SEATTLE - The NFC playoffs could be routed through the Pacific Northwest again.
Not a happy prospect for the rest of the conference.
The Seahawks first had to knock their most-hated rival out of contention. Marshawn Lynch rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown, Russell Wilson threw a touchdown pass to rookie Paul Richardson, and Seattle kept up its chase for a division title and No. 1 seed with a 17-7 win over San Francisco on Sunday.
After a sluggish, sloppy first half filled with penalties and missed assignments, Seattle (10-4) awoke in the final 30 minutes behind the running of Lynch and a defense that shut out the 49ers, holding them to 67 yards. Colin Kaepernick was sacked six times and the 49ers didn't run a play past the Seattle 38 in the second half.
Lynch scored on a 4-yard run late in the third quarter and the Seahawks took advantage of a short field on their next drive, capped by Wilson's strike to Richardson.
The loss and Detroit's win eliminated San Francisco (7-7) from making the postseason. It's the first time in Jim Harbaugh's four seasons that the 49ers won't be playing in January, and will only heighten questions about Harbaugh's future with the club.
Seattle got the help it needed earlier Sunday when Buffalo beat Green Bay. If the Seahawks win their final two games - at Arizona and home vs. St. Louis - they could end up with the No. 1 seed in the NFC for the second straight season.
The 49ers lost running back Frank Gore with a concussion. Middle linebacker Chris Borland, the NFC defensive rookie of the month in November, hurt his ankle on the final play of the first half.
Seahawks 17, 49ers 7
San Francisco 0 7 0 0 – 7
Seattle 3 0 7 7 – 17
Sea–FG Hauschka 38, 3:40.
SF–Gore 10 run (Dawson kick), 13:22.
Sea–Lynch 4 run (Hauschka kick), 2:19.
Sea–Richardson 10 pass from Wilson (Hauschka kick), 13:20.
First downs 14 18
Total Net Yards 245 290
Rushes-yards 32-140 32-152
Passing 105 138
Punt Returns 2-12 3-19
Kickoff Returns 4-90 1-12
Interceptions Ret. 1-73 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 11-19-0 12-24-1
Sacked-Yards Lost 6-36 5-30
Punts 5-43.4 4-48.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 8-78 7-50
Time of Possession 31:02 28:58
Rushing: San Francisco, Hyde 6-55, Kaepernick 9-46, Gore 11-29, Alf.Smith 4-6, Miller 2-4. Seattle, Lynch 21-91, Turbin 5-33, Wilson 5-27, Michael 1-1.
Passing: San Francisco, Kaepernick 11-19-0-141. Seattle, Wilson 12-24-1-168.
Receiving: San Francisco, Miller 4-56, Crabtree 3-19, Boldin 2-23, Celek 1-31, Lloyd 1-12. Seattle, Kearse 5-78, Baldwin 3-53, Richardson 3-30, Lynch 1-7.
Missed Field Goals: None.