sfgate.com photo: Tight end Jacob Hollister #48 of the Seattle Seahawks is stopped just short of the goal line by linebacker Dre Greenlaw #57 and linebacker Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field on December 29, 2019 in Seattle,
By Joe Lami
The Niners won the NFC West by inches on Sunday night when Dre Greenlaw stopped Jacob Hollister on the goal line to defeat the Seattle Seahawks 26-21. For the fifth straight game, the game was decided on the final play, and for the third time, the Niners came out victorious.
More importantly, with the win, the Niners clinch the top seed in the NFC, clearing a path towards the Super Bowl with a first-round bye and home-field advantage.
The Niners controlled most of the heavy-weight primetime prize fight, racing out to an early 13-0 lead. Robbie Gould connected from 47 and 30 yards, while Deebo Samuel raced for 30 yards on an end-around.
Samuel finished with 100 yards for the fourth time this season, rushing for 33 on two carries and catching five balls for 102 yards, including a couple of clutch third-down conversions.
Seattle didn’t score until late in the third quarter, thanks to an 11-play 62-yard drive. Wilson capped it off, finding Tyler Lockett on a 14-yard touchdown pass.
Seattle began to roll a bit late in the third quarter, when Travis Homer became the featured back. Homer finished with ten carries for 62 yards. He was particularly successful attacking the outside left on zone rushes, averaging 6.7 yards per carry running left.
The Niners then traded blows with the Seahawks, with each team getting two touchdowns. The Seahawks made the stop and had the opportunity to win it until Greenlaw won the game with the goal-line stand.
Raheem Mostert scored both TDs for the Niners, including the eventual game-winner. He became the featured back in the second half, finishing with ten carries for 57 yards. He primarily found success attacking the interrior left-side, scoring a touchdown and finishing with 30 yards on four attempts.
Seattle fans erupted when they cut into the game, making it 19-14 on a Marshawn Lynch one-yard touchdown. The beloved Lynch finished with eight carries for 29 yards. Before Greenlaw stuff Hollister, the Seahawks were set-up on the one-yard line when a mistake led to a delay of game penalty.
Lynch was set up to score again until the Seahawks had to back up five yards, forcing them to throw, thus losing them the game.
Rookie, DK Metcalf also caught a 14-yard touchdown from Wilson with 3:36 to go, making it a one-score game. Metcalf finishes his rookie year with seven touchdowns, tied for third among first-year players.
Russ Wilson was incredible tonight for Seattle. He’s the engine that drives a mediocre team that makes them excellent. Tonight, he tallied 233 yards and two touchdowns on 25 of 40 passing. If there were an MVP at the conference level, Wilson would be the front runner to take the NFC award.
His excellence drives the Seahawks and why they’ve finished on the positive side of so many one-score games. On Sunday, he fell just short of taking the division. It also marks the first time in his career San Francisco’s beaten Wilson in Seattle; the last time they won in Washington was 2011.
The Seahawks settle for the fifth-seed and will have to travel to Philadelphia next week to kick off the playoffs. With a win, they set-up a potential rubber match in the Divisional round.