SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Russell Wilson’s pass on the initial play of the game from scrimmage sailed into the hands of 49ers safety Eric Reid.
Seattle was scoreless until Wilson scampered two yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter. Then he really found his rhythm after halftime Sunday as the Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers 24-13 to bounce back from a three-point loss to Atlanta last Monday.
After halftime, Wilson was his old playmaking self again — with reliable pass-catching mate Jimmy Graham ready to shine alongside him. They have tag-teamed on eight touchdowns over the past seven games.
Wilson found Graham on a 1-yard toss for one of his two touchdown throws to give him 150 career TDs passing. He connected on a 17-yard score to Nick Vannett in the third quarter for the second-year tight end’s first career TD.
Graham’s 16 TD receptions passed Jerramy Stevens for most by a Seattle tight end.
“Jimmy Graham’s playing phenomenal football,” Wilson said. “He’s one of the best tight ends to ever play the game. I think that he really stands out and he can do some special things.”
Wilson is now 23-4 following a loss, the top mark by a starting quarterback since the 1970 merger — with a minimum of 15 following a defeat.
“I think Russell was going to have a terrific game. The first play got away from him,” coach Pete Carroll said. “I don’t think it’s much more than that. He had a great second half, has done it all along, and I think he would have done that the first half if we just hung onto the football.”
The Seahawks (7-4) won their ninth straight in the series in a streak that began with the NFC title game in January 2014 at Seattle. These are hardly the anticipated matchups they used to be in what had been one of the NFL’s best rivalries. The Niners dropped to a dismal 1-10.
Here are some things to take away from Sunday:
NICE PICK: Bobby Wagner didn’t practice all week. So when he wrestled the ball away from Trent Taylor for a second-quarter interception to set up Seattle’s first points of the game, it was that much more impressive.
Wagner ran the ball back for a touchdown but the play went to review and the ball came back.
“When he threw the ball, he didn’t really have that much control of it so I just kind of took it away,” Wagner said. “I was hoping to get me a touchdown but they called it back.”
No matter that there was no score. Wilson found the end zone two plays later.
Wagner and the defense were determined to give the offense a lift.
“It was an extraordinary play,” Carroll said. “I don’t even know how he did it. He’s a remarkable athlete.”
49ERS QB: Coach Kyle Shanahan was forced into going to Jimmy Garoppolo before anyone wanted to do so.
C.J. Beathard went down with a left leg injury and there came Garoppolo — all of 1:07 left.
Acquired from New England at the trade deadline last month, he immediately scrambled to gain 4 yards and found Louis Murphy for a 10-yard touchdown as time expired.
“There’s never an easy situation to go into,” Garoppolo said. “Being the backup, I’ve experienced both ends of it. But you always have to be ready. I’ve been saying it the last four years. You never know when your time is going to come, if it’s going to come. So when it does, you’ve got to take advantage of it.”
Beathard will undergo an MRI exam Monday and said both his left knee and hip were ailing.
“It may just be a bruise to the knee. You don’t know,” he said. “I’m trying to get back out there as soon as possible. Obviously, I don’t think anything’s torn or anything like that. It doesn’t feel like it.”
Beathard was 22 of 38 for 201 yards Sunday before the injury.
Before converting a 34-yard field goal late, inconsistent Seattle kicker Blair Walsh had failed on two straight field goals. He sent one wide left from 48 yards out in the second quarter after missing from 52 yards late in the final seconds of the 34-31 defeat to the Falcons. He also missed three against Washington in another three-point Seahawks defeat Nov. 5. He is 18 for 24 on the year.
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