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Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers Hold Off Russell Wilson, Seahawks with Goal-Line Stand

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2019

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo drops back to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

The San Francisco 49ers won't have to leave the comforts of home to reach the Super Bowl.

San Francisco defeated the Seattle Seahawks 26-21 on Sunday at CenturyLink Field, clinching the NFC West and the NFC's No. 1 seed in the process. Raheem Mostert and Jimmy Garoppolo spearheaded the offensive effort for the 13-3 team, but it was the defense that won the game in dramatic fashion with a goal-line tackle of Jacob Hollister on a fourth-down play in the final seconds.

Seattle came less than a yard away from a division crown, but it will have to settle for a wild-card spot at 11-5.

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

So close https://t.co/RpPSqUppN4

          

Notable Fantasy Stats

  • SF QB Jimmy Garoppolo: 18-of-22 passing for 285 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions
  • SF RB Raheem Mostert: 10 carries for 57 yards and two touchdowns
  • SF WR Deebo Samuel: five catches for 102 yards
  • SEA QB Russell Wilson: 25-of-40 passing for 233 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions
  • SEA RB Marshawn Lynch: 12 carries for 34 yards and one touchdown
  • SEA WR DK Metcalf: six catches for 81 yards and one touchdown

          

Jimmy Garoppolo Passes Another Key NFC Test

San Francisco's defense has led the way throughout the season, and the team has a number of formidable options in the rushing attack. There was a time when it was fair to wonder if Garoppolo would ultimately hold the Niners back, but he continues to answer the call against potential playoff opponents.

He threw for four touchdowns in a thrilling showdown with the New Orleans Saints, was efficient with two touchdowns and zero picks against the Green Bay Packers, and directed back-to-back scoring drives in the second half with Sunday's game on the line.

NFL @NFL

The @49ers are the No. 1 seed! The NFC goes through San Francisco. #GoNiners https://t.co/Hn1615aalX

Deebo Samuel helped put the 49ers ahead 13-0 in the first half, but Garoppolo was the one under pressure on the back-to-back drives after Seattle pulled within one score.

Mostert scored the touchdowns, but the first one came after key passes to Kyle Juszczyk and Samuel. The second one came after Garoppolo threw a strike to Samuel on a third-down conversion to get into the red zone, preventing the Seahawks from stuffing the box and helping clear rushing lanes for Mostert.

NFL @NFL

.@JuiceCheck44 running routes like a WR 🙌 #GoNiners 📺: #SFvsSEA on NBC 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/iuRyhLy3dR https://t.co/WjfqjnGIUN

Jennifer Lee Chan @jenniferleechan

Great play call by Shanahan - Garoppolo to Juszczyk. That was the loudest the CenturyLink has been all game but that 49 yard play quieted them down.

Ted Nguyen @FB_FilmAnalysis

Garoppolo’s ball placement today has been A+

There will surely come a time when the 49ers need a late touchdown drive in the playoffs, and No. 10 has proved he is up to the task against some of the NFC's best.

If he can continue doing just that, San Francisco might lift the Lombardi Trophy.

            

Russell Wilson's Magic Comes Up Just Short

The return of Marshawn Lynch was an excellent story and one for Seahawks fans to enjoy, especially when he scored a touchdown in the second half.

Still, this team was playing without key running backs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, had inconsistent offensive line play and still nearly pulled off a double-digit comeback in the final few minutes because of Russell Wilson.

The game appeared over when the 49ers scored those back-to-back touchdowns late in the second half to go up 12 with less than six minutes remaining, but Wilson directed a seven-play, 60-yard drive in two minutes, 15 seconds and hit DK Metcalf for a touchdown. The throw came after he found Tyler Lockett for a score in the third quarter on a pass just before he hit the line of scrimmage in an incredible individual effort.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Russell Wilson. Pinpoint pass. 🎯 (via @NFL) https://t.co/TXu4xg8tSi

John Boyle @johnpboyle

That looked like Russell Wilson intentionally drug his foot to stay behind the line of scrimmage. Amazing awareness.

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

D.K. Metcalf with one-on-one coverage. Too easy. (via @NFL) https://t.co/vXfgl1Rll9

It seemed almost preordained that Wilson would be the hero when he got the ball back down five in crunch time, and he led the offense all the way to the 49ers' 1-yard line.

A crucial delay of game, missed pass interference call and memorable tackle by Dre Greenlaw at the goal line prevented Wilson from finishing his magic act, although San Francisco's defense deserves plenty of credit.

Michael David Smith @MichaelDavSmith

The 49ers committed obvious, blatant pass interference that the officials missed -- exactly the kind of missed call that instant replay review of pass interference was supposed to prevent -- and the booth never signaled for it to be reviewed.

It bottled Lynch for most of the game, made Seattle one-dimensional for key stretches and didn't fold with its back against its own end zone.

Perhaps Wilson will get another chance against his rival in the playoffs.

          

What's Next?

San Francisco awaits its divisional-round opponent, while the Seahawks turn their attention toward their Wild Card Round matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.