By Danny O’Neil
SAN FRANCISCO — The game was decided by the 49ers kicking a 22-yard field goal with 26 seconds left.
It’s this 19-17 loss at Candlestick Park that the Seattle Seahawks will truly be kicking themselves over, though. For the penalties that cost them 80 yards in the first three quarters alone. For settling for a field goal after Golden Tate’s punt return gave them the ball inside the San Francisco 30-yard line in the fourth quarter.
And most of all, they will be kicking themselves over the fact that Seattle gave up the longest run it has allowed all season — a 51-yard gain by Frank Gore — at the worst possible moment: With 5 minutes left in a game that Seattle led by one point.
The result put the 49ers in position for Phil Dawson’s game-winning field goal which snapped Seattle’s regular-season winning streak at seven games and its division winning streak at six.
Seattle ran one play on its final drive, Russell Wilson getting picked off on a desperation heave toward Jermaine Kearse, which wrapped up a thrilling game in which there were six lead changes.
The significance: Seattle had its six-game winning streak in the division snapped, and failed to clinch the NFC West. The Seahawks must win two of their final three regular-season games to be assured of winning the NFC West.
Play of the game: Frank Gore ran for 51 yards in the final 5 minutes, the biggest play of the game both in terms of the yardage gained and importance. It put the 49ers in position for their game-winning field goal and was the longest run allowed by Seattle this season.
Turning point: Colin Kaepernick’s 8-yard run on a designed keeper didn’t win the game. That was Phil Dawson’s 22-yard field goal with 26 seconds left. It didn’t put the 49ers in position for that game-winning kick, either. But coming with just over 3 minutes left in the game, it gave the 49ers a first down, allowing them to bleed the clock after Seattle had exhausted its timeouts.
Player of the game: Frank Gore rushed 17 times for 110 yards, the first back to surpass the century mark since Tampa Bay’s Mike James did it in Week 9. Gore is the fourth back to gain more than 100 yards on the ground against Seattle this season.
The good: Seahawks’ Steven Hauschka made a 31-yard field goal with 6:20 left to give Seattle a 17-16 lead. It was his 18th consecutive field-goal conversion, second-longest streak in franchise history. Marshawn Lynch’s second-quarter touchdown was his seventh in the past eight games. Tight end Luke Willson caught a 39-yard pass in the second quarter for his first career touchdown. He had two receptions on the scoring drive, accounting for 68 yards on the 72-yard drive. Russell Wilson was 8-for-11 passing in the first half for 144 yards and a touchdown. His rating: 145.1. Cornerback Byron Maxwell picked off a third-quarter pass, ending what had been a promising drive for the 49ers. The Seahawks had two sacks in the fourth quarter.
The bad: Seattle gained 64 yards on offense in the third quarter and lost 45 yards because of penalties in that period alone. San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis scored on an 8-yard pass with 10 seconds left in the first half, it was only the 49ers’ second touchdown in the last 14 quarters against Seattle. The Seahawks scored 11 in that same span. The Seahawks had a first-quarter punt blocked by Kassim Osgood, the second time this season San Francisco blocked a Seattle punt. Craig Dahl blocked a Seahawks’ punt back in Week 2. The 49ers scored first on a field goal with 5:04 left in the first quarter. It was only the fourth time this season the Seahawks did not score first.
The ugly: Lynch had two runs nullified by penalty, first on a holding penalty by Russell Okung in the first quarter and then a 20-yard run negated by a facemask penalty against fullback Michael Robinson in the third quarter. The Seahawks allowed six points in the first quarter, which matched the total points they’d given up in the opening period of the previous six games combined.
Seattle: Linebacker K.J. Wright left with a foot injury in the second quarter and did not return. Center Max Unger left the game with a chest injury after three quarters. San Francisco: Cornerback Eric Wright suffered a head injury in the third quarter.
Seattle: WR Percy Harvin, RB Christine Michael, CB Brandon Browner, OL Michael Bowie, OL Caylinn Hauptmann, DE Benson Mayowa, DT Jordan Hill. San Francisco: WR Quinton Patton, CB Tarell Brown, DT Quinton Dial, G Mike Iupati, WR Jon Baldwin, TE Garrett Celek, DT Tank Carradine.