SEATTLE — Road victories have been in short supply for the 49ers over the years against Pete Carroll’s Seahawks team.
In fact, the 49ers' 31-13 win over the Seahawks on Thursday night was the first time San Francisco has ever won in the Pacific Northwest in back-to-back seasons.
The victory appeared to be in hand at halftime.
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In the third quarter, not so much.
“I don't expect us to come out and give it to them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said of a pick-six that gave the Seahawks some hope early in the third quarter.
“I still expect to play well, but you never go into halftime thinking, ‘All right, we got a chance to go out there and blow them out.’ When you think that way, usually you get humbled extremely fast.”
However, the 49ers did enough good things in the second half to keep the Seahawks at distance and gain a two-game lead in the NFC West standings.
San Francisco 49ers
Here are the grades from the 49ers’ Week 12 game:
The 49ers held the ball for 35 1/2 minutes of the game, thanks in large part to the effectiveness of the running game.
Christian McCaffrey, the NFL’s leading rusher, gained 114 yards and scored two touchdowns on 19 rushing attempts. His 8-yard touchdown run was a thing of beauty that exhibited his patience for the hole to develop, then his power to break tackles and drag people into the end zone.
Elijah Mitchell stepped up in the fourth quarter and helped set up the 49ers’ clinching touchdown. He finished with 39 yards on seven carries.
Brock Purdy bounced back from the first pick-six of his NFL career to deliver a perfectly thrown 28-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Aiyuk in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
Purdy opened the door for a potential Seahawks comeback with a poor throw that McCaffrey deflected toward Seattle linebacker Jordyn Brooks, who returned the interception 12 yards for a touchdown.
On the night, Purdy was 21 of 30 for 209 yards with one touchdown pass and one interception.
Deebo Samuel had a solid game with seven receptions for 79 yards.
The Seahawks got some yardage on end-arounds and Geno Smith had some success on scrambles, but Seattle running back Zach Charbonnet found it difficult to find any room to run, gaining just 47 yards on 14 carries.
Javon Hargrave had a monster game with seven tackles — an unusually high number for a defensive tackle.
Linebackers Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner added eight and six tackles, respectively.
Cornerback Charvarius Ward certainly was one of the stars of the game with three passes defensed as he shadowed star Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf, who caught just three of the nine passes quarterback Geno Smith threw his way. Ward shut down Metcalf, allowing him only 32 receiving yards.
Cornerback Ambry Thomas had an interception of a pass intended for Tyler Lockett, who had just three receptions for 30 yards.
The 49ers registered six sacks with Nick Bosa leading the way with two. Hargrave added 1.5.
It did not start off all that well for special teams.
The 49ers’ kickoff coverage unit surrendered a 67-yard return to Dee Eskridge with Darrell Luter saving the touchdown early in the first quarter. Seattle did not move the ball from there and settled for a field goal.
But from that point forward, the 49ers made a lot of plays on special teams.
The punt coverage team made a phenomenal play when Samuel Womack gathered in Mitch Wishnowsky’s punt before it went into the end zone and tossed it back to Ronnie Bell, who downed it at the 2-yard line.
Bell later came up with a recovery of a muffed punt. The 49ers scored three points off that takeaway on Jake Moody’s 32-yard field goal. The rookie kicker made all four of his extra-point attempts.
The game plans on both sides of the ball were well-constructed, beginning with the decision to have Ward travel with Metcalf. The move to play tight coverage forced Smith to hold the ball longer than he wanted, which resulted in him getting dropped for six sacks.
From the outset, the offense was well-balanced between run and pass. And when Purdy made a mistake, coach Kyle Shanahan gave him an opportunity for the shot to Aiyuk that clinched the game.
Even when the 49ers had a 21-point lead at halftime, they knew there would be a time when they’d be tested in the second half. That time came after the pick-six.
But, to a man, the 49ers said there was no panic on the sideline.
The defense did not allow the Seahawks to get any closer. This ended up being a gritty kind of victory for the 49ers, who won back-to-back seasons in Seattle for the first time in franchise history.