Final

49ers 24

(6-8, 2-5 away)

Seahawks 14

(8-6, 5-2 home)

Coverage: NFL

8:00 PM ET, December 14, 2006

CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA 

1 2 3 4 T
SF 0 3 0 2124
SEA 7 0 0 714

Top Performers

Passing: M. Hasselbeck (SEA) - 220 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: F. Gore (SF) - 29 CAR, 144 YDS

Receiving: A. Battle (SF) - 5 REC, 97 YDS

Smith's 2 late TD passes help 49ers ground Seahawks

SEATTLE (AP) -- The setting was perfect for Alex Smith to fail: His team was trailing, it was cold and wet, and the crowd expected another Seahawks' division title.

Instead, with crisp, confident passes and nimble running, Smith put together the best 15 minutes of his young career.

Elias Says
Alex Smith
Smith
Alex Smith engineered the fourth-quarter comeback with two touchdown passes and an 18-yard TD run. Only two other players in NFL history threw at least two TD passes in one quarter, while also running for a TD of at least 15 yards in that same quarter. Phil Simms did that as a rookie for the 1979 Giants (against the 49ers) and Kordell Stewart did it for the Steelers in 1997 (against the Ravens).

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Smith accounted for three fourth-quarter touchdowns -- two passing, one running -- and the San Francisco 49ers prevented the Seattle Seahawks from clinching the NFC West with a surprising 24-14 win on Thursday night.

"The boy just became a grown man today, baby," 49ers' running back Frank Gore said of his quarterback. "There's a lot more to come."

Keeping the 49ers' slim playoff hopes alive, Smith tossed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis early in the fourth quarter, then capped a 10-play, 73-yard drive with a 20-yard TD pass to Gore with 4:01 left that sent soaked -- and shocked -- Seahawks' fans for the exits.

One play after a delay-of-game penalty on third-and-1, Smith stepped out of Kelly Herndon's grasp, scrambled and found Gore behind defense near the goal line. San Francisco's players erupted into celebration, as the 49ers (6-8) broke a three-game losing streak and swept both games from Seattle.

"I think we always knew (we could beat Seattle)," Smith said. "I think that changed a couple of weeks ago when we beat them at our place.

"I think this team grew up a little bit tonight."

If his fourth-quarter passing wasn't enough, Smith faked the entire Seattle defense and jogged 18 yards for a touchdown with 1:42 left to cap a night when he looked just a little like Steve Young and Joe Montana.

The turnaround was startling, after the 49ers' offense went the first 44 minutes with just four first downs and rarely looked threatening. The 49ers rolled up 196 yards in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, the questions only continue about the Seahawks. Seattle (8-6) lost its second straight divisional game, ending any hopes of getting a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Scouts Inc.'s take ...
Running back Shaun Alexander looked average and the Seahawks' passing game could not get going. Once again, poor tackling really hurt Seattle's defense and allowed the 49ers to convert many short-yardage plays to help keep the chains and clock moving. Early in the game, the 49ers could not take advantage of good field position or mistakes by the Seahawks, but got into a comfortable offensive rhythm in the fourth quarter. RB Frank Gore was effective and ran with power. The 49ers used their rushing attack late to control the clock and put the Seahawks in a situation where they were forced away form their game plane in an attempt to play catch up .

Afterward, coach Mike Holmgren said inconsistency is Seattle's identity.

"We need to find a way to win this week or next week or somehow," Seattle's Bryce Fisher said. "Otherwise there's going to be a lot of us getting our lockers cleaned out."

Smith finished 14-of-25 for 162 yards, a far cry from the first half when he was 5-of-12 for 38 yards and the 49ers best offensive play was a 33-yard run on a fake punt.

It was Smith's completion to Antonio Bryant late in the third quarter that finally got the 49ers' offense on track.

Smith's 11-yard completion to Bryant with 48 seconds left in the quarter was San Francisco's first first-down of the half. On the next play, Arnaz Battle beat Herndon off the line of scrimmage and Smith hit him in stride for a 54-yard completion.

Two plays after hitting Battle for 13 yards on third-and-10 at the Seattle 22, Smith rolled right and Davis got separation from safety Jordan Babineaux in the end zone.

With Smith finding holes in Seattle's secondary, Gore put the game away. Gore, who ran for a franchise record 212 yards in the first meeting between the two teams, had 104 of his 144 yards in the fourth quarter.

"When we go at them, it's hard to stop us," Gore said. "We kept going downhill at them and they couldn't hold up."

Matt Hasselbeck threw a 22-yard touchdown to Jerramy Stevens with 9 seconds left, for the final margin, but Hasselbeck was outplayed by Smith.

Hasselbeck finished 20-of-37 for 220 yards, but threw a pair of interceptions, the most damaging on the first possession of the second half.

On second-and-11 at the San Francisco 20, Hasselbeck tried to hit D.J. Hackett on a seem route in the end zone. Instead, 49ers' safety Mark Roman stepped in front of Hackett and intercepted the pass, returning it to the 27.

Shaun Alexander rarely found holes to run through in the second half. Alexander had just 16 yards rushing in the second half, and failed when Seattle needed 1 yard to keep its best drive of the fourth quarter alive.

On third-and-1 at the 49ers' 27, Alexander was held to no gain. Seattle went for it on fourth down, but Mack Strong was stopped short with 9:37 left, causing Holmgren to flail his arms on the sideline in disgust.

"I was trying to be aggressive. I always think we can get that," Holmgren said. "Normally we convert those."

Alexander was held to 73 yards, 40 coming on Seattle's first quarter scoring drive, capped by a 3-yard plunge by Alexander, just his fourth rushing touchdown of the season.

Joe Nedney kicked a 39-yard field goal with 3 seconds left in the first half.

Game notes


San Francisco lost C Eric Heitmann to a broken right leg in the first quarter. Tony Wragge took his place. ... A heavy rainstorm moved in shortly before kickoff leaving standing water on the field and momentarily knocking out power to the video screens in the stadium. The worst of the storm subsided during the game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
SF
SEA
1st Downs1522
Passing 1st downs
715
Rushing 1st downs
85
1st downs from penalties
02
3rd down efficiency
7-175-13
4th down efficiency
1-10-1
Total Plays6367
Total Yards390300
Yards per play6.24.5
Total Drives1412
Passing162210
Comp-Att
14-2520-37
Yards per pass
6.55.3
Interceptions thrown
02
Sacks-Yards Lost
0-03-10
Rushing22890
Rushing Attempts
3827
Yards per rush
6.03.3
Red Zone (Made-Att)3-41-2
Penalties10-873-20
Turnovers02
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
02
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession31:0428:56

Passing Leaders

SFC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Smith14/251626.5200-0
SEAC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Hasselbeck20/372205.9123-10

Rushing Leaders

SFCARYDSAVGTDLG
Gore291445.0040
Smith6335.5118
SEACARYDSAVGTDLG
Alexander23733.2118
Morris2147.0012

Receiving Leaders

SFRECYDSAVGTDLG
Battle59719.4054
Gore4348.5120
SEARECYDSAVGTDLG
Hackett88710.9014
Stevens56412.8122

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERSFSEA
seaTD2:24Shaun Alexander, 3 yd run (Josh Brown kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 44 yds, 2:09
07
SECOND QUARTERSFSEA
sfFG0:08Joe Nedney 39 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 59 yds, 4:30
37
FOURTH QUARTERSFSEA
sfTD11:29Vernon Davis, 8 yd pass from Alex Smith (Joe Nedney kick is good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 90 yds, 5:26
107
sfTD4:09Frank Gore, 20 yd pass from Alex Smith (Joe Nedney kick is good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 73 yds, 5:36
177
sfTD1:49Alex Smith, 18 yd run (Joe Nedney kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 86 yds, 1:45
247
seaTD0:18Jerramy Stevens, 22 yd pass from Matt Hasselbeck (Josh Brown kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 51 yds, 1:33
2414