The San Francisco 49ers needed a win coming off an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the New York Giants. They got one, though it wasn’t easy–or pretty. The Niners managed to survive a tough challenge from the physically intimidating and defensively tenacious Seattle Seahawks. Only one touchdown was scored in the game but that was enough for San Francisco who prevailed 13-6 at Candlestick Park on Thursday night.
Seattle’s defense has been the catalyst of their improvement this season and they did a decent job containing the Niners on Thursday. Frank Gore, however, managed to do enough against the Seahawks’ stout run defense to allow his team to control the time of possession and field position battles. The Niners rushed for 175 yards, 131 by Gore. Quarterback Alex Smith wasn’t great, but did throw the only touchdown pass of the game. The Seahawks held a 6-3 halftime lead so the Smith touchdown pass was the decisive blow of the game.
San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh was proud of the way his team responded to the physicality of the Seahawks:
“That was the most physical 30 minutes of football in the second half that I have ever seen our football team play. It’s a sweet win. It was a real football fight, and our guys won it.”
Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll sounded a similar note:
“We found ourselves in a real slugfest here today. I’m not surprised it could have gone that way with two good defenses and two teams committed to running the ball.”
NFL betting enthusiasts will remember this game for a long time due to an unusual set of circumstances late in the contest that determined the point spread outcome of the game. With the Seahawks facing a desperation 4th and 17 situation with time running out Seattle QB Russell Wilson hit Ben Obomanu close to the first down marker. Earlier in the play, however, the refs flagged Seattle left guard Paul McQuistan for a chop-block in the end zone. This would have resulted in a safety and a 9 point win for the Niners. Since the Seahawks didn’t make the first down Niners’ coach Harbaugh opted to decline the penalty (and the 2 points) and take over possession on downs instead of giving Seattle the opportunity to run an onside kick. The Niners closed a -7.5 or -8 point favorite, meaning that a safety would have given the pointspread cover to San Francisco. Instead, Seattle backers got the money.