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Takeaways: LB Bobby Wagner steals the show in Seahawks’ win over 49ers

Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner got the first pick-six of his career Sunday. (AP)

The Seahawks got their third consecutive win Sunday, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 43-16 to improve to 7-5 on the season. There’s four games still to play, but for now the win – combined with losses by the Packers, Bears, Panthers and Vikings – allowed Seattle to slip into one of the NFC’s two wild card spots.

Hawks handle 49ers | Evaluating Wilson | Takeaways | 710 reacts | Photos

Headlines leading up to the game centered around ex-Seahawk and current 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman making his return to Seattle. By game’s end, though, it was another defensive player who stole the spotlight.

Here are a few takeaways from Week 13:

‘You can’t talk about this game unless you talk about Bobby Wagner’

It’s hard to say one of the league’s most established linebackers had a career night, but Bobby Wagner had one of the strongest outings of his seven years as a pro in Seattle’s win.

Wagner finished the night with 12 tackles (including two for a loss), two quarterback hits, one sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a goal-line pick-six.

Wagner’s interception came with 4: 20 remaining in the fourth quarter. Facing third-and-3 from Seattle’s 5-yard line, 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens threw down the middle toward running back Jeff Wilson. Wagner, though, spotted the play and cut underneath Wilson to snatch the pass, then returned it 98 yards by outrunning Mullens for the Seahawks’ final score of the game.

It was the first pick-six of Wagner’s career. Actually, it might’ve been his first pick-six ever.

“I don’t even remember (the last time I sprinted 98 yards),” Wagner told reporters postgame. “I think that was the first pick-six in my life. Like I said, I was just trying to make sure the quarterback didn’t catch me because if he did, everyone was going to give me (a hard time). It was extra nice to be running along the 49ers sideline. I tried to look at Sherm (Richard Sherman), but I didn’t see him.”

Added head coach Pete Carroll: “You can’t talk about this game unless you talk about Bobby Wagner. He just had a phenomenal game. There’s not many more things the guy could do.”

Seattle’s defense excels again in the red zone

Seattle’s defense limited San Francisco – a team that entered Sunday ranked fifth overall in rushing yards per game – to 66 yards on the ground. However, Mullens threw for 414 yards and two touchdowns in just the fourth start of his career. Former UW Huskies standout Dante Pettis was the target on both touchdowns and finished his night with 129 yards on five receptions.

Carroll noted that yardage, but also had good things to say about pressure from the front seven.

“I thought the pocket was knocked down quite a bit,” Carroll said. “There was some good stuff happening up front. The guys are really pushing hard. It’s been kind of consistent for the last three weeks it seems, and hopefully we can keep pushing there, keep going.”

Overall, Seattle’s defense nearly kept the 49ers out of the end zone completely, allowing just one touchdown on four trips inside the 20.

Injury updates

The Seahawks lost two starters in the fourth quarter when running back Chris Carson exited the game with a dislocated finger and right guard D.J. Fluker left with a hamstring injury. Carroll said Carson “should be OK,” but that the severity of Fluker’s injury is yet unknown.