San Francisco, CA -- This is a glimpse of what the playoffs will look like, if these two teams meet again. With a win today, the Seattle Seahawks would've clinched the NFC West but the Forty-Niners had other plans.
Their recent Monday Night performance against the New Orleans Saints showed why the Seahawks had only one loss coming into today's game. San Francisco still had a bad taste in their mouths from the loss they suffered back in September and couldn't wait for the rematch.
Frank Gore brought the sellout crowd to their feet late in the fourth quarter. He found a hole to run through giving the 49ers a first down, to set up the game winning field goal to beat the Seahawks 19-17.
"My O-line did a great job," said Gore. "When I saw the hole I kind of knew that 29 [safety Earl Thomas] was going, he's so fast to the ball. So, I kind of set him outside and then broke him back in because he's so aggressive."
Frank rushed for a game-high 110 yards on 17 carries, including a season-long 51-yard late in the fourth. That was his longest run since 10/16/11 at Detroit and that was for 55-yards. The veteran running back didn't need to be advised on running out the clock so Phil Dawson could kick a field goal.
San Francisco fought against a dominant defense but prevailed in the end. It was a collective effort by all, the 49ers defense smothered Russell Wilson and Seattle's offense all day. With 31 seconds left in the game, Wilson went deep and threw to Jermaine Kearse but the ball was intercepted by Eric Wright to end the game.
"My eyes got big [on Wilson's last pass]," said Linebacker NaVorro Bowman. "We had two guys down there, so I was happy after that. But whenever he throws the ball, you get a little nervous. Guys did a great job."
The defense set the tone early when they shut the Seahawks offense down in the first quarter. Unable to score, Seattle got frustrated, mounting on penalties. But they recovered in the second quarter when they scored two touchdowns, Marshawn Lynch rushed up the middle for the 11-yard touchdown and Seattle got back into this ball game.
Dawson kicked his third field goal for 52-yards to give San Francisco a 9-7 lead. But field goals won't cut it against this team. Wilson completed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Luke Wilson. And Colin Kaepernick answered back with a 8-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis to reclaim the lead and end the half 16-14.
"Anytime you play a team that's in your conference, it's imperative that you win, especially if you want to look good later on," Davis said. "It was great thing that we went out there and were able to come out with a victory, especially against those guys."
"We're playing for our lives," said Wide Receiver Anquan Boldin. "We're playing playoff football right now. It's win or go home."
It certainly felt like a playoff game. Both quarterbacks matched up well, Wilson went 15 of 25 for 199 yards with a touchdown and interception. Kaepernick threw for 175 yards and completed 15 of 29 passes with a touchdown and interception.
The 49ers realize they may have to return to Seattle if they want to return to the Super Bowl but the two year reign division champs aren't worried. They stay unbeaten at home and rarely lose against any team in the NFC West. The Seahawks will eventually clinch the division but not at Candlestick Park.
"It's December and we're playing our best football," Bowman said. "There's something about this game that required a full 60 minutes of football."