Seahawks thump 49ers, taking another big step forward in playoff race

SEATTLE – The Seattle Seahawks are serious about this whole “playoffs” thing.

The Seahawks (7-5) thumped the San Franscisco 49ers 43-16 at CenturyLink Field on Sunday afternoon, posting their most dominant performance of the year and putting themselves in stronger position in the wild-card race as they reach the final quarter of the season.

Russell Wilson had another memorably efficient performance, completing 11-of-17 passes for 18 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Chris Carson was the Seahawks’ leading rusher with 13 carries for 69 yards before leaving the game in the fourth quarter to have one of his fingers X-rayed. Coach Pete Carroll said after the game Carson dislocated a finger but “should be OK.”

The Seahawks will likely need two or three more wins in their final four games to find their way into the postseason. They play host to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football next week, then travel to San Francisco before returning home to close out the season with games against the Chiefs and Cardinals.

Sunday’s game got out of hand quickly.

The Seahawks got on the board first, with many thanks to receiver Jaron Brown. Brown caught a 45-yard pass to get Seattle into scoring position, then caught a 4-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter that put Seattle up 6-0 after Sebastian Janikowski missed the extra point. It was Brown’s fourth touchdown of the season but not his last of the day.

Seattle struck again quickly on its next possession, and a deep ball from Wilson was again the driving force. This time, Carson runs of 15 yards and 1 yard set up a beautiful Wilson pass to Tyler Lockett for a 52-yard touchdown that put the Seahawks up 13-0 early in the second quarter.

The game entered laugher territory late in the first half.

Richie James muffed a Michael Dickson punt, and Neiko Thorpe came up with the ball to give the Seahawks the ball on San Francisco’s 33-yard line. Five plays later, Wilson connected with Doug Baldwin on a 1-yard touchdown pass to give Seattle a 20-0 lead with 1:34 left in the second quarter.

The 49ers got a field goal as the half ended, but the Seahawks piled it on at the outset of the second half. Lockett took the opening kickoff back 85 yards, and on the very next play, Rashaad Penny ran in a 20-yard touchdown to put the Seahawks ahead 27-3.

The 49ers weren’t quite out of gas yet. They drove 58 yards in seven plays on the next possession, capping it off with a 17-yard Dante Pettis touchdown reception that make it 27-10.

The Seahawks tacked on to their lead late in the third quarter. An efficient six-play, 88-yard drive ended in a touchdown when Brown caught his second TD pass of the afternoon, an 18-yarder from Wilson with 3:23 left in the quarter.

After all that, the Seahawks still had one more highlight left in them. Leading 37-16 late in the fourth quarter, Bobby Wagner came up with the first pick-6 of his career – and the longest in franchise history – returning an interception 98 yards to put the Seahawks ahead 43-16 after Janikowski missed another extra point.

It was the Seahawks’ 10th consecutive victory over their NFC West rivals.