A recap of the Seahawks’ 20-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers at Qwest Field on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Olindo Mare. The kicker? That’s the kicker. Mare won the game with a 30-yard field goal as time expired and earlier in the fourth quarter kicked a 25-yarder that ran his streak to 17 in a row to break the franchise record.
The less-obvious footnote was that the kicks came at the north end of the stadium, where the wind swirls and he missed his only two attempts this season – in a six-point loss to the Chicago Bears in Week 3, which was followed by some rather harsh words from coach Jim Mora.
“I think it has very little to do with my very direct and probably overbearing criticism on that day,” Mora said. “I think it’s just a testament to the type of professional that Olindo is. Whether I said anything to him or not, he has a lot of pride in his performance and he takes it very seriously. That’s one of the reasons he’s had so much success in this league.
“We’re reaping the benefits of that now.”
The game-winner was the 13th of Mare’s career.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Mare would not have been close enough to drill his game-winner if Matt Hasselbeck had not dropped a perfect pass to rookie Deon Butler along the sideline for a 32-yard gain that put the ball at the 49ers’ 15-yard line. The excruciating twist for the 49ers was that Butler had the “alert” route on the play. That means, as Hasselbeck explained it, “Hey listen, you’ll probably never get this ball, but be alter.”
Butler was, and he did – get the ball.
“It’s no surprise, I’m a Matt Hasselbeck fan,” Mora said. “I think that he excels in crunch time. I think he shows his toughness every time he does out there.”
Defense: So many from which to chose, but one involved two players and came after the 49ers had driven to the Seahawks’ 26-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. As Frank Gore was twisted and pushing for extra yards at the end of a 4-yard run, free safety Jordan Babineaux forced a fumble that was recovered by cornerback Josh Wilson and returned 43 yards to the 49ers’ 41.
“You know who made the really good play on that was Jordan, knocking it out,” Mora said when asked about Wilson. “But you can’t deny that again Josh was in the right spot.”
Wilson picked off a pass that was tipped by fellow cornerback Kelly Jennings in last week’s win at St. Louis and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown. Wilson thought he was going to score on the fumble return, as well. Unlike he ran into Alex Smith, the 49ers’ QB.
“We’ll get that on film,” Babineaux said with a grin. “We’ll certainly talk about that.”
Offered Wilson, “Alex Smith technically didn’t tackle me. I ran through him and somebody got me from behind.” Wilson then laughed and added, “I’m probably going to get some laughs about that one.”
Special teams: Mare’s fourth-quarter two-fer. One kick set a franchise record for consecutive field goals, the other won the game.
“Well, I’ll tell you what, it definitely feels good to win,” he said. “We’re on a two-game winning streak. I think that’s probably a good record to have right now.”
There was a moment of silence prior to kickoff for the four police officers that were slain in Pierce County last week, and Mora wore a Lakewood Police hat on the sideline during the game.
“I just felt it was the right thing to do, to bring attention to those people that every day, uncelebrated … they go out there and unselfishly lay it on the line for all of us,” Mora said. “I think it’s important that we recognize that.”
After splitting a sack with Babineaux in the third quarter, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane went into a celebratory dance that looked like a vertical worm.
“I kind of got that dance from (former teammates) Chuck Darby and Rocky Bernard,” Mebane said. “They told me I had to come up with some kind of dance everything I make a big play. I didn’t know what to do at the time, so I came out and just started doing something.”
Hasselbeck was late for his new conference because he was getting iced down? Or was that de-iced, considering that the wind-chill temperate at kickoff was 30 degrees?
“No, I was getting iced,” said Hasselbeck, who took a knee to the back in the on a third-quarter sack.
The Seahawks played without defensive lineman Cory Redding (concussion) and linebacker D.D. Lewis (sprained knee). But Mora reported no new injuries after the game.
“We came out of the game relatively healthy, just your typical bumps and bruises,” he said. “Nothing that looks like it will keep anyone out.”
YOU DON’T SAY
“That’s absolutely what we’re still playing for. The way to do it, though, is one game at a time, one practice at a time, one play at a time. Just keep doing all the things we said before the season started is so important. It would be easy to look at all the mistakes we’ve made, and look at the mountain we have to climb to accomplish it, and get discouraged. So I think we have to stay focused. If it happens, it happens. We can control a good part of it.” – Hasselbeck, responding to a question about the team’s ability to finish with a winning record and possibly make the playoffs