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49ers stay on track for bye

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

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.

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43 Responses to “49ers stay on track for bye”
  1. domehead says: Dec 24, 2011 9:16 PM

    Headed in the right direction??? I didn’t have a dog in this hunt, but we watched Seahawks-Niners since it looked like the best matchup. And it was an exciting game. But it’s pretty clear the Hawks need more than just a franchise quarterback (which they do need badly). But what the really could use is some players that know basic Football 101. Good grief…they must have the lowest football IQ in the league. If you watched the game, especially the end, you know what I’m talking about.

  2. 4t9er says: Dec 24, 2011 9:17 PM

    Lets go Niners, a tough win against a tough team (with a win the seahawks will be 8-8).

  3. footballgod87 says: Dec 24, 2011 9:18 PM

    If the Seahawks win next week, their record will be BETTER than last year, not the same

  4. discosucs2005 says: Dec 24, 2011 9:19 PM

    I would see a season where you were eliminated from the division with a month to go in the season, after being the playoffs the year before as a major disappointment. I guess Seattle has different standards.

  5. pencilmonkeymagic says: Dec 24, 2011 9:22 PM

    Cheers for the balanced review, Josh. Yeah we lost fair & square. Well played SF.

    On the plus side, Hawks have a boat load of promising young players for the future and next season will be a straight up fight for the ‘weak’ NFC West title. (Is that even valid anymore??)

    And it’s Christmas. So, y’know, ‘every cloud’, etc…

  6. renoedge says: Dec 24, 2011 9:25 PM

    Niners rule the west….stopped the sea chicken fans from running their mouths…now on to the playoffs…..running it….stopping it….Niner football….can’t wait to head to Lambeau and disappoint all those Cheeseheads! Go Niners!

  7. potts316 says: Dec 24, 2011 9:28 PM

    “Regardless of what the Saints do on Monday night against the Falcons, the 49ers have the tiebreak edge by virtue of their divisional record.”

    Division record is not used to break ties between teams in different divisions.

  8. jamezz23 says: Dec 24, 2011 9:29 PM

    I really want to see a Detroit vs San Francisco rematch in the first round. That would be an all out WAR

  9. chris7676 says: Dec 24, 2011 9:29 PM

    The tie breaker is Conference record. In the case of a tie between division champions to determine home field, the tie breaker rules are the same as the wild card rules. If there is no head to head, it goes to conference, which still favors the 49ers.

  10. bigredjbird says: Dec 24, 2011 9:45 PM

    There’s no guarantee they win next week, they very well could “wind up” worse than last year. A game in AZ is no walk in the park, just ask the 49ers and Cowboys

  11. djsammmyskillz says: Dec 24, 2011 9:53 PM

    Packers wont win the SB!

  12. Zak says: Dec 24, 2011 9:58 PM

    This was as gritty a W as the 9ers have earned all year. And Harbaugh’s conservative approach worked once again. The goal is to outplay your opponent not to decimate them with #’s. Seattle’d be wise to get hip to that and eliminate penalties by knowing the rules of a kick returner going down feet first being down with a touch instead of going for his head. Just a cheap shot by Robinson with his past no way to deny it: he knows the rule having played special teams for the duration of his career for both teams.

    Will the 9ers have to get more yds on downs like 3rd-9 when they went conservative and ran Hunter between the tackles? Yes, no question if they’re behind 10 points instead of 1 as is a likely scenario in the playoffs, absolutely. But games like this are what steel their nerves for harder – if less chippy – battles.

  13. woodyg says: Dec 24, 2011 10:00 PM

    The 49′ers will be ‘one & done’ no matter who they play in the playoffs if all they can do is kick FGs …….. That red zone offense won’t cut it against teams with winning records (playoff teams) …… 49′er fans need to start looking at the 2012 season ….. This one’s pretty much predictable & the end won’t be pretty …..

  14. bobhk says: Dec 24, 2011 10:11 PM

    I have seen some of you seattle fans complain about the call regarding williams fumble.

    Some of you seabag fans are really stupid and don’t know the rules. You can’t hit a player who gives himself up, which Williams clearly does with both his knees down and his reaction showing frustration before being bulldozed.
    It was the right call.

    I would like to root for seattle but some obnoxious fans make it hard.

    @shanehawks, where are you you freaking a-hole? I knew you wouldn’t show up you wussy.
    No go back to rooting for a perennial loser.

  15. bobhk says: Dec 24, 2011 10:12 PM

    On to the Rams.

  16. hawks12 says: Dec 24, 2011 10:14 PM

    @renoedge

    Running our mouths? hahaha… the 49ers have done noting for the last 10 years and know yous go on like yous are the best team in the nfl haha the packers are going to destroy yous… well done you beat a seahawks team decimated by injuries… keep our division title warm we will be back for it next year…

  17. crimhollingsworth says: Dec 24, 2011 10:17 PM

    Were there any moral victories in this game for Seattle? I can’t think of any, definitely not in the run game anyway. They got outrushed 178 to 126.

  18. robert87653 says: Dec 24, 2011 10:17 PM

    I’m glad they won but this offense is too conservative at times. Sometimes it seems by the play calling that they are content to just get a field goal and not take a shot at the endzone.

  19. robert87653 says: Dec 24, 2011 10:25 PM

    @Hawks12

    I won’t say that the 49ers are the best team in the nfl, but I know we have a chance to prove it since we are in the PLAYOFFS while your team is NOT. Enjoy watching us on tv. Oh, and the niners have a few injuries of their own…. Ever hear of a guy named Patrick Willis…..

  20. ZKSF says: Dec 24, 2011 10:27 PM

    Let none takeaway either what the NFL took from the 9ers this season. Only 1 other team had a 3 day and a 4 day (this) week to go on the road. The Steelers also had that time but played a Thursday game at home before a 10 day break to play the MNF game last week. 9ers traveled across an unprecedented 3 time zones to on their 3 day week to play in Baltimore. They similarly had to travel to play this game though obviously not as far. Still seems the NFL dealt this schedule unfairly to the 9ers and it has to be said that put them at a handicap in this game.

  21. bobhk says: Dec 24, 2011 10:37 PM

    hawks12 says:
    Dec 24, 2011 10:14 PM
    @renoedge

    Running our mouths? hahaha… the 49ers have done noting for the last 10 years and know yous go on like yous are the best team in the nfl haha the packers are going to destroy yous… well done you beat a seahawks team decimated by injuries… keep our division title warm we will be back for it next year…

    ——————-
    When have the seahags won anything of consequence. Consider yourself owned.

  22. bobhk says: Dec 24, 2011 10:44 PM

    woodyg says:
    Dec 24, 2011 10:00 PM
    The 49′ers will be ‘one & done’ no matter who they play in the playoffs if all they can do is kick FGs …….. That red zone offense won’t cut it against teams with winning records (playoff teams) …… 49′er fans need to start looking at the 2012 season ….. This one’s pretty much predictable & the end won’t be pretty …..

    ————————
    When they win a playoff game will you show your stupid face here. I doubt it. You sound like a loser fan of a loser team that did not make the playoffs.

  23. ZKSF says: Dec 24, 2011 10:52 PM

    “I’m glad they won but this offense is too conservative at times…”

    That’s the chess game Harbaugh plays by knowing his opponent to the nth degree. He knew his D would get the stops they needed with even a 2 point advantage. He probably also knew it flustered the Seahawks to play for it. He is a maniac gameplayer: he admitted in the PC after the game he was screaming at the O-line on a play-action pass to “get off the ball” to deke the Seahawks into thinking it was a run.

  24. majorseahawk says: Dec 24, 2011 11:09 PM

    Well they stayed on track by any means necessary. Refs won’t favor the 49ers in the playoffs though, cause they like the Saints & Packers better.

  25. blackqbwhiterb says: Dec 24, 2011 11:09 PM

    12-3…. Too conservative? Sounds just about right to me…if you’re 7-8 you complain about “too conservative”…. 12-3 You’re doing things almost perfectly.

  26. dirtyjersey9er says: Dec 24, 2011 11:13 PM

    @hawks12

    Man the end of today must have sucked for you to watch. Lynch was the first person in 36 games to get 100 yards rushing and the first back all season to score a rushing TD and the D still head up in the end and the Seahawks still lost.

  27. mistakenny says: Dec 24, 2011 11:26 PM

    Niners are 12-3 regardless if they win the sb or not im proud of them the defense will only get better and this iffseason they can focus on offense … And alex smith is also a big part of 12-3 record , no he dont have 50 td passes and 5,000 yards but hes playing smart and not turning the ball over .

  28. marcsasharc says: Dec 24, 2011 11:46 PM

    Look at the d bag Seahawks fans. You got out hit, out coached and outplayed. The 2nd half was all SF minus the blocked punt. Once again Harbaugh owns Pete. Pete is too soft. All the haters do is talk about us losing in the playoffs, like that means something to them. Do you blame 9er fans for reacting to the haters? And then y’all get mad. Lol. This is a great season and you can’t take it away from us. Later haters!

  29. frank booth says: Dec 24, 2011 11:57 PM

    hawks12 says:
    Dec 24, 2011 10:14 PM
    @renoedge

    Running our mouths? hahaha… the 49ers have done noting for the last 10 years and know yous go on like yous are the best team in the nfl haha the packers are going to destroy yous… well done you beat a seahawks team decimated by injuries… keep our division title warm we will be back for it next year…
    ===================================
    And what a division title that was- 7-9 right?

    Pretty funny for a Seahawk fan to talk trash about the 49ers and go back into history- because everyone knows about the Seahawks rich history and all of their Super Bowl victories- as well as their lifetime losing record- Onward SeaHags!

  30. billb49 says: Dec 25, 2011 1:03 AM

    Hey hawks12, do us a favor and shut your cake hole. What a bunch of cheap shot artists. I can’t think of many cheap shots as disgusting as your a-holes laid on Kyle Williams. And, goddamn Michael Robinson is sitting there laughing on the bench after he does it. What a low-class team. And the fans? Oh….My…..God! Their guys lay a defenseless guy out with a personal foul, they’re kicking him when he’s on the turf, it’s a clear personal foul, and the fans are booing because of the flag??!! Incredible. What a bunch of low-class a-holes.

    Please get your head out of your behind and understand that your low-class team will have to go a long way before they can ever even get within shouting distance of a franchise with 5 championships. And, right now, you can count on the Niners cleaning your clocks for years to come. Harbaugh will definitely not forget those cheap shots, but he and his team are far too classy to ever respond with anything like that. They’ll just keep beating you down, hitting you with clean, hard shots, scoring on you and preventing you from scoring. So get fricking used to it, a-hole!

  31. theysone says: Dec 25, 2011 1:18 AM

    I wonder is Scot McCloughan was sober enough to watch the game and see that the seahawks, did not kick the niners’ asses.

    Well fought game, the Seahawks always play well at home, and they’ve been on a hot streak…they’re better than their record seems to indicate.

    Sure seems like the NFC West has rebounded from years of mediocrity…well, other than the Rams.

  32. sea3030 says: Dec 25, 2011 1:20 AM

    Discosucs2005:

    I would see a season where you were eliminated from the division with a month to go in the season, after being the playoffs the year before as a major disappointment. I guess Seattle has different standards.
    …………………………………………………….

    I have no idea what this even means.

  33. buffaloniner says: Dec 25, 2011 1:31 AM

    woodyg says:

    That red zone offense won’t cut it against teams with winning records (playoff teams)

    ______________

    When you say teams with winning records (playoff teams) are you perhaps referring to teams that have the best record in the entire NFL, second only to the Packers? … Yea I can’t wait to see what happens when they play a team with a winning record… Oh wait, they are that team. Maybe have a clue what is happening in football before posting. Thanks :)

  34. schweb08 says: Dec 25, 2011 1:40 AM

    Boo ho Seahawks fan how many calls did ur team get…. Let’s see the phantom block in the back punt return by Kyle Williams…oh then the terrible defensive pass interference when Baldwin pushes Terrell brown over and misses the pass but it was pass interference… Gtfo

  35. sea3030 says: Dec 25, 2011 1:58 AM

    Hawks fan, but would love to see the 9ers do well in the playoffs to keep the national attention on the NFC West. Unfortunately don’t see it happening. Great D, but not quite there on offense yet.

  36. citynative says: Dec 25, 2011 2:01 AM

    Is there a fan base that blames injuries and the refs more for losses than Seattle? Please tell us what call was bad? The fumble on the kick? If you touch/hit a guy when he is down…. how can it be a fumble? If your complaining about the penalty on the play…. check the Eagles game. They called the same thing on Dallas when Maclin got hit. The injuries? Really? The Niners were missing their best player, 2 of their top 3 WRs, their PR/KR, ant Williams and Walker left during the game.

    Blaming losses on injuries ans refs. The losers creed. The Seattle creed.

  37. wobbs33 says: Dec 25, 2011 2:20 AM

    Lame ass seachicken fans don’t know the rules because they are too busy being loud to listen to any of them. They all stand up like lemmings and yell the entire time the opposition has the ball. They don’t know why, it’s just what they do.then when they get the ball they all sit like little school girls with their hands in their laps and bitch about how bad they suck.

  38. young2rice says: Dec 25, 2011 2:37 AM

    I REALLY wanted 2 NFC west teams to be in the playoffs, but I couldn’t root against my Niners.. Honestly, great season to the Seahawks. Merry Christmas to all fans, and go Falcons Mobday night!

  39. cowboyshater says: Dec 25, 2011 2:49 AM

    Scoreboard!

  40. tatum064 says: Dec 25, 2011 6:43 AM

    frank booth says:
    Dec 24, 2011 11:57 PM
    hawks12 says:
    Dec 24, 2011 10:14 PM
    @renoedge

    Running our mouths? hahaha… the 49ers have done noting for the last 10 years and know yous go on like yous are the best team in the nfl haha the packers are going to destroy yous… well done you beat a seahawks team decimated by injuries… keep our division title warm we will be back for it next year…
    ===================================
    And what a division title that was- 7-9 right?

    Pretty funny for a Seahawk fan to talk trash about the 49ers and go back into history- because everyone knows about the Seahawks rich history and all of their Super Bowl victories- as well as their lifetime losing record- Onward SeaHags!
    ===================
    They knocked the Saints off, after qualifying for the playoffs with a 7-9 record…did You?

    Lets win one in the playoffs, then run our mouths Niner Empire. I think you know this, already.

  41. tatum064 says: Dec 25, 2011 6:45 AM

    majorseahawk says:
    Dec 24, 2011 11:09 PM
    Well they stayed on track by any means necessary. Refs won’t favor the 49ers in the playoffs though, cause they like the Saints & Packers better.

    ===========

    Nah, they’ll just outscore them. One things for sure, after the Saint-Seahawk upset last year, neither team will take them for granted.

    If Detroit-S.F. meet up, that game will be all-out WAR!

  42. adirtyplayernamedsue says: Dec 25, 2011 8:47 AM

    I wish you 49rs fans luck in the playoffs, but with Alex at the helm, I just don’t see it happening. He really is awful.

  43. frank booth says: Dec 25, 2011 1:55 PM

    tatum064 says:
    Dec 25, 2011 6:43 AM
    frank booth says:
    Dec 24, 2011 11:57 PM
    hawks12 says:
    Dec 24, 2011 10:14 PM
    @renoedge

    Running our mouths? hahaha… the 49ers have done noting for the last 10 years and know yous go on like yous are the best team in the nfl haha the packers are going to destroy yous… well done you beat a seahawks team decimated by injuries… keep our division title warm we will be back for it next year…
    ===================================
    And what a division title that was- 7-9 right?

    Pretty funny for a Seahawk fan to talk trash about the 49ers and go back into history- because everyone knows about the Seahawks rich history and all of their Super Bowl victories- as well as their lifetime losing record- Onward SeaHags!
    ===================
    They knocked the Saints off, after qualifying for the playoffs with a 7-9 record…did You?
    ===================================
    No. I’m a Bears fan. The Bears beat the Seahawks 35-24 in the divisional playoff. Merry Christmas.

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