LIVE Game Blog: 49ers vs. Seahawks

The 49ers try to prevent the Seattle Seahawks from clinching their third consecutive NFC West championship while keeping their own playoff hopes mathematically alive tonight at Qwest Field in Seattle, and SFI will keep you up to date on the action with live reports and commentary. Make sure to to refresh this page every 15 minutes for running updates throughout the game.

(4:59) Welcome to the monsoon. It has been pouring rain for hours in Seattle - and the forecast is for plenty more to come, along with swirling winds - and there is so much water on the turf that the start of the game is being delayed. The torrential downpour is coming down sideways and in sheets. Hey, officials: It's not going to get any better. Referee Pete Morelli is checking drainage issues, and this game won't be starting at the 5 p.m. scheduled time …

(5:05) The teams finally come out on the field and, yes, we're going to have a football game. The 49ers win the toss, so they'll be on offense first. You almost have to wonder, in these conditions, if you want to be on offense first …

(5:09) The 49ers go a lame three-and-out, but Nate Burleson absolutely gets stuck by long-snapper Brian Jennings as he attempts to return Andy Lee's punt. There goes the ball, squirting free on the slippery turf. Get on it, 49ers! The Niners have all kind of chances to cover the ball, but they don't. When the referees unpile bodies, it's Seattle's Oliver Celestin clutching the football. That's a big missed opportunity for the 49ers …

(5:20) And now another one! Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck throws the ball right to 49ers linebacker Brandon Moore, who lets the ball slip down his gut and hit the ground. That was a sure interception, but no. Instead, it's another missed opportunity by the 49ers, and the game just got started. The good news is the Seahawks can't get anything going on offense, either, and give the ball back to the 49ers …

(5:29) Another three-and-out for the 49ers, but the Seahawks can't go anywhere after picking up two first downs, and they have to give the ball up to. It looks like points are going to be hard to come by tonight, at least in the early going as the two teams feel each other out …

(5:40) That was ugly. Center Eric Heitmann stands up a Seattle defender at the point of attack as Frank Gore slips behind him for a 2-yard gain, but as Heitmann goes down to his knees, Seattle end Darryl Tapp comes down on the bottom on the back of his right leg. Heitmann is down, and he's hurting. Don't watch that replay if you're the queasy type. You can see Heitmann's leg snap as Tapp falls on him. Heitmann is obviously in pain, and he's taken off the field on a cart …

(5:52) The preliminary report on Heitmann is a broken tibia as the 49ers go three-and-out for the third consecutive time to start the game. Now the Seahawks - getting the ball near midfield after a punt - are moving. Shaun Alexander goes off left tackle for 17 yards to the San Francisco 14, but the Seahawks get pushed back 10 yards by a holding call on the next play. But there goes Alexander again! He's slices off right tackle and is into the secondary and could go into the end zone. But Walt Harris punches the ball at from behind! It's loose on the turf and there's only 49ers around. Jeff Ulbrich dives for it, but wearing a cast on his right hand, the ball goes squirts away again. Safety Chad Williams is the next guy to get a shot, and it looks like he has it. But when the scrum unpiles … The Seahawks have it at the 3! What a wasted opportunity. How many is that for the 49ers now? …

(5:57) Alexander scores on the next play. If figures. The 49ers have to make some plays when they get those kind of chances. The Seahawks are practically begging them to stay in the game, but it's not going to happen if the offense plays like this. The 49ers go three-and-out for the fourth consecutive time, and that's how the first quarter ends, with the Seahawks up 7-0 …

(6:03) This came could be out of hand already, but the Seahawks aren't in sync, either. They're forced to punt on fourth-and-1, and Keith Lewis races around the left side and blocks the punt! He gets a piece of the ball, and the ball goes bounding 13 yards toward midfield, setting up the 49ers with a first down at their own 48 …

(6:17) Of course, the 49ers make nothing of it. They got three-and-out for the sixth consecutive time to start the game and now Lee is punting for the sixth time. He belts a 57-yard beauty to push the Seahawks back to their 12 …

(6:29) The Seahawks have put a nice drive together, and Hasselbeck is passing them down the field. It looks like the San Francisco defense - which is playing pretty well, considering they've been on the field the entire game - is starting to tire a bit. The Seahawks are at the San Francisco 34 now, but Alexander gets stopped for a two-yard loss on first down. Hasselbeck throws incomplete on second down, and now it's third-and-12. Hasselbeck makes a perfect pass to tight end Jerramy Stevens in the right corner, and Stevens extends to make a diving grab at the San Francisco 11 for a 25-yard gain. But Mike Nolan throws the red flag before the Seahawks can get another play off, and replays clearly show that Stevens dropped the ball as he hit the ground. The catch is overturned, and the 49ers finally get a break as Seattle opts to punt from the San Francisco 36 …

(6:36) First down, 49ers! First down, 49ers!! With just three minutes remaining in the first half, the 49ers finally pick up their initial first down of the game - that's right, the game - as Gore bulls over left guard for a nine-yard gain on third-and-1. Gore carries defenders into the sideline, then comes up swinging at cornerback Kelly Herndon after Marcus Trufant almost twists Gore's helmet off long after the play was whistled dead and the bodies swarmed toward the sideline. Of course, the officials miss the blatant facemask penalty …

(6:40) Alex Smith looks terrible. What's up with the kid? My gosh, he can't make any throws whatsoever. He badly underthrows Antonio Bryant on third-and-5, and the 49ers have to punt once again. But from the San Francisco 43, it's a direct snap to up-back Michael Robinson! Robinson rumbles around the right side for a 33-yard gain to the Seattle 24! What a great call, because the 49ers had to make something happen. And there it is. Just like that, the 49ers are in scoring territory …

(6:44) Another break for the 49ers as Arnaz Battle makes a nice catch along the sideline at the Seattle 9 for a 15-yard gain. Battle never gets his feet down as he is hit out of bounds, and officials are reviewing the play because it's within the two-minute warning. The play stands, and the 49ers are set up with a first-and-goal at the Seattle 9 …

(6:48) But the 49ers blow the opportunity … sort of. Before they can get another play off, Gore is called for a false start. First-and-goal from the 14. Gore loses three yards on first down. On second-and-goal from the 17, Smith is back to pass and nobody is open. He gets around the right corner, and there he goes down the sideline! He gets a ferocious block by tight end Vernon Davis near the end zone and Smith is in! Touchdown! But wait, the officials aren't signaling touchdown. And there's a flag in the backfield. Holding on right tackle Kwame Harris! What a dog. There's yet another missed opportunity. On fourth-and-goal from the 21, the 49ers settle for a 39-yard field goal by Joe Nedney to cap a 12-play, 59-yard drive …

(6:51) But, hey, it could be worse. In fact, it should be much worse. But it isn't. The first half is over, and the scoreboard reads Seattle 7, San Francisco 3. Amazingly, the 49ers aren't just still in the game, they're right there putting the heat on the Seahawks. Let's see if they can get those offensive problems worked out at halftime. The defense is playing fine. Message to Alex Smith: Get it together, and do it now …

(7:02) The 49ers have just three first downs at halftime, but that final drive upped their offensive total for the half to 112 yards. But the 49ers have looked even more pathetic than that number might indicate. Smith is 5 of 12 for just 38 yards at halftime. Gore, who set a team single-season record with 212 rushing yards when the 49ers beat the Seahawks 20-14 in San Francisco on Nov. 19, has been limited to 34 yards on 14 carries by the same Seattle defense he gorged a month earlier …

(7:09) The Seahawks take the second-half kickoff, and they're going right down the field. The 49ers whiff on Nate Burleson on the return, allowing him to get out to the Seattle 48 for a 39-yard gain. Hasselbeck's passing takes Seattle to a first down at the San Francisco 19. He's back to pass again, and he's going for the end zone. But safety Mark Roman steps in front of D.J. Hackett at the goal line and makes the pick! Big play!! Roman comes out of the end zone and makes a nice return and the 49ers have the ball at their own 27. Maybe that's the play the 49ers needed to turn things around …

(7:14) Yeah, right. Smith hits Battle for a nine-yard gain on first down, but Gore is stopped for no gain on second-and-1 and third-and-1. Jeez. The 49ers can't pick up a yard in two tries. And Lee comes out to punt again after San Francisco's seventh three-and-out in eight possessions …

(7:21) Another great stop by the defense! The 49ers are playing so well on that side of the ball. The Seahawks get three first downs to move from their own 17 to their 48 - that gives them a 16-3 advantage in first downs to this point - but Hasselbeck throws incomplete on second down. On third-and-8, he can't find any receivers, and tries to slip out of the pocket, where big Isaac Sopoaga snags him for a sack and 3-yard loss. It's a great coverage sack, and the Seahawks have to give up the ball again …

(7:27) What's the NFL record for three-and-outs? Sure enough, the San Francisco does nothing after the great stop by the defense. Julian Peterson makes a couple of plays for the Seahawks - including batting Smith's third-and-6 throw into the air for a near-interception - and Andy Lee has to punt again. That's eight three-and-outs in nine possessions for the 49ers. Lee hits a line drive punt, but Jennings - who's having a standout game on coverage teams - races down to make a great shoulder-pad tackle on Burleson before he can shake loose. Burleson had some room to roam in front of him, but the Seahawks start from their own 38 instead. But they're still winning the battle of field position …

(7:40) So how do you like that! The 49ers force another punt, then churn out a first down from their own 10-yard line. After getting pushed back half the distance to the goal on a personal foul after the play, Smith stands strong in the pocket, and as it begins to collapse, throwing flat-footed, he unleashes a bomb down the field. And there's Battle, with a step on Herndon. The ball is out there, and Battle reels it in with a diving catch. It's a huge 54-yard gain, and the 49ers are in business at the Seattle 33 as the fourth quarter comes to an end. It's about time Smith makes a play. It's still 7-3 Seattle with 15 minutes to play, but the 49ers are closing in on scoring territory …

(7:50) Smith, all of a sudden, is looking pretty darn good. On third-and-10 from the Seattle 22, he throws a dart in between defenders to a sliding Battle for a 13-yard gain and first down inside the 10. It's a picture-perfect pass that had to be thrown low and just right, and Smith came through. Two plays later, Gore makes a great block to pick up a blitz, and Smith lofts a pass into the corner of the end zone for Davis, who burns safety Jordon Babineaux and makes the grab. Touchdown! And the 49ers take the lead! Unfortunately, Davis is flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for putting his foot on the corner pylon to give an arm-waving celebration. Stupid! Now Nedney will be kicking off from his 15 …

(7:57) And sure enough, Nedney kicks it only to the 36, where the ball bounces before Burleson picks it up and finds an opening. He isn't stopped until he's pushed out of bounds at the San Francisco 36. That's all on Vernon Davis. But the San Francisco defense gets Davis off the hook with another huge series. Alexander is stuffed for no gain on third-and-1 from the 27, and the Seahawks don't hesitate to go for it on fourth-and-a-foot. Huge play here. But fullback Mack Strong is stuffed. Melvin Oliver holds him up, and Manny Lawson finishes him off. Strong is short!! The officials bring out the chains anyway, but they only confirm the obvious. The defense holds again!! First down, 49ers. What a big sequence. Now let's see if they can get out of their own territory …

(8:08) Can you believe it! The 49ers roll down the field behind Gore and Smith. It's third-and-1 from the Seattle 15 now, and the 49ers get called for delay of game! That can just not happen! But all it did was set up the play of Alex Smith's life. He sets up in shotgun formation, and then he has to leap in the air to prevent a high snap from sailing over his head. The Seahawks send Herndon on a corner blitz, and he comes in untouched. Smith is a dead duck as Herndon blasts into him. But Smith bounces away!! He collects himself, then drifts out to the left. Gore is open! Smith spots him! He hits him perfectly in stride! Gore leaps up to make the catch, then falls into the end zone! What a play by Smith!! And now, believe it, the 49ers are in total control, leading 17-7 with just 4:01 remaining …

(8:12) Don't look now, but the 49ers are going to win this game. After picking up a quick first down with an 11-yard completion, Hasselbeck decides to go long down the field to Burleson. But Shawntae Spencer - playing for the first time after missing the last three games with an ankle injury - is right there, and he reaches up and makes the interception! Niners ball at the San Francisco 14, and now the 49ers just have to burn some clock …

(8:20) The 49ers do more than just burn some clock. Now it's the Frank Gore show, an encore performance. Gore goes for eight yards over right tackle on first down, then 18 yards over left tackle on the next play. On the next play, he busts one up the middle for 40 yards! It's all 49ers now. And how about that! On third-and-8 from the Seattle 18, Smith makes a very smooth fake to Maurice Hicks, then takes off on a naked bootleg to the left. Nobody is there!! Smith is all alone as he strolls down the left sideline, and he raises the ball in the air in celebration as he heads toward the goal line. That's it! The coup de grace! Smith scores on the 18-yard run, and the 49ers lead 24-7 with 1:49 to play. Who would have thunk it? …

(8:30) For good measure, Keith Lewis destroys Deion Branch along the sideline on an overthrown pass. He gets flagged for unnecessary roughness, but nobody on the San Francisco sideline is going to care about that penalty. In fact, they love it! The Seahawks tack on a late touchdown with nine seconds to play on a third-and-12 pass from Hasselbeck to Stevens that goes for a 22-yard score, but it doesn't matter. The 49ers win 24-14, and what an upset. They sweep the Seahawks, and boy, they sure would like to have that Rams game and the Packers game back right now …

Check back with www.sfillustrated.com later this evening for postgame coverage and throughout the week as the 49ers gear up for a game at home against Arizona that suddenly has added meaning. -- CM


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