Wilson helps Seahawks maintain dominance over 49ers
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — It didn’t take the Legion of Boom to doom the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
The short-handed Seattle defense kept the 49ers out of the end zone until the final play of the game, and Russell Wilson accounted for three touchdowns, two through the air, lifting the Seahawks to their fourth consecutive road win with a 24-13 triumph at Levi’s Stadium.
The win was the Seahawks’ eighth straight in the regular season over the 49ers (1-10), who were coming off a bye that followed their first win of the season, 31-21 over the New York Giants.
“When you play against your division opponents, the games are never easy because you play each other so much,” claimed Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, who had one of Seattle’s three sacks on 49ers starter C.J. Beathard. “This is a heated rivalry.”
Even without defensive end Cliff Avril, cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Kam Chancellor, the Seahawks (7-4) surrendered just 280 total yards, hit Beathard 13 times and forced an interception that led to Seattle’s first score of the game.
“We did what we needed to do,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll boasted. “What I was really excited about is we were banged up going into this game. Then these guys stuck it out and did a really good job to come through and play football like we needed them to, and gave us a chance to win a football game.”
The Seattle defense limited the 49ers to a pair of Robbie Gould field goals before Jimmy Garoppolo threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to wideout Louis Murphy as time expired. Garoppolo replaced an injured Beathard with 1:07 remaining.
“It was cool,” Garoppolo noted after completing both passes he attempted in his 49ers debut. “I’ve been saying it for four years: You never know when your time is going to come, if it’s going to come. So when it does, you’ve got to take advantage of it.”
Gould’s second field goal, a 42-yarder, got the 49ers within 7-6 with 9:19 remaining in the third quarter.
But Wilson then drove the Seahawks 71 yards in six plays, connecting with Doug Baldwin and Tanner McAvoy for 23 and 24 yards, respectively, on consecutive plays before finding backup tight end Nick Vannett for a 17-yard touchdown to increase the lead to 14-6.
After a 49ers punt, Wilson went right back to work, scrambling 11 yards for a first down to help set up a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jimmy Graham on the first play of the fourth quarter.
“He’s an amazing guy,” 49ers rookie linebacker Reuben Foster gushed of Wilson. “He’s shifty and he’s quick. God gave him that athleticism.”
The touchdown catch was Graham’s eighth in his last seven games.
Blair Walsh’s 34-yard field goal with 3:27 remaining capped the Seahawks’ scoring.
Wilson finished 20 of 34 for 228 yards and the two touchdowns, his sixth straight game with at least two. He also had a 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that opened the game’s scoring.
The Seahawks rushed for just 90 yards on 30 carries and totaled only 318 yards of total offense, numbers Shanahan found praise-worthy for his defense afterward.
“I thought our defense seemed to play very well,” he observed. “They gave us a chance to win this game. It seemed like they were around (Wilson) a lot, but as always, Russell always makes some pretty good plays.”
Beathard, often booed as the home crowd anticipated the 49ers debut of the recently acquired Garoppolo, went 22 of 38 for 201 yards. He was sacked three times and intercepted once.
Garoppolo completed both his passes for 18 yards and the one score.
The Seahawks capitalized on an interception by linebacker Bobby Wagner at the San Francisco 16-yard line to score the game’s first touchdown in the second minute of the second quarter.
Wagner both stripped the ball from 49ers receiver Trent Taylor on the play and corralled it as he was lying on his back.
“I have never seen an interception like that,” Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright claimed. “For him not to practice all week and come out there and have the game that he did, it was just extraordinary.”
Wilson got the score, his third in the last three games, on a keeper after running back J.D. McKissic had gotten the Seahawks close with a 14-yard run.
The Seahawks held the 49ers to 132 total yards in the first half, 47 of which came on a seven-play drive to San Francisco’s first score — a 38-yard field goal by Gould with four seconds remaining in the second quarter.
NOTES: The win capped a season-series sweep for the Seahawks, who beat the 49ers 12-9 in Seattle in Week 2. ... Seattle has limited the 49ers to 13 points or fewer in three of their last four meetings. ... The Seahawks have alternated wins and losses the last five weeks. ... The 49ers were held to 13 points or fewer for the fourth time in their last five games. ... 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo warmed up several times on the sideline during the game, but appeared headed for his third straight game with no action until QB C.J. Beathard got shaken up after throwing an incomplete pass with 1:07 left.