Game rewind: Seahawks 27, 49ers 25
THE HERO Shaun Alexander showed why he is the heart of the NFL's top offense, keeping the Seahawks surging forward against a determined San Francisco defense with a game-high 115 yards rushing on 24 carries, averaging 4.8 yards a pop. Alexander scored two of Seattle's three touchdowns, giving the Seahawks a 10-3 lead with an eight-yard burst up the middle early in the second quarter, then putting them ahead 24-12 with a 1-yard plunge late in the third period. Alexander set up his final touchdown with a tackle-breaking 40-yard burst. He now leads the NFL with 19 touchdowns on the season. THE GOAT Niners right cornerback Shawntae Spencer was beaten by Seattle's No. 3 receiver D.J. Hackett on a slant pattern for a 12-yard touchdown pass that put Seattle ahead 17-6 with 6:28 remaining before halftime, but Spencer saved his biggest gaffes for later. After the 49ers had closed within 17-12 on Joe Nedney's fourth field goal midway through the third period, the Seahawks faced a third-and-2 on their next possession from the Seattle 35-yard line. Alexander broke through the middle of the line and cut to the outside, where he ran right into Spencer about five yards from the line of scrimmage. But instead of wrapping up Alexander there, Spencer allowed him to spin away and rumble down the left sideline for a 40-yard gain to the San Francisco 25. Two plays later, receiver Joe Jurevicius caught a quick hitch pass in front of Spencer, who came up and made the hit after a short gain, but again missed an easy tackle as Jurevicius broke down the sideline and dove for the end zone pylon for what was ruled a touchdown on the field. The touchdown call was challenged by the 49ers and upheld, placing the ball back at the 1-yard line, but Alexander scored on the next play to extend Seattle's led to 24-12, and the Seahawks recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff which led to a gift field goal that gave Seattle its final points. Rasheed Marshall, who fumbled that kickoff, also gets some deserving mention here, since that final field goal proved to be the difference in the game. KEY STAT The 49ers scored just one touchdown on their five trips inside the Seattle 20-yard line. The Seahawks, conversely, scored three touchdowns on their four trips inside the red zone. THE TURNING POINT The 49ers crept within five points with 6:36 left in the third quarter. But less than four minutes later, Seattle's lead was up to 15 points before the San Francisco offense had even touched the ball again. The Seahawks took their next possession and went 73 yards for a touchdown on six plays to go ahead 24-12, then Seattle's Marquand Manuel rocked Marshall on the ensuing kickoff, with the Seahawks recovering Marshall's fumble at the San Francisco 31. Four plays later, Josh Brown kicked a 47-yard field goal that would prove to be the winning points. THE BIG PLAY With their offense beginning to show signs of getting it together, the 49ers had a prime opportunity to build on their growing momentum after Nedney kicked his fourth field goal. The Niners had Seattle facing a third-and-2 at the Seattle 35 and had an opportunity to get the ball right back in decent field position. But Alexander broke through the line, slipped one tackle as he veered to the right, then bounced off Spencer and turned the corner for a back-breaking 40-yard gain that set up Seattle's third touchdown and spearheaded a spree of 10 Seattle points in a span of 75 seconds. STANDOUT PERFORMER Kudos go to Alexander, Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, and 49ers quarterback Ken Dorsey, but the individual performer most people were talking about after the game was Niners receiver Brandon Lloyd, who finished with game-high totals of seven receptions for 119 yards. Lloyd had three receptions of the highlight-reel variety, including a leaping 22-yarder to record San Francisco's first touchdown in four games and a one-handed 44-yarder to set up a San Francisco field goal. Lloyd also made a one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone, but had another touchdown reception taken away when it was ruled he came down with one foot out of bounds despite contact from a defender on the play. QUOTABLE "This is where I was born. This is where I was raised. This is where I became a man, and I am grateful. There is no better place on earth than to stand on the 50-yard line in this stadium." --- Former 49ers quarterback Steve Young, addressing the crowd at halftime Sunday during his Hall of Fame ring ceremony BY THE NUMBERS 0: First downs rushing by 49ers in first half 1: Combined turnovers in game by both teams 1.8: Average gain per rush by 49ers starting tailback Kevan Barlow (21 yards on 12 carries) 3: Games with 100 yards receiving by Brandon Lloyd this season 5.7: Average gain per offensive play in game for both the 49ers and Seahawks 7: Number of former 49ers now in the Hall of Fame – out of 11 – that were on hand for Steve Young's Hall of Fame ring ceremony Sunday (not including Young) 9: Receptions of 20 yards or more by Lloyd this season 14: Field goals by Nedney in San Francisco's last four games 17: Net rushing yards by the 49ers in first half, on 12 carries 42.4: Average yards passing by 49ers in five previous games 43: Consecutive 49ers points scored by kicker Joe Nedney over four games before San Francisco finally broke its touchdown drought that dated back to Oct. 23. 47: Consecutive offensive possessions by the 49ers without a touchdown over four games before Lloyd scored on a 22-yard reception in the fourth quarter 50: Yards gained by Maurice Hicks on his first rushing in the third quarter, which also was his first carry of the season 74: Yards rushing in third quarter by 49ers tailback Maurice Hicks, on three carries 101.1: Ken Dorsey's quarterback rating in game 118.5: Matt Hasselbeck's quarterback rating at halftime 249: Passing yards by Dorsey, his career high 336: Total yards gained by the 49ers, their second-highest total in 10 games this season FAST FACTS --- The Seahawks have won their last five games against the 49ers and now hold a 7-6 lead the all-time series between the two teams. Seattle also is 4-2 against the 49ers in San Francisco. --- Seattle coach Mike Holmgren now is 10-3 against San Francisco, where he was offensive coordinator from 1989-91 and quarterbacks coach from 1986-88. --- Niners defensive end/linebacker Andre Carter notched his 31st career sack in the first quarter, moving him past Jeff Stover (30.5) into 10th place on San Francisco's all-time sack list. --- The 49ers scored on their first offensive drive for just the second time this season when Nedney completed an 11-play, 55-yard opening drive with a 33-yard field goal. --- Niners fifth-round pick Ronnie Fields was active for the first time this season, and saw playing time along the defensive line, finishing with one tackle. Rookie David Baas, the team's second-round pick, also saw his most extensive action of the season along the offensive line. --- Seattle's offense entered the game with just 19 three-and-out possessions in its first nine games this season, but the 49ers forced the Seahawks into three straight three-and-outs in the fourth quarter. The Seattle offense had seven possessions of five plays or less.
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