Seahawks top 49ers 31-6 in Carroll's return to NFL

BY foxsports • September 13, 2010

Mike Singletary offered up a quick thank you to new Seattle coach Pete Carroll on his first day back in the NFL.

''I want very much to tell Pete Carroll, `Thank you very much for kicking our tails,''' Singletary said. ''It was good medicine and we're going to take it. We'll go from there.''

The lofty preseason hopes of San Francisco took a hit on Sunday when Matt Hasselbeck threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, and the Seahawks handed Carroll a 31-6 win over the 49ers.

It was Carroll's first NFL game in 11 years and the enthusiasm he used to show at Southern California came along to the Pacific Northwest. Carroll bounced up and down the Seahawks sideline, getting a little too enthusiastic at one point where an official had to pull him off the field.

''There are a ton of beginnings, but now that's over. It's a nice game, but it doesn't mean that much. It's already done,'' Carroll said. ''To have the opportunity emotionally to enjoy it like that in the locker room with these guys that have worked so hard that have listened to my stuff all this time, for them to feel the benefits and rewards it was very pleasing.''

''I think it just meant that we're on course. He wants us to be even-keeled. Enjoy it but know that we've got to get back here to work tomorrow,'' Seattle safety Lawyer Milloy said.

While Seattle could revel in an unlikely romp to start the Carroll era, the 49ers were already wondering how to regroup as their lofty preseason expectations to dominate the mediocre NFC West took a blow.

''He'll probably go home, and knowing him, he probably has a trampoline in his bedroom. So he'll probably go turn some flips, but he's not going to tell us that. `Good job fellas, proud of you. You did what I asked you to do.' Laugh, smile a little bit. But it's up to us to come back to work and focus on Denver.''

Singletary was instantly questioned about the future of Alex Smith as quarterback. Smith threw for 225 yards, but tossed two costly interceptions and failed to lead San Francisco to touchdowns in the first quarter when Seattle's offense couldn't stay on the field.

Jordan Babineaux and Marcus Trufant each intercepted Smith and Seattle's defense held San Francisco to six points on three possessions inside the Seattle 10 in the first half. Trufant returned his interception 32 yards for a touchdown early in the second half to give the Seahawks a 21-6 lead.

Smith missed a wide open Moran Norris at the goal line on a fourth down early in the second quarter. On San Francisco's next drive, the 49ers had to take a delay of game penalty at the Seattle 1 and settle for a field goal.

''Management issues like that, we got to get that figured out. It hurt us,'' Smith said.

Smith started out 9 of 10 passing, then missed 12 of his next 21 throws. The questions of how in sync San Francisco's offense would be considering both Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis and receiver Michael Crabtree missed the entire unbeaten preseason, were raised again.

Crabtree looked at Smith after the pair failed to connect on two throws in the third quarter, the second zipping past Crabtree and into the arms of Trufant.

Smith finished 26 of 45. Davis had eight catches for 73 yards a day after signing a five-year extension with San Francisco.

''Every time you lose, you can learn. You can see where you messed up,'' Crabtree said. ''I just really can't wait to go watch that film and see what is really going on.''

Seattle went 1 1/2 quarters with just seven offensive plays for 11 yards, including an interception on the first play from scrimmage. San Francisco held a 14-minute advantage in time of possession at halftime.

But midway through the second quarter Hasselbeck got started. He completed 10 of his next 11 throws as Seattle abandoned an ineffective run game and used Hasselbeck's arm. He finished 18 of 23 for 170 yards and touchdowns of 13 yards to Deon Butler and 3 yards to Deion Branch. He also bootlegged and sprinted for a 1-yard TD run in the second quarter that gave Seattle a 7-6 lead.

Hasselbeck was intercepted by Nate Clements on the first play of the game, but otherwise was efficient.

''A lot of people didn't give us a chance, much less a chance to have a win,'' Seattle receiver Mike Williams said. ''but we've been saying all along, people don't know what we're doing here. People don't know what we put in during the week, how we prepare and how much it means to us. We're going to take this game and move on.''

Frank Gore, who averaged nearly 150 yards against the Seahawks since 2006, was held to 38 yards on 17 carries and the 49ers were just 1 of 15 on third down.

''It doesn't taste good. It doesn't feel good,'' Smith said. ''I think you've got to try and make it a positive, but it hurts.''