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Led by Lynch and defense, Seattle eliminates 49ers from playoff contention with 17-7 win

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SEATTLE — Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh shook hands and went their separate ways, one headed toward the postseason and a possible No. 1 seed, the other dealing with the disappointment of missing the playoffs for the first time in his coaching career.

Carroll and the Seahawks knocked San Francisco out of playoff contention with a 17-7 win on Sunday, ending the 49ers' run of reaching the NFC championship game for three straight seasons and potentially bringing to a close the most heated rivalry in the NFC.

Seattle (10-4) won for the fifth time in six games against the 49ers. Combined with Buffalo's win over Green Bay earlier Sunday, the Seahawks moved into a position where a No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs is now possible.

"The Niners came out really going for it. They did a great job planning," Carroll said. "They did a lot of new stuff and some things that challenged us on defense today, early in the game. Fortunately, our guys settled down and figured some stuff out and did a really good job of adjusting, and just really didn't give up anything in the second half."

Marshawn Lynch rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown and Russell Wilson added a 10-yard TD pass to Paul Richardson in the fourth quarter as Seattle rallied from a 7-3 halftime deficit.

The 49ers (7-7) played better than they did during their 19-3 loss to Seattle on Thanksgiving night, but the result was the same.

"It's definitely tough. Especially for me. I'm very competitive. I always feel like I'm supposed to win," 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin said. "I can't tell you the last time I didn't make the playoffs."

Here are some other things that stood out from Seattle's win:

INJURY LIST: In a season filled with key injuries, the 49ers lost two more players late in the first half and another in the third quarter. Running back Frank Gore, who scored on a 10-yard run in the second quarter, left 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. He attempted to return, but was mostly a spectator and replaced by Nick Moody.

PHOTO: Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson (10) pulls down a reception for a touchdown ahead of the defense of San Francisco 49ers free safety Eric Reid, right, in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson (10) pulls down a reception for a touchdown ahead of the defense of San Francisco 49ers free safety Eric Reid, right, in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Gore's backup, Carlos Hyde, was bent backward and appeared to injure his right leg late in the third quarter. And that was on top of San Francisco being without starting offensive linemen Marcus Martin and Anthony Davis, and cornerback Chris Culliver.

"They played as tough as you could want them, and they were right there the whole time," Carroll said. "They had a lot of guys stepping in. A lot of credit goes to those guys."

BRING THE HEAT: Because of San Francisco's banged-up offensive line, Seattle's defensive line was consistently successful in getting pressure on Colin Kaepernick. Seattle finished with a season-high six sacks. Second-year defensive tackle Jordan Hill had a pair of sacks, while Bobby Wagner, Bruce Irvin, K.J. Wright and Kevin Williams were all credited with one.

SECOND-HALF SHUTOUT: San Francisco had 178 total yards in the first half after gaining 164 for the entire game in the first meeting. San Francisco had only six plays of 10 yards or more in the first meeting and none longer than 16 yards. They had eight plays of 10 or more yards in the first half Sunday.

Those plays disappeared in the second half. San Francisco had 6 total yards in the third quarter and 67 for the second half.

"It was a position that we thought we could put our running backs, myself and offensively in a positive situation to have good plays, we did move the ball well at the beginning of the game, but we have to be able to sustain that for 60 minutes," Kaepernick said.

COLIN ON THE RUN: For the first time in four career games in Seattle, Kaepernick did not commit a turnover and had a passer rating of 81.3. But unlike the NFC championship game last January, Kaepernick's running was not a factor. After Kaepernick was unable to be a threat in the run game on Thanksgiving night, Seattle expected more designed run plays this time.

They were right. But aside from a 22-yard run, Kaepernick was mostly corralled and had only one other run longer than 5 yards.


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