Surging Seahawks hammer 49ers, take title race to wire

Mon Dec 24, 2012 2:07am EST
 
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(Reuters) - The Seattle Seahawks ensured the NFC West title race will go down to the final week with a playoff-clinching 42-13 home rout of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

The Seahawks dominated the 49ers from the start in rainy Seattle to remain unbeaten at home and move within half a game of division leaders San Francisco.

The 49ers entered the game with a chance to clinch the division but found themselves on the wrong end of a beating by surging Seattle (10-5), who have won four straight games including the last three by a combined 120 points.

San Francisco (10-4-1) can still claim the crown with a home win over Arizona while Seattle need to beat St Louis and hope for a 49ers loss to leapfrog their rivals.

"When we wake up tomorrow we're still a half-game up on the division," shellshocked 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters. "I know what to expect in terms of how our team will handle (the loss)."

Marshawn Lynch triggered the rout with two touchdowns in the first quarter before Richard Sherman returned a blocked field goal attempt 90 yards to give Seattle a 21-0 lead at the start of the second.

Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson had touchdown passes in all four quarters, finishing the game with four, to emphatically outplay San Francisco's signal caller Colin Kaepernick.

Wilson is one touchdown pass short of tying Peyton Manning's NFL rookie record of 26.

"My goal is just to continue to grow. I'm on that constant quest for knowledge and our team is too," Wilson said. "We've had a great year so far, we have to keep moving forward we have a lot to look forward to."   Continued...

 
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin (R) pulls in a 43-yard pass catch from quarterback Russell Wilson during the first quarter of their NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Seattle, Washington, December 23, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Sorbo