Just like old times: Seahawks throttle 49ers in primetime
No turkey necessary this time, just some high-flying defense and more power running by Marshawn Lynch.
The Seattle Seahawks rediscovered their tried-and-true formula to get back in the win column, with Russell Wilson and Co. ruling this one-sided rivalry with San Francisco.
On another Thursday night, and on San Francisco’s home field again.
Wilson threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett late in the first half, Lynch added a leaping 1-yard score, and Seattle beat the hapless 49ers 20-3 for its fourth straight victory against its NFC West rival.
"It felt like a really normal Seahawk night tonight," coach Pete Carroll said.
The Seahawks (3-4) whipped San Francisco in Levi’s Stadium on a Thursday in prime time 11 months after Richard Sherman chomped turkey on the field last Thanksgiving night following a 19-3 victory.
Wilson completed 10 of his first 12 passes and finished with 235 yards passing and Lynch ran for 122 yards after vomiting on the sideline in the first half, something Carroll said was caused by him getting winded during a busy opening drive. Seattle won for the first time in four road games this season, avoiding another fourth-quarter collapse.
Carroll and his players were thrilled how they came together after a tough loss at home Sunday against Carolina.
"After the tough loss, we said, `We choose to believe,’" Wilson said about the message he and defensive end Michael Bennett gave to the team. "The idea was to believe in one another. … We lost four tough games but we thought we could have won each one of those."
This game lacked its usual intrigue with both teams trying to save their seasons and Carroll missing former nemesis and now-Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.
Wilson made the key plays and Colin Kaepernick struggled once again facing Seattle as the 49ers (2-5) lost four days after snapping a four-game losing streak by beating Baltimore.
Steven Hauschka sent dirt flying when he kicked a 49-yard field goal in the second quarter four days after Ravens kicker Justin Tucker slipped on the turf and shanked one off the right upright and slipped to the ground on the field that will host the Super Bowl in early February.
Wilson was sacked five times to push his NFL-leading total to 31 and threw a pair of interceptions, but still made plenty of big plays for another lopsided result against the Niners.
Fans left early again in an eerily similar scene to Thanksgiving night, when 49ers CEO Jed York apologized on Twitter in the waning moments by saying: "This performance wasn’t acceptable. I apologize for that."
This time, it was former 49ers wideout Kassim Osgood weighing in on Twitter with: "`Something ain’t right in SF."
Kaepernick’s errant passes sailed into both sidelines, one ball even hitting a 49ers staff member in the head early in the game and requiring him to be checked.
Phil Dawson kicked a 35-yard field goal late in the third, and the 49ers have been held to single digits in their past three losses to Seattle with just one touchdown — outscored 56-13.
Kaepernick dropped to 1-6 in seven starts against the Seahawks with three touchdown passes to nine interceptions and 24 sacks, six more Thursday.
Michael Bennett had 3 1/2 of those sacks for Seattle, which expects to build off this game.
He has a new motto, too: chopping wood.
"When you’re chopping wood, just keep chopping until the tree falls, man, you can’t get ahead of yourself," Bennett said.
The Seahawks’ winning streak in the series started with the NFC championship game in January 2014 that propelled them to a Super Bowl victory. Seattle has won six out of seven overall against San Francisco.
Jermaine Kearse caught a 21-yard pass over a leaping NaVorro Bowman, facing Seattle for the first time since a frightening left knee injury in the NFC title game. He needed surgery and was sidelined all of last season.
San Francisco’s 55 yards in the first half were the fewest allowed by the Seahawks defense in an opening half since Week 17 of the 2013 season against St. Louis. The 49ers finished with 142, fewer than the 164 they managed on Thanksgiving and second-lowest total allowed by Seattle under Carroll.
"Offensively, today it was just not acceptable all the way around," 49ers left tackle Joe Staley said.
The Seahawks needed six plays once they reached the 3 on their opening drive before Lynch’s leaping touchdown, just the team’s second TD of the season on the initial drive.
Notes: The Seahawks improved to 15-2 in prime time since 2010 under Carroll, outscoring opponents 417-194. … 49ers TE Vernon Davis’ 14-yard catch in the second quarter was his first reception since Week 2. … San Francisco S Antoine Bethea injured his shoulder in the first half and didn’t return.