Expected to be a tight, hard-hitting national show between two teams and coaches with a profound disdain for each other, Sunday night's game devolved into a bludgeoning.
The Seattle Seahawks earned their fourth consecutive victory with a 42-13 dismantling of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night in front of 68,161 manic fans at CenturyLink Field.
The win clinched a playoff berth for Seattle. The New York Giants' loss earlier in the day means the Seahawks are guaranteed at least the NFC's No. 5 seed in the playoffs. Seattle (10-5) can win the NFC West if San Francisco (10-4-1) loses next week against the Arizona Cardinals (5-10) and the Seahawks beat the Rams (7-7) at home.
If the 49ers win next week and the Green Bay Packers (11-4) lose at Minnesota, San Francisco would capture the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs and a first-round postseason bye.
Seattle heads into the final week of the regular season on an historical roll, having scored 150 points in the past three games. According to Elias, the only team with more in a three-game span was the 1950 Rams, who scored 165.
Marshawn Lynch (26 carries for 111 yards) had his third consecutive 100-plus-yard game against the 49ers. In past 52 regular-season games, San Francisco has allowed an opposing player to rush for 100 yards five times, with Lynch the culprit three times.
The Seahawks bolted out to a 28-6 halftime lead, and they continued to pile on in the third quarter. A 15-play, 68-yard drive ended with Russell Wilson lofting a pass that Doug Baldwin snagged in the back right corner of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown. That put Seattle in front 35-6 with 3:22 left in the third.
Wilson tacked on another scoring pass to Baldwin with 7:02 left in the fourth to put Seattle up 42-6. Wilson's 24th touchdown pass of the season left him one short of Peyton Manning's rookie touchdown record of 26.
Wilson finished 15-for-21 for 171 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
San Francisco scored its first touchdown of the night when Colin Kaepernick passed to Delanie Walker for an 18-yard touchdown with 1:40 remaining. It was by far too little too late. Kaepernick went 19-for-36 for 244 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Seattle limited San Francisco running back Frank Gore to 28 yards on six carries.
The Seahawks' early dominance was multifaceted. Lynch scored on a 24-yard touchdown 1:12 in the first quarter to give the Seahawks a 7-0 lead. He caught a 9-yard touchdown pass nine minutes later for a 14-0 Seattle lead. It was Lynch's first touchdown catch since Nov. 27, 2011, and the third of his career.
However, the biggest rumble was yet to come.
San Francisco, after gaining just 69 yards in the first quarter, crept down to the Seahawks' 3-yard line early in the second quarter and lined up for a 21-yard field-goal attempt. Defensive tackle Red Bryant stuck up his right hand and blocked the kick. The ball deflected right to cornerback Richard Sherman, who picked it up and sprinted for a 90-yard touchdown down the left sideline with his dreadlocks streaming behind him, rain falling and the stadium shaking.
After the extra point, Seattle led 21-0 with 12:04 left in the second quarter. The touchdown capped a 100-0 run at home for Seattle, dating back to the first quarter of its game against the Jets in Week 10.
San Francisco ended that run shortly after a screen pass from Wilson to Robert Turbin went off the running back's hands and was picked off by a diving Patrick Willis. The 49ers settled for a 33-yard field goal from David Akers.
Seattle bounced right back with a stout 13-play, 60-yard drive that ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Anthony McCoy from Wilson for a 28-3 lead.
San Francisco managed a 54-yard field goal by Akers with 31 seconds left in the second quarter to make the score 28-6 at halftime.
NOTES: Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor walloped San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis with 21 seconds left in the first quarter, drawing a personal foul. The hit, which jarred loose a pass at the goal line, concussed Davis, who did not return to the game. ... San Francisco defensive end Justin Smith was replaced in the starting lineup by Ricky Jean-Francois. Smith is reportedly out for the rest of the regular season because of an elbow injury. ... Among Seattle's inactives were cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond and guard John Moffitt. Linebacker Clark Haggans was one of San Francisco's inactive players. ... Former Seattle defensive tackle Sam Adams raised the 12th Man flag at the start of the game.