Behind dominant defense and Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks get well, roll over 49ers 20-3

Behind six sacks of Colin Kaepernick and the first 100+ yard rushing game of the 2015 season by Lynch, the Seahawks blasted the 49ers Thursday night, pulling to within 1.5 games of the Arizona Cardinals for the NFC West lead.

It took the familiar foe of the San Francisco 49ers for the Seattle Seahawks to finally finish a game.

Behind a season-high 122 rushing yards from Marshawn Lynch and a dominating performance from the defense, the Seahawks earned their first road victory of the 2015 season, blasting the 49ers 20-3 on the shoddy sod of Levi Stadium.

With All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman shadowing Colin Kaepernick's most dangerous receiver - Torrey Smith - throughout the game, the Seahawks corralled San Francisco's offense. Smith was held without a catch a week after racking up 96 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown in San Francisco's win against his former team, the Baltimore Ravens.

Seattle continued its recent mastery over Kaepernick, limiting San Francisco's quarterback to just 13 of 24 passing for just 124 yards and not allowing a single rushing yard from the dual-threat passer. Kaepernick was clearly uncomfortable throughout the game, skipping and wildly overthrowing a few passes to intended targets. He wasn't helped much by teammates, however, with several of his receivers dropping catchable passes and San Francisco's offensive line struggling to contain a rejuvenated Seattle pass rush, which sacked Kaepernick six times, including an eye-popping 3.5 from Michael Bennett.

In terms of pass protection, Seattle's beleaguered offensive line wasn't much better, at times. The Seahawks allowed five sacks of Russell Wilson and if not for his mobility and vision, that number could have been much higher.

The line did provide better protection for Wilson throughout much of the game, however, including on a perfectly thrown deep ball to rookie Tyler Lockett to stake Seattle to a 17-0 lead late in the second quarter that sucked the life of out of the San Francisco crowd.

Lockett led all receivers with 79 receiving yards on five catches. Wilson completed 18 of 25 passes on the night for 243 yards with the touchdown. He also threw two troubling interceptions, including a late second quarter pass forced to Doug Baldwin which was intercepted in the end zone, erasing an opportunity for the Seahawks to extend their lead before the half.

The story of the game, however, was the resurgence of Lynch and Seattle's defense.

Showing the ferocity which earned him the affectionate BeastMode nickname, Lynch drove through would-be tacklers, punishing them with wicked stiff-arms and his trademark determined running. The Seahawks seemed content with featuring Lynch, running the football 41 times versus just 24 passing attempts against a San Francisco defense that entered the game ranked 31st in the NFL against the pass. 

Other than a 10-play, 76-yard drive that resulted in a field goal following Wilson's second interception, Seattle's defense controlled the action, limiting the 49ers to just 142 total yards and eight first downs. The Seahawks, by comparison, racked up 388 total yards and earned 21 first downs.

After losing three games this season in which the Seahawks won the turnover battle, the tide turned in Seattle's favor Thursday night. The Seahawks were unable to force a turnover against the 49ers and gave San Francisco the ball twice on Wilson's interceptions and yet otherwise dictated the game, successfully running out the clock with runs by Lynch until Wilson kneeled down in the victory formation to bleed the final seconds and move Seattle to 3-4 on the year. The loss sunk San Francisco to 2-5 and last in the NFC West.

The Seahawks will travel to Dallas next week to take on the Cowboys, who at 2-3 will face the 3-3 NY Giants on Sunday.


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