7-0 at home, delayed San Francisco (10-4-1) from

celebrating a division title. They turned Harbaugh’s 49th birthday

into a miserable evening.

”If you had told me this would be the outcome I wouldn’t have

believed it,” Sherman said. ”I would say you’re making this

up.”

Wilson hit Lynch on a 9-yard TD in the first quarter, Anthony

McCoy for a 6-yarder late in the first half, and Doug Baldwin on 4

and 6 yard TDs in the second half.

Wilson has 25 TD passes, one behind Peyton Manning’s NFL rookie

record of 26. He finished 15 of 21 for 171 yards. His only

incompletion in the first half was a deflected pass that Patrick

Willis intercepted.

Wilson’s counterpart, San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick, had

already proven himself capable of winning on the road with

victories in New Orleans and last week in New England. But Seattle

is a different beast, widely regarded by players as the loudest

venue in the NFL. His inexperience playing in such an environment

showed. He was flustered and disorganized at the line of scrimmage,

letting the noise from Seattle’s fans affect him.

Kaepernick’s forgettable night was capped when Sherman stepped

in front of his pass intended for Randy Moss at the back of the end

zone on the first play of the fourth quarter for his seventh

interception of the season.

Kaepernick was 19 of 36 for 244 yards with an 18-yard TD pass to

Delanie Walker with 1:40 left. Frank Gore had just 28 yards on six

carries after rushing for a season-high 131 when the teams met in

Week 7.

”Every time you are on the field you are learning something,”

Kaepernick said. ”We just have to take what we can from this game

and move on to next week.”

San Francisco played without defensive tackle Justin Smith due

to an elbow injury that ended a streak of 185 starts. The 49ers

lost tight end Vernon Davis in the first quarter with a concussion

sustained when he was knocked off his feet on a huge hit along the

sideline from Seattle safety Kam Chancellor that looked legal but

drew a penalty for hitting a defenseless receiver.

San Francisco wide receiver Mario Manningham went down with a

left leg injury early in the third quarter when he was tackled low

by Leroy Hill and fumbled.

The loss of Smith affected the entire defense. Aldon Smith was

left stuck on 19 1-2 sacks after being locked up by Seattle

offensive tackle Russell Okung.

”We can’t make excuses,” 49ers’ safety Donte Whitner said.

”We understand: We lost the football game; we lost an ugly

football game.”

NOTES: Lynch finished with 111 yards on 26 carries, his third

straight game over 100 yards vs. the 49ers. … Seattle was 11 of

13 on third-down conversions, a season-high. … The 49ers were

held to 82 yards rushing, just the third time this season he was

held under 100 yards.

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