The 49ers run defense finally broke, but the team remains on track for a bye in the NFC playoffs.
David Akers’ fourth field goal of the day with 42 seconds to play pushed the 49ers past the Seahawks 19-17 and kept them in control of their own destiny for the second seed in the NFC. Regardless of what the Saints do on Monday night against the Falcons, the 49ers have the tiebreak edge by virtue of their
divisional conference record. That means a win over the lands the 49ers a home game in the second round.
Akers’ kick came after the Seahawks took the lead on Marshawn Lynch’s touchdown run, the first allowed by the Niners all season. That score came after a blocked punt set the Seahawks up on the four and was a rare negative in a strong second half for the San Francisco defense. After a rough first half, the Niners clamped down defensively and found their own offense to navigate their way to victory.
Included in that discovery was Alex Smith’s big 41-yard completion to Michael Crabtree to set up the winning kick. It might have been the best pass Smith threw all season, maybe the best in his entire career.
The loss ends any playoff hopes for Seattle, but it is hard to see this season as a major disappointment even though they won the division last year. At worst, the Seahawks will wind up with the same record as last year and they’ve found several young players who can be major contributors going forward. They need better quarterback play — Tarvaris Jackson did not make nearly enough plays — but things seem to be headed in the right direction for the Seahawks.