San Francisco 49ers - TeamReport
NFL Team Report - San Francisco 49ers - INSIDE SLANT
The San Francisco 49ers were down by a point and in desperate need of a big play late in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Frank Gore, who has made a habit of coming up big against the Seahawks.
On first-and-10 from the 49ers' 31, Gore bolted off left tackle, cut back against the grain and raced 51 yards to the Seahawks' 18.
Seven plays later, Phil Dawson kicked his fourth field of the game, a 22-yarder with 26 seconds left, lifting the 49ers to a 19-17 victory.
"I kind of knew that (safety Earl Thomas), he's so fast going to the ball, I kind of knew he was going to overrun it," said Gore, who rushed for 110 yards on 17 carries. "So I kind of set him up outside. Because he's so aggressive."
The 49ers (9-4) took another huge step in their playoff push, snapped their two-game losing streak to the Seahawks (11-2) and prevented Seattle from clinching the NFC West at Candlestick Park.
Gore has rushed for 1,364 yards against Seattle, his most against any opponent in his career. He set a 49ers' single-game rushing record with 212 yards against the Seahawks on Nov. 19, 2006, but his 51-yard run Sunday was arguably his most important against Seattle.
The Seahawks still own a two-game lead in the NFC West with three to play, but the 49ers remained in the lead for the NFC's second wild-card spot. What's more, the 49ers gained some confidence against a Seattle team they could well see again in the postseason at CenturyLink Field, where they've lost the past two games by a combined score of 71-16.
"If we keep doing our thing and they keep doing their thing, no question," Gore said. "They're a great team, and we're a great team.
"We play well on the road. How we go about it in the season, we go by quarters. It's the fourth quarter now. We want to be that team going to get to that next level, trying to get that (Lombardi) trophy. You got to take the
north direction. This is a big win. We're taking small steps. We still got a lot to learn. But that's a good thing. We beat a good team like Seattle and we're still not playing our best ball. That's great."
The 49ers marched 76 yards in 11 plays for Dawson's 22-yard game-winner. After Gore's big run, quarterback Colin Kaepernick swept left end for 8 yards on third-and-7 from the 15, giving the 49ers first-and-goal from the 7 with 2:39 left to play. Four plays later, Dawson connected.
"We didn't project it to be this way," Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said. "We expected to blow them out, but they got the benefit of a few calls throughout the game and that helps you, especially on third down. We will see them again, and it will be a different result."
Kaepernick completed 15 of 29 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown with one interception, and 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin caught six passes for 93 yards as San Francisco won its third straight game.
"We're playing playoff football," Boldin said. "It's either win or go home. That's how we feel. We're getting hot at the right time. That's what you want. You want to play your best football in December and January. We feel like we're hitting our stride."
In the end, the 49ers made what linebacker NaVorro Bowman called a "statement to world" with their victory over Seattle.
"This is still our division until someone takes it from us," Bowman said.
NFL Team Report - San Francisco 49ers - NOTES, QUOTES
The 49ers held Seattle to just 17 points and 264 net yards on offense. In their past six games, they've held opponents to an average of 12.2 points.
"Just running and hitting, hitting and running. Competing," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said of his defense's performance Sunday. "That's a very tough offense. Their run game and just their weapons and the way the quarterback (Russell Wilson) moves around, it's tough to contain. To hold them to 17 points is a really great accomplishment."
--Opposing defenses should prepare to face a larger dose of designed runs from quarterback Colin Kaepernick down the stretch. Last season, Kaepernick killed opposing defenses with his speed, gaining huge chunks of yardage on read-option plays.
Kaepernick hasn't run nearly as often this season, but against Seattle, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman sprinkled in a few more read-option plays and also used Kaepernick on a quarterback draw and a QB sweep.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was a big win against a really big opponent. They have a very solid team and with the way they've beaten us the last two times up in their place, this kind of felt like this was a must-win game for us." -- LT Joe Staley, on the 49ers' 19-17 victory against Seattle.
NFL Team Report - San Francisco 49ers - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--LG Mike Iupati (knee) missed his third straight game for the 49ers. Adam Snyder started in his place.
--CB Tarell Brown (ribs) was inactive for the third straight game.
--Niners nickel CB Eric Wright was injured late in the third quarter, taking a knee to the head, and left the game, but he returned and intercepted QB Russell Wilson's final pass.