The Seattle Seahawks were prevented from locking up the NFC West division title with their 19-17 setback in San Francisco on Sunday, but they quickly turned their attention to preparing for next weekend's road game at the New York Giants.
The Seahawks still own a two-game lead in the NFC West with three to play, but the 49ers remained in the lead for the NFC's second wild-card spot.
"We didn't project it to be this way," Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said. "We expected to blow them out, but they got the benefit of a few calls throughout the game and that helps you, especially on third down. We will see them again, and it will be a different result."
Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch carried 20 times for 72 yards, giving him 1,042 yards for the season. This marks Lynch's third straight 1,000-yard rushing season and the fifth of his career.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson completed 15 of 25 passes for 199 yards and one TD with one interception.
As expected the game turned into a physical struggle featuring two NFL defensive heavyweights.
After building a 16-14 halftime lead, the 49ers marched deep into Seahawks' territory late in the third quarter and appeared ready to extend their advantage. But on first-and-10 from the 20, Kaepernick underthrew wide receiver Michael Crabtree on a fade route along the left sideline, and Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell intercepted at the 1, then returned 2 yards to the 3.
The Seahawks took a 17-16 lead on Steven Hauschka's 31-yard field goal with 6:20 left to play. Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate set up Hauschka's field goal with a 38-yard punt return to 49ers' 27. The Seahawks stalled at the 13, and Hauschka gave them a one-point lead.
But the 49ers responded with their game-winning drive, and the Seahawks left Candlestick still needing to do more to dethrone the 49ers in the West.
"We've got three huge games coming up," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "Our season wasn't going to end today one way or the other."
After Sunday's game, the 11-2 Seahawks quickly refocused on the road ahead.
"You never let games like this define you, because they don't," Seattle safety Earl Thomas said. "We are just going to get back to work and get ready for the next opponent."
The Seahawks face the New York Giants on the road next week then finish with home games against Arizona and St. Louis.
--Seattle was flagged nine times for 85 yards Sunday in a two-point loss to San Francisco, many of those penalties coming against their aggressive defensive backs. Cornerback Richard Sherman said Seattle was hit by "some questionable calls on third down."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't know if it was their Super Bowl, but they played a great game. You've got to give them a lot of credit. They made the plays to win the game. We definitely wanted to win, but we came up a little short. But like coach (Pete Carroll) said, we still have our goals in front of us. It was a tough loss, but we'll lick our wounds, look at film tomorrow, move past it and get ready for the Giants." -- DE Red Bryant.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--WR Percy Harvin (hip) and CB Brandon Browner (groin) were among the inactives for Seattle.
--Seahawks LB K.J. Wright left the game in the second quarter with a broken foot that will sideline him for six weeks, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
--Seahawks C Max Unger left the game with a chest injury in the third quarter and did not return.
--Seahawks S Jeron Johnson injured a hamstring.
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