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The San Francisco 49ers pulled off yet another win on Saturday against the hometown Seattle Seahawks. The win was a skin-of-their-teeth affair, requiring two come-from-behind sequences to knock off the surprising Seattle squad. If not for the heroics of kicker David Akers, the 49ers probably would have fallen short in Week 16.
Let's take a look at some of the key stats in this game, including another record-setting week by Akers.
It was quite a week for Akers. On Monday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he broke the 49ers record for points scored in a single season, previously held by Jerry Rice. He of course extended that record on Saturday, scoring a full 13 of the 19 total 49ers points. More impressively, Akers tied and then broke the previous NFL record for most successful field goals in a single season. The old mark was held by Neil Rackers, with 40 field goals in 2005. Following four field goals on five attempts by Akers against the Seahawks, he holds the new record of 42, with a week left to play.
Alex Smith got credit for notching his fifth come-from-behind win this season, four of which have come on the road. This ties the 49ers franchise record for comeback wins on the road in a season, last set by Joe Montana in 1989. Smith finished the game 14-for-26 with 179 passing yards, 22 rushing yards, no interceptions and no touchdowns.
Finally, much ado was made about the Seahawks stunning the 49ers defense by Marshawn Lynch having scored the first rushing touchdown against them all season, as well as being the first 100-yard rusher in a game against San Francisco in 36 straight games. But it is worth noting that San Francisco still boasts the stingiest defense in the NFL. They have only allowed 13.5 points per game, which is a full point lower than the Steelers and on pace to set the mark for the lowest in franchise history.
For all news and information regarding the San Francisco 49ers, please visit Niners Nation.
The San Francisco 49ers clawed and battled their way to victory on Saturday as they held off the Seattle Seahawks in a 19-17 victory at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. It was not pretty, but it was effective as the 49ers improved to 12-3, ensuring their first 12-win season since 2001.
The 49ers moved a half game ahead of the New Orleans Saints for the second seed in the NFC playoff race. The Saints play the Falcons on Monday Night Football looking to maintain pace with the 49ers at 12-3. The 49ers hold the tiebreaker due to conference record, which means if the 49ers defeat the St. Louis Rams next week, they clinch the two seed. The same holds true with a Saints loss on Monday or next week.
The 49ers actually have a shot at the number one seed as well. They currently sit a game and a half back of the Green Bay Packers, who will be hosting the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football. If the Packers lose to the Bears and next week to the Detroit Lions, a 49ers win over the Rams would actually lock up the number one seed for the 49ers. The odds are slim, but it remains in play for the time-being.
In other playoff news, the Detroit Lions locked up one of the two wild card slots as they improved to 10-5 with a big win over the San Diego Chargers. The Atlanta Falcons are closing in on the other wild card berth and maintain the edge even if the lose to the Saints on Monday. The Giants and Cowboys will square off on Sunday Night Football next week with the winner taking the NFC East and the winner going home for the offseason.
The San Francisco 49ers have won so many games this season through special teams and field position. On Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks, they almost lost a game due to both of those things. For one, it was an Andy Lee punt that was blocked to set up the initial Marshawn Lynch touchdown run that gave Seattle the lead late. Lynch scampered outside and became the first player to score a rushing touchdown against the 49ers, virtually gifted the touchdown with the great field position.
On top of that, the Seahawks largely dominated the first half, and that's due to the nature of the field position battle. Once you get pinned inside your own ten-yard line, if you don't get out and your defense holds, you're likely to get pinned again. And eventually, the other team is starting right about inside field goal range.
Early on in the game, the Seahawks started at their own 43-yard line. The 49ers forced a punt, but ended up starting at their own nine-yard line. After Seattle got the ball again and punted, the 49ers got the ball at the five-yard line, and Seattle would then go on to take over at San Francisco's 43-yard line.
But in the second half, the 49ers did certainly benefit from better field position. And because of that, they were able to score, with David Akers connecting on multiple field goals to give them the eventual lead. The field position battle has been the most important thing for the 49ers this season and when it didn't go there way, they almost lost the game. It will continue to be a key factor going forward.
On Saturday, the San Francisco 49ers saw a record broken and one particular record pull out of reach in their 19-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks. The record that was broken was significant, as David Akers now has the most field goals of any kicker in a single season. Based on that, he really should be going to the Pro Bowl, but that's a discussion for a different day. Akers passed the record of 40, and now has 42 with a full game left to play. On top of that, it was his field goals that gave the 49ers the lead they needed in the closing minutes.
Marshawn Lynch kept the 49ers from their coveted rushing records. Coveted is used here somewhat ironically, because it's obvious that the win is the most important thing for the team. Still, Lynch scored a rushing touchdown, becoming the first player all season to do so. The 49ers had already set a record last week when they didn't allow one in 14-straight games. Lynch also ended up getting 100 yards, breaking the 36-game streak the 49ers had going in that regard.
Still, San Francisco can finish the season having allowed just one rushing touchdown, which would be an NFL record. Over a 16-game season, the record is four rushing touchdowns allowed, so that could still happen. Is this one of the NFL's best rush defenses of all time? It sure is.
On top of that stuff, Alex Smith has now led just as many fourth-quarter comebacks on the road in a single season as Joe Montana. And lastly, Aldon Smith continues to set the bar higher for 49ers rookies and their sack totals. In fact, he's just half a sack away from tying the NFL record set by Jevon Kearse in 1999. Not quite a historic day for Aldon, but he's moving closer.
The San Francisco 49ers visited the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16 action on Sunday, as both teams were in pursuit of a win with postseason implications. For the Seahawks, they needed the win to keep their hopes for a playoff berth alive. For the 49ers, they are still in search of a first-round bye and prime postseason seed. In the end, the 49ers would rely once again on strong defense and a talented kicker to twice come from behind and pick up the 19-17 victory.
The 49ers fell behind early on a Doug Baldwin touchdown pass in the first quarter and were down 10-3 entering halftime. Head coach Tim Harbaugh must have fired up the squad during the half, as the team took the field and immediately drove to score their first and ultimately only touchdown of the game on a Frank Gore run. The rest of the game belonged to special teams.
Kicker David Akers has now set records in back-to-back weeks. On Monday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he broke the 49ers franchise record for most points scored in a season, previously held by Jerry Rice. This week, he had Neil Rackers in his sights. He tied the single-season NFL record for most field goals with his 40th of the year in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, he broke the record and made it his own with this field goal:
Akers would later add yet another fourth-quarter field goals, extending both records in the process. In all, Akers was responsible for 13 of the 19 points scored by the 49ers, which is nothing new this season, but still impressive. His four field goals were from 53, 29, 44 and 39 yards, in order.
Another big win for the 49ers this week, although they lost two of their big 2011 bragging points. Entering the game, they had allowed neither a rushing touchdown or a 100-yard rushing game by a single player all season. Marshawn Lynch obliterated both of those marks in the fourth quarter. He first scored on a 4-yard touchdown run which at the time put the Seahawks on top by a score of 17-16. Following that, he picked up the requisite yards needed to cross the 100-yard threshold. He finished the game with 107 yards on 21 carries.
The San Francisco 49ers were trailing the hometown Seattle Seahawks 10-3 at halftime. The Seahawks certainly need the win more than the Niners do, but San Francisco is showing no indications of rolling over in Week 16. Entering the final quarter of regulation, the 49ers hold a 13-10 lead.
The Niners came out swinging right away in the second half, as quarterback Alex Smith led his team on an eight-play, 71-yard drive following the kickoff. Smith hooked up with Vernon Davis on a pair of deep passes before handing the ball off to Frank Gore, who ran right with a four-yard touchdown rush.
Kyle Williams, who is subbing in for the injured Ted Ginn Jr., returned a punt past midfield to give the 49ers excellent field position on their next set of offensive downs. The 49ers opened up another big drive that made their first half against the Seattle squad look like something of an anomaly, including big first-down runs by Gore and Smith. Unfortunately, although the Niners appeared to make it to the one-yard line, an illegal block in the back by Braylon Edwards had them settling for yet another David Akers field goal.
The field goal was the 40th of the year for Akers, tying him with Neil Rackers for most field goals in a season by any NFL kicker.
Seattle's Marshawn Lynch was held to just a eight yards in the third quarter, although he holds 91 yards in the game on 17 carries.
The San Francisco 49ers are visiting a Seattle Seahawks team that has designs on the postseason. Through the first half of play in their Week 16 matchup, the Niners are discovering just how motivated this Seattle team is. At halftime, the Seahawks lead by a score of 10-3.
After missing a 52-yard field goal in the first quarter, David Akers was able to make a 53-yard attempt in the secodn quarter to get the 49ers on the board and close the gap to 7-3.
The Seattle Seahawks went on another drive in the final four minutes of the game, led by powerful running back Marshawn Lynch and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. They ended up well within the red zone at the two minute warning, seemingly intent on being the first team to score a rushing TD against the Niners in 2011. After Marshawn Lynch was stopped at the goal line, however, Jackson attempted to run it in himself, but was knocked out of bounds at the two-yard line. The Seahawks were forced to settle for a Steven Hauschka field goal.
Another 49ers defensive bragging point is in danger of falling, as well. The Niners have not allowed a 100-yard rusher all season, but Lynch is already at over 80 yards through the first half.
The 49ers started a drive with 1:30 remaining in the first half that took them past midfield, and attempted a conversion on 4th and 6 with less than thirty second left. The Alex Smith pass to Kyle Williams was incomplete, however, sending the 49ers to halftime down 10-3.
San Francisco's offense will need to wake up in the second half if they want to get the game back under control.
The Week 16 game pitting the San Francisco 49ers against the Seattle Seahawks has not been going the way the 49ers had hoped. In the early going, they are trailing against the hometown Seahawks and have seen several players get dinged up already in the first quarter of play.
The most significant injury so far appears to be to tight end Delanie Walker, who was kneed in the helmet at the end of a play hard enough to have the helmet fly off, after which his head appeared to hit the ground. He stayed down for a long time as he was tended to by trainers, resulting in an injury delay. Walker was carted off the field but was sitting up.
Defensive end Justin Smith appeared to be injured on the very first play of the game as he left the field following the play. He jogged off the field to be looked at in the locker room and jogged back with no noticeable limp.
Linebacker Ahmad Brooks had trainers looking at his leg on the sidelines during the first quarter. Both he and Smith have their helmets on and look ready to play.
The San Francisco 49ers are visiting the Seattle Seahawks for their Week 16 NFL matchup. The Niners are in the hunt for one of the top two seeds into the postseason and are coming off a dominant performance against the PIttsburgh Steelers on Monday night. The Seahawks, meanwhile, are in search of a playoff berth of their own and need their fourth straight victory this week in order to keep those hopes alive.
The Seahawks jumped out to an early lead as Doug Baldwin scored on a touchdown pass from quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has been openly covetous of the rookie Baldwin, stating that he wishes he had been able to draft the wide receiver for San Francisco.
On the following San Francisco possession, a drive came up short when David Akers missed a 52-yard field goal attempt, which is a rarity for the kicker in 2011.
After the first quarter, the Niners trail 7-0.
The San Francisco 49ers are traveling to Washington to take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16 action. Both teams are streaking and have the playoffs firmly in mind. The Seahawks will need to win today in order to keep their playoff dreams alive, while the Niners are trying to win out the season to ensure the best possible postseason seed.
The full lists:
The 49ers are coming off a huge win over the Steelers on Monday Night Football and had a quick turnaround before heading to Seattle to face the surging Seahawks. With San Francisco battling for home field advantage in the playoffs, the last two weeks of the regular season are critical for the organization.
The Seahawks will not go away easily. At 7-7, the team has won three in a row and five of their last six. And while they're currently on the outside of the playoff picture, they still have an outside chance of reaching the postseason, even if it is unlikely. Here is the game day coverage for the NFC West matchup.
Start Time: Kickoff is set for 1:15 p.m. from Seattle. That's a 4:15 p.m. on the east coast.
TV Coverage: FOX will broadcast the game throughout most of the west coast, with Ron Pitts and Charles Davis calling the action.
Radio: KNBR 680/150 will air the game across the Bay Area and the surrounding regions.
Opening Line: The 49ers are favored by 2 1/2 points.
On Saturday, there will be plenty of matchups to pay specific attention to for the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. NaVorro Bowman and the rest of the defense is going to try and contain Marshawn Lynch to become one of the NFL's best-ever rushing defenses, while Aldon Smith is trying to further his bid for defensive rookie of the year. But perhaps the most important matchup on Saturday is right tackle Anthony Davis, and his battle against the crowd noise in Seattle.
Yeah, and also Chris Clemons. Don't forget about that guy.
Seattle boasts the loudest outdoor stadium in the NFL (unofficially), and offenses average two false-start penalties a game there. The 49ers have struggled there in the past and even when the Seahawks aren't good (one could argue that this is one of those seasons, though they've turned it up in recent weeks), teams still regard road trips to Seattle as a tough game on their schedule.
On top of that, Clemons leads the Seahawks in sacks, with 11, and could be a deadly combination along with the crowd noise. Davis has a tendency to get beat badly when he does get beat, falling behind in games and not recovering, which could be a product of his age. Clemons is exactly the kind of guy who would take advantage of a potential slumping Davis to beat the 49ers for multiple sacks on Saturday.
Davis is still a very young tackle, but he's received much of 49ers fans' ire when it comes to mistakes - mental and physical. After being abused to start the season by, notably, Jason Babin, he's recovered well over the last couple games. He also struggled against Terrell Suggs in Baltimore and didn't have an easy time with Chris Long in St. Louis, but has rallied back with strong outings against Pittsburgh and Arizona. In fact, he was potentially the best tackle on the field against the Steelers on Monday night.
We'll see on Saturday if Davis is ready for this test. It's a pivotal point in his career, what with Alex Boone getting a recent extension. It's just his second year in the NFL, so it's not likely that Davis is going to be replaced if he does poorly in this game, but with this level of crowd noise, it will be one where special attention is paid to how he holds up.
The 49ers final injury report for this week is out and all in all, the team isn't in terrible shape. The big question on everyone's mind is whether LB Patrick Willis will play, and right now he's officially listed as questionable by the team after practicing on a limited basis on Friday. Also joining him on the questionable list are WRs Braylon Edwards and Ted Ginn, and running back Bruce Miller.
The Seahawks main injury concern is WR Doug Baldwin, who is listed as questionable after sitting out of practice on friday. Here are the full injury reports for both teams.
Doubtful - CB Kennard Cox (hamstring), DT Clinton McDonald (concussion), LB Malcolm Smith (concussion)
Questionable - WR Doug Baldwin (ankle)
Probable - G Robert Gallery (pelvis), LB David Hawthorne (knee), QB Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral)
Once again, it's time to consider whether or not linebacker Patrick Willis should suit up and take the field for the 49ers. Following his hamstring injury against the St. Louis Rams, the question of whether or not the 49ers should play Willis, if cleared, has come up twice - before the game against the Arizona Cardinals and the Monday Night Football showdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Though those games remained important for playoff seeding purposes, given the strong play of fill-in Larry Grant, most have said that no, Willis shouldn't play.
And despite the fact that Willis re-joined his teammates at the start of practice on Thursday, the answer should essentially remain the same: rest him. Sure, San Francisco sorely needs to win its next two games to maintain the second seed in the NFC (and technically are still in the running for the No. 1 seed), but what happens once they get to the playoffs is much more important, and though Grant has filled in very well, the playoffs are a much different beast and Willis would be sorely missed.
That being the case, the 49ers should be confident in their ability to best Seattle, even on the road, without Willis. While it's true that the Seahawks are playing great football of late, the 49ers already beat them once this season and that should give them a lot of confidence going forward.
Also of particular note is the fact that it's expected to be very cold on Saturday, and that's always a factor with any injury. When it comes to Willis' hamstring, the worst thing that could happen is that it could tighten up, and once that happens, if it's strained at all, it will exacerbate the injury immensely. Hamstrings get re-injured due to players returning too soon more frequently than any other in the NFL, and that's a risk the 49ers just shouldn't take.
The San Francisco 49ers have a good bit of news on the injury front. Patrick Willis looks like he's back and will be ready for action sooner rather than later. Willis's absence has been noted, as the San Francisco defense has had more than a few critical moments of struggle the last few weeks.
Without Willis playing, San Francisco is a very different team, as the middle of their defense has a giant big hole inside of it. With Willis, the Niners are probably among the best defenses in all of football. I doubt San Francisco would risk rushing Willis back into action, even if it meant earning the two seed. Regardless, his return bodes well for his emergence in the playoffs, and should mean opposing offenses have to deal with a complete 49ers offense.
Here's the rest of the injury report.
San Francisco 49ers
Did Not Participate In Practice: LB Blake Costanzo (not injury related), WR Ted Ginn (ankle)
Limited Participation in Practice: WR Braylon Edwards (knee), RB Bruce Miller (knee), LB Patrick Willis (hamstring)
Though Steven Jackson was the last player to score a rushing touchdown on the San Francisco 49ers, it's not the Week 17 matchup against the St. Louis Rams that threatens to break San Francisco's impressive rushing touchdown-less streak the most. No, that's coming on Saturday, when the 49ers will take on the Seattle Seahawks and resurgent running back Marshawn Lynch.
San Francisco hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown all season, and if they don't allow any over the next two weeks, they'll be the only team in NFL history to have done so over a 16-game season. The record is two rushing touchdowns allowed in a year, so it would be a huge precedent to set and would instill this 49ers team as one of the best ever in regards to rushing defense. When you take into account the running backs that the 49ers have faced this year, the number is most certainly impressive.
But this iteration of Lynch could be the best back they've faced this year, even though they already faced him once, back in the first game of the season. Lynch eclipsed 1,000 yards on the season in his last outing, though it wasn't his best game - he only rushed for 42 yards, but he did have two touchdowns. In fact, he's scored a touchdown in seven of his last eight games, scoring two touchdowns in two of them.
In the three games before his most recent outing, Lynch rushed for yardage totals of 111, 115 and 148. Five times this year, he's rushed for more than 100 yards. Needless to say, Lynch will present a tough test against the 49ers. He's moving the chains and more importantly, he's bruising defenses before they can bruise him .
On the flip-side to that, the Seahawks should be considering San Francisco the biggest test for Lynch this season. Justin Smith, Isaac Sopoaga and Ray McDonald are punishing running backs every week, and even if Patrick Willis isn't active, Larry Grant has quickly shown that he's just as eager to hit, and hit hard. The first time these two teams met, Lynch was held without a score and just 33 yards.
While it will be interesting to see if Lynch can break the 49ers' streak, it's more so musing of the curious as opposed to something you should be betting on.
The San Francisco 49ers are hoping to win their final two games and stay in line for that second seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs. But they have a big task ahead of them when they go up to Seattle to play the desperate Seahawks. The Seahawks want to get to the playoffs, and they know they must win out to get there.
San Francisco might be down a critical cog if Ted Ginn, Jr. can't get going. Ginn suffered an ankle injury during the Monday Night Football victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, and for now he's being held out of practice. Ginn was observed with a limp at practice by Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, but he was not wearing a boot or walking on crutches, which is probably a good sign that he's still in the mix to play this weekend.
If Ginn can't go, expect the youngster Kyle Williams to take over Ginn's return duties and be the next option for Alex Smith and the 49ers passing game.
Here's a full list of injuries for both teams in their latest practice report.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Did Not Participate In Practice: LB Blake Costanzo (not injury related), WR Ted Ginn (ankle), LB Patrick Willis (hamstring)
Limited Participation in Practice: WR Braylon Edwards (knee), RB Bruce Miller (knee)
Did Not Participate In Practice: DE Raheem Brock (not injury related), DE Red Bryant (not injury related), CB Kennard Cox (hamstring), DT Clinton McDonald (concussion), LB Malcolm Smith (concussion)
Limited Participation in Practice: WR Doug Baldwin (ankle)
Full Participation in Practice: G Robert Gallery (pelvis), LB David Hawthorne (knee), QB Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral)
After his dominating performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers' special teams on Monday night, San Francisco 49ers punter Andy Lee earned the honor of NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for week 15 of the NFL season.
Lee was about as saucy as a punter could get on Monday, dropping four of his six punts inside the Steelers' 15-yard line, while averaging a modest 49.2 net yards per punt, a large reason why the 49ers' defense dominated Pittsburgh by the tune of 20-3.
Here are the starting field positions for Lee's punts: 5-yard line, 16-, 10-, 8-, 14- and 12-yard lines; an average start just shy of the 11-yard line. He also had boots of 57 and 62 yard on the evening. That's consistent and deadly, a great mix for the Pro-Bowl punter.
Lee currently leads the NFL with a 44.1-yard net average and has 26 punts inside the 20-yard line this year. It is also his first ever Player of the Week Award, and the first 49ers punter ever to win the award as well. Congrats Andy; very much deserved!
For more on the 49ers, head over to Niners Nation.
The San Francisco 49ers have secured themselves a place in the NFL Playoffs, but need to keep playing hard over the next two weeks to try and secure the No. 2 seed in the NFC. For more on the 49ers, check out Niners Nation, SB Nation's San Francisco 49ers blog.
The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks both have something to play for and Vegas recognizes that.
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