By Brady Henderson
SAN FRANCISCO – For three and a half quarters, the Seahawks did what they’ve so often been unable to do.
Their defense had bottled up Frank Gore – a thorn in Seattle’s side for much of his career – up until when San Francisco lined up for a first-and-10 play trailing 17-16 with under 5 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
We just got outplayed on that play,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of the 51-yard run by San Francisco’s Frank Gore, which set up the 49ers’ game-winning field goal. (AP)
That’s when a defensive lapse allowed Gore to break free and deliver the decisive blow in the latest slugfest between NFC West heavyweights, a 51-yard run that set up the 49ers’ game-winning field goal.
“They had run the play a few times during the game and we stopped it,” coach Pete Carroll said after Seattle lost 19-17 at Candlestick Park, “but that time it got away.”
Gore certainly did, first taking the handoff and running off tackle to the left before cutting back to his right and running by the second and third levels of Seattle’s defense. He wisely stayed in bounds when he was tackled, thereby limiting the time Seattle would have on the ensuing and final possession.
No one in the losing team’s locker room knew exactly what happened on that play, only that is was the game’s defining moment. Seattle was ahead 17-16 at the time, having just kicked a field goal that changed the game’s lead and capped a shift in its momentum. One defensive stop may have iced the game for the Seahawks. Instead, one defensive miscue helped lose it for them.
“I can’t tell you who was out of position or what,” said safety Kam Chancellor. “All I know is we had a bust on that play.”
More coverage of the Seahawks’ Week-14 loss to San Francisco at Candlestick Park.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Postgame interviews||• O’Neil: What We Learned||• O’Neil: Seahawks get an important reminder||• O’Neil: Should Seahawks have let 49ers score?||• ‘The Pete Carroll Show’: Wright to have surgery||• Henderson: Seahawks’ penalties loom large|
It was the longest run Seattle has allowed this season, and an uncharacteristic mistake for a defense that rarely gives up big plays.
Gore burning the Seahawks is nothing new, however. After all, he has more rushing yards against Seattle in his nine-year career than any other team. And a year ago, the lasting image of the Seahawks’ loss to the 49ers in San Francisco was Gore breaking off long runs against a defense that didn’t seem to have a clue how to stop him.
This was different, though. Gore had all of 54 yards Sunday before that big run, and San Francisco hadn’t gained more than 9 yards on a running play up until that point.
“We did a good job of holding them, limiting them for the most part,” said middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, “but they got that big run at a crucial time, and that hurt us.”
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.