This wasn't easy, but the 49ers were able to beat the Seahawks in one of the ugliest ways possible. It took all phases of the game in order to leave Candlestick Park with a victory.
The first and foremost reason they won today was because of the defense. Russell Wilson had only one touchdown pass when Patrick Willis was beaten in coverage by Luke Wilson. Seattle had a touchdown earlier when the Seahawks quarterback was able to convert two third downs before Marshawn Lynch's 11 yard run into the end zone.
Wilson wasn't able to scramble and control the game with his elusiveness as he has done in previous weeks. The 49ers linebackers were ready for any move he tried to do and shut him down in the second half. They only allowed one field goal as Golden Tate returned a punt for 54-yards. Credit goes to Tramaine Brock for breaking up a pass. Credit goes to the defensive line for making sure Marshawn Lynch didn't break free. Credit goes to all the linebackers for making sure Wilson didn't escape and the tight ends remained covered.
On special teams, the 49ers were outstanding minus the return by Tate. Phil Dawson nailed four field goals and one of them was from 52 yards. Kassim Osgood helped set up one of those field goals when he blocked a punt in the first quarter. Kickoff coverage was also solid as there were three tackles inside the 20 yard line.
Dawson gave credit to the offense for getting the ball in position for him to kick it. He said he was humble knowing his streak of 20 consecutive field goals made, but he doesn't want to think about it.
"It was tough sledding moving the ball today," Dawson said. "Not only did the offense get in range at the end, but they got well in there and it was a pretty manageable kick. They deserve a lot of credit for that."
The only problem was the offense, who did what they needed in order to win. They settled for three field goals before a 72 yard, nine-play drive which became a touchdown by Vernon Davis right before halftime. In eight quarters against the Seahawks this year, that touchdown was the only time the 49ers reached the end zone. Colin Kaepernick had some flashes today and it was a few key throws to Anquan Boldin and Davis to keep the chains moving.
In the fourth quarter, it took a 51-yard run by Frank Gore to put San Francisco in the red zone with three minutes remaining. The running game was stronger after the first quarter as Gore carried the ball for five or more yards at least three times.
"My offensive line did a great job [on the play]," Gore said. "When I saw the hole, I kind of knew that [Earl Thomas] was going to overrun it. I set him outside and then broke him back in because he's so aggressive."
Jim Harbaugh emphasized that the team needed to make more "chunk plays" of 20 yards or more. Gore's 51-yard run was the most timely of them all and it was even smarter when he went down in-bounds. The 49ers were able to grind the clock out with several running plays in the final three minutes. Kaepernick's eight-yard sweep run to the left on third and seven was the time killer which sealed the game.
It wasn't pretty, but the 49ers offense was able to come through when they needed to most after being ineffective for majority of the second half. Moving forward, the 49ers will need to improve on offense in order to improve their game.
"We're taking small steps and we still have a lot to learn, but that's a good thing," Gore said. "It took all the playmakers to do something in this game and that's what it's going to take for us to get to that next level."