Hawks recover from horrible first half to beat 49ers

Logo -- At San FranciscoRussell Wilson shook off a first-play interception to account for three touchdowns as the Seahawks handed the San Francisco 49ers their 10th loss of the season Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif.

Wilson ran for one score in the first quarter and found his tight ends for scores on the first two drives of the second half as Seattle won 24-13.

The 49ers fell to 1-10 as they lost to the Seahawks for the eighth straight time. The Seahawks (7-4) remained a game behind the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West. The Rams (8-3) ended New Orleans’ winning streak at eight games.

After a typically horrendous first half in which it led just 7-3, Seattle quickly opened up a two-score lead after halftime.

Wilson used three big passes to move 71 yards for the first score. He hit Doug Baldwin for 23 yards on third down and Tanner McEvoy for 24 to get to the 49ers’ 23-yard line. After Eddie Lacy ran for six yards, Wilson hit tight end Nick Vannett for a 17-yard TD. Vannett got a lot of playing time after Luke Willson left in the first quarter with a concussion.

Wilson drove the Hawks 63 yards on the next possession, with a 19-yard pass interference penalty setting up Wilson’s 1-yard TD toss to Jimmy Graham, who was playing on a bad ankle and had dropped a pass earlier in the game. It was Graham’s eighth score of the season — all coming in the last seven games. The eight TDs this year and his 16 as a Seahawk both set team records for a tight end.

Wilson rallied from a poor first half, completing 20 of 34 passes for 228 yards, two TDs and an interception. He became the fourth player to exceed 3,000 passing yards in each of his first six NFL seasons. He has 3,029.

The Seahawks led 7-3 at halftime, thanks to a strip interception by Bobby Wagner, who stole a pass from Trent Taylor and set up Seattle at the 16-yard line. Two plays later, Wilson ran it in from 2 yards.

Wagner was stellar, adding to the pick with eight tackles, two for loss, two QB hits and a pass deflected. He went over 100 tackles for the season, a mark the All-Pro has reached in each of his six seasons.

Seattle’s defense also got great efforts from Michael Bennett (a sack, tackle for loss and two QB hits), Sheldon Richardson (six tackles and two QB hits) and Marcus Smith (a sack and two QB hits), among others.

They hit rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard 13 times. He was down for a few minutes after an offsides Bennett hit him in the final minute; Beathard limped off the field and was replaced by recent trade acquisition Jimmy Garoppolo, who threw a 10-yard TD pass to conclude the game.

Neither offense could do much in the first half, combining for 11 punts. The 49ers did finish strong, getting a 38-yard field goal from Robbie Gould with four seconds left. Until that 47-yard drive, the 49ers had amassed just 85 yards. They actually outgained Seattle 132-129.

Beathard was harassed throughout the half by Seattle’s front, sacked twice and hit 10 times. He hit just 4 of 13 passes to start but finished 10 of 20 for 109 yards by halftime, thanks to that late scoring drive. His final line: 22 of 38 for 201 yards, no TDs, one interception.

The Seahawks got off to a horrible start, too. Wilson’s first pass was intercepted by safety Eric Reid, and Blair Walsh missed a 48-yard field goal on Seattle’s second series. Wilson completed just 8 of 19 passes for 80 yards in the half.

Walsh’s struggles continued with his fifth miss in his last 10 attempts — he failed on a 52-yarder at the end of a 34-31 loss to Atlanta in Week 11, and he missed three kicks in a loss to Washington in Week 9. Against the 49ers, after Walsh missed from 48, coach Pete Carroll eschewed a 53-yard attempt late in the first quarter, punting instead.

Walsh hit a 34-yarder to finish off Seattle’s scoring in the fourth quarter.


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