By Brady Henderson
A few notes and thoughts on the Seahawks' 42-13 win over the 49ers at CenturyLink Field:
The lead. The Seahawks turned in another dominant performance in front of a raucous crowd at CenturyLink Field and secured a spot in the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. The Seahawks can win the NFC West if they beat St. Louis next week and San Francisco loses to Arizona. Seattle dominated in all three phases of the game, scoring five offensive touchdowns against a strong defense, forcing two turnovers and returning a blocked field goal for a touchdown.
The good. For the third straight game, the question "where should we begin?" seems appropriate. Let's start with the offense, which racked up 346 total yards against a 49ers defense that entered the game ranked second in yards allowed per game.
Russell Wilson completed 15 of 21 passes for 171 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. He used his mobility to avoid several sacks and finished with 29 yards rushing. Doug Baldwin was on the receiving end of two of those touchdown passes, and he made impressive catches on each. His 43-yard catch set up Seattle's second touchdown.
Dropped passes killed the Seahawks during their Week 7 loss to San Francisco. They had no such problem this time. Sidney Rice and Robert Turbin made difficult catches.
Marshawn Lynch finished with 111 rushing yards and two touchdowns, one rushing and another receiving.
Seattle was outstanding on third down, converting 11 times in 13 chances.
Defensively, Seattle forced two turnovers and held San Francisco to one offensive touchdown. Richard Sherman jumped in front of a pass intended for Randy Moss in the end zone, ending one of the 49ers' better scoring opportunities. He gave the Seahawks their third touchdown, returning a blocked field goal 90 yards for a score. Red Bryant blocked the kick. Sherman knocked away three other passes.
Seattle held San Francisco to just 3 of 11 on third down.
Big hits. There were plenty, most notably the one Kam Chancellor laid on 49ers tight end Vernon Davis near the goal line. Chancellor's hit broke up a pass but drew a 15-yard penalty. Davis suffered a concussion and did not return.
The bad. Finding faults with a 42-13 win over the division leaders feels like nit-picking, but there were a few plays the Seahawks would like to have back. Wilson was intercepted when he threw high to Turbin on a screen pass. Jermaine Kearse dropped a well-delivered pass in the end zone.
For the record. Pete Carroll gets his first NFL win over Jim Harbaugh, improving to 1-3 against his 49ers counterpart. Carroll's regular-season record with Seattle is now 24-23.