SANTA CLARA — Since December 8, 2013, the San Francisco 49ers have played five different quarterbacks, employed four separate head coaches and two general managers, and have even opened a brand new stadium.
The one thing they haven’t seen during that time however: a win against their NFC West rivals, the Seattle Seahawks.
On Sunday, with a 36-yard overtime field goal by Robbie Gould, the 49ers put an end to their 10-game losing streak against Seattle, winning 26-23 at Levi’s Stadium.
“I hated having to answer the questions about [the losing streak] this week,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I definitely didn’t want to a whole ‘nother year doing it … It means a whole lot to our team.”
Two weeks ago in Seattle, in the teams’ last meeting, San Francisco was utterly embarrassed in a 43-16 loss — its worst loss of the season. The 49ers were victimized by the Seahawks’ outside zone rushing attack, in which they gained 110 yards on seven carries. With that in mind, San Francisco was determined to not get beat on the ground on Sunday.
While Seattle was able to gain 168 yards for the second game in a row against San Francisco, the 49ers forced Seattle to stay between the tackles.
“It was a tough two weeks,” 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner said. “We knew exactly how they were going to attack us. It was up to us to stop it.”
On Sunday, Buckner was able to corral slippery Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, tallying two sacks on the former third-round draft pick for his second-most productive game of the season.
Along with Buckner, the 49ers found some defensive help from rookie defensive back Tarvarius Moore, who found himself playing cornerback after starter Ahkello Witherspoon suffered a knee sprain early in the first quarter.
Moore would arguably be the 49ers most important defender, coming up with back-to-back stops late in the fourth quarter as Seattle attempted to drive down field with 25 seconds remaining in what was at the time a 23-23 tie.
“In this league, you never know when it’s going to be your opportunity,” Moore told The Examiner. “You’ve just got to be ready, try to benefit the team as much as I can.”
“I hope he gets a lot of credit for what he did out there today,” former Seahawk and current 49ers corner Richard Sherman said. “A lot of times, you play hesitant and scared but he didn’t play like that today.”
Thanks to Moore’s pair of stops, the 49ers were able to withstand Seattle’s late punch and force overtime, where San Francisco would be the beneficiaries of several costly Seahawks penalties.
On Seattle’s first drive in the extra period, they would be called for an offensive holding foul that wiped away an 18-yard play which would have placed the Seahawks in San Francisco territory.
During the ensuing 49ers possession, a defensive pass interference call on a pass from Nick Mullens to wide receiver Dante Pettis by defensive back Shaquille Griffin placed the 49ers in Seattle territory.
On Seattle’s 40-yard line, Shanahan elected to give the ball to rookie running back Jeff Wilson, who had fumbled three times in San Francisco’s last three games — including once during the second quarter on Sunday.
“It was tough, especially how it’s gone since he’s been in and what happened today,” Shanahan said. “[Matt] Breida went out [with an injury] on that last drive, so you don’t have much of a choice with it.”
Despite his issues with ball security, Wilson provided perhaps the most important rush of the day: a 16-yard gain that placed the 49ers in field goal range, giving Gould a chance to achieve something the 49ers hadn’t been able to do in five years.
“That was probably the best thing that could have happened to me,” Wilson said. “Every one of my teammates, every staff member was picking me up after the fumble and it gave me that confidence to come through.”
In the pouring rain, Gould kicked a picture-perfect 36-yard field goal through the uprights, sealing the 49ers’ first win against Seattle since former head coach Jim Harbaugh and quarterback Colin Kaepernick achieved victory in a 19-17 win at Candlestick Park in Dec. 8, 2013.
“It just feels great. It’s like a breath of fresh air,” said Garrett Celek, one of the few 49ers players still around from that 2013 team. “[Seattle had] been holding that over our heads for so long but now, they can’t anymore.”