SEATTLE — For the Seahawks and their fans Sunday night, the waiting was the hardest part.
The rest turned out surprisingly easy as Seattle—after a one-hour first-quarter delay due to lightning—dominated the San Francisco 49ers in an early-season battle for supremacy in the NFC West, taking a resounding 29-3 victory.
The win came in front of a joyous and wet crowd of 68,338, a Seahawks CenturyLink Field record. The delay came with the game tied at 0-0 and 3:13 left in the first quarter. Officials said the delay was necessary due to the safety of players and fans after lightning was seen in the area.
Once play resumed at 7:05 p.m., the Seahawks appeared in prime-time form, almost immediately beginning to dominate.
After leading by the unlikely halftime score of 5-0 — which ESPN reported was the first such halftime score since 1992 — Seattle’s offense broke the game open in the second half, going on two 10-play, 80-yard drives each of the first two times it had the ball.
Marshawn Lynch capped each with touchdowns, the first a 14-yard run through the middle of the 49ers defense, the second a 7-yard pass from Russell Wilson, when he tiptoed into the end zone, stopping at the goal line for a second or two with no 49er defender anywhere within reach.
The second Lynch score made it 19-3 early in the fourth quarter and pretty much ended the drama in Seattle’s ninth straight home win.
The Seahawks added a coup de grace touchdown after a Kam Chancellor interception and return to the 2-yard-line and then Lynch’s third touchdown of the night.
Lynch ended the game with 98 yards on 28 carries.
Seattle (2-0) will meet San Francisco (1-1) again Dec. 8 at Candlestick Park.
For the moment, though, the Seahawks have the upper hand in the standings against the 49ers, whom many consider Seattle’s main threat for the NFC’s spot in the Super Bowl.
“We played it like a championship game,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “And these guys did not get rattled by any of it.”
After gaining just 70 yards rushing last week against Carolina, Seattle moved it on the ground with ease against the 49ers, led by Lynch.
The running game helped finally open up some passing for Russell Wilson, who was 2 for 10 in the first half before getting going in the final two quarters.
Defensively, the Seahawks allowed only 207 yards and a lone field goal against a 49er team that gained 494 yards and scored 34 points against Green Bay last week.
The key play of the game might have come on Seattle’s first drive of the third quarter, a 51-yard pass from Wilson to Doug Baldwin on a third-and-12 on which Wilson evaded a heavy rush and then hit Baldwin, who broke past 49er safety Donte Whitner to get open deep.
The drive was kept alive by a facemask penalty on San Francisco’s Ahmad Brooks on a sack of Wilson that would have set up third-and-goal from the 49er 19. Instead, Seattle got the ball at the 9-yard line and, after a penalty of its own, scored two plays later on a 14-yard run by Lynch to make it 12-0 with 9:12 left in the third quarter.
The 49ers responded with their only scoring drive of the final three quarters, though it ended with Seattle feeling somewhat victorious after holding San Francisco to a field goal after it had reached the Seahawk 7.
However, on third-and-goal at the three, 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who struggled all night to find the form of last week, was unable to locate an open receiver and was stopped for no gain, forcing the 49ers to settle for a 21-yard field goal that made it 12-3 with 4:20 left in the third quarter.
Seattle then drove for another TD that pretty much put the game away.
A pass interference and a penalty for illegal hands to the face helped get Seattle deep into 49er territory.
On a third-and-four from the seven, the 49ers brought seven defenders. But Wilson read it correctly to hit a wide-open Lynch who just about crawled into end zone.
The first half was a bit strange throughout, even without the delay.
Before the delay, it was the 49ers who had supplied any of the on-field thunder, allowing Seattle just two first downs on three series, and only 27 yards — 21 coming on one run by Lynch.
Wilson was 0 for 6 passing at the time of the stoppage, including an interception, and often seemed harried with the San Francisco defensive line usually getting the upper hand of the Seahawks’ offensive front.
At that point, Seattle was fortunate that the game was scoreless, holding the 49ers out of the end zone after San Francisco got to the five following a blocked punt. The left side of Seattle’s line appeared to stand up and hesitate on the block, and it looked as if Seahawks’ coaches later complained that they might have heard a whistle.
When the game resumed, Seattle got its running game going enough to force some bad field position for the 49ers, which resulted in the first score of the game—a safety when holding was called in the end zone on San Francisco fullback Bruce Miller.
That made it 2-0 with 10:44 to go in the half.
Seattle added a 30-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka with 5:56 to go in the half after the Seahawks recovered a fumble by Kaepernick.