Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Tyler Lockett completed a “beautiful season.” Because of the veteran wide receiver’s late-game heroics against San Francisco, the Seahawks are heading into the playoffs with momentum.
Russell Wilson hit Lockett for two fourth-quarter touchdowns, and a stellar defensive effort helped the Seahawks rally past the 49ers 26-23 on Sunday and end the regular season on a four-game winning streak.
The win didn’t do anything to change the Seahawks playoff position. Seattle (12-4) had a chance to earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs but stayed at No. 3 after the New Orleans Saints and top-seeded Green Bay Packers both won. Even so, the Seahawks look plenty dangerous heading into the postseason.
They’ll host the division rival Los Angeles Rams in the wild-card round next Saturday at 4:40 p.m. EST.
“I’m really fired up that we continue to be a finishing club and we find ways to do it,” Carroll said. “We can match up our numbers at the end of season with anybody. And it’s something that it’s in the blood around here, and I’m really proud of that and finishing strong is always something that we love.”
Seattle had a slow start and appeared in serious trouble when Jeff Wilson Jr. ran for a 7-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to push the 49ers ahead 16-6.
But the Seahawks responded with their first touchdown when Russell Wilson avoided pressure and hit Lockett for a diving 6-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone. Jason Myers missed the extra point and the Seahawks trailed 16-12.
Seattle forced the 49ers to punt on the ensuing possession and then methodically marched 85 yards on 14 plays and scored the go-ahead touchdown on fourth down on Wilson’s 4-yard throw to Lockett. Wilson finished 20 of 36 passing for 171 yards. Lockett had 12 catches for 90 yards.
“You never know when you’re going to get your chances but when you do, it’s all about being able to make the best out of those opportunities and that’s one of the things that I always try to do,” Lockett said.
Alex Collins ran for an 8-yard touchdown with 1:49 left to put the Seahawks ahead 26-16.
The 49ers (6-10) were eliminated from playoff contention a few weeks ago and have been based in Arizona for more than a month because of coronavirus restrictions in their home county. The team still pushed the playoff-bound Seahawks all afternoon.
“That’s why they win a lot of games,” San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said. “They try to hang in there until the fourth. I thought we had enough of a lead to do it. I thought it was a couple of plays that we missed.”
Third-stringer C.J. Beathard completed 25 of 37 passes for 273 yards and a touchdown but fumbled late in the fourth quarter, which set up Collins’ touchdown. Tristan Vizcaino made his first three NFL field goals after being signed by the 49ers earlier this week.
It was the second straight start for Beathard, who led the 49ers to a win over the Arizona Cardinals last week. The quarterback’s first two starts since 2018 came after injuries to starter Jimmy Garoppolo and backup Nick Mullens.
It was the third straight “home” game the 49ers played in Arizona and the team was winless in those contests.
The 49ers arrived in Arizona on Dec. 2 and began practicing the next day. The team stayed at a hotel near the Cardinals’ stadium in Glendale. There were practice fields close by, which kept the team in a contained area. Families of players, coaches and staff were able to come to Arizona and reunite during Christmas week.
San Francisco’s only win at State Farm Stadium this season was a road game. The 49ers beat the Cardinals 20-12 last week.
Shanahan admitted he was ready for the trying season to be over.
“First time I’ve ever packed two days in advance for anything,” Shanahan said. “We’re all excited to see our families. … Being stuck in a hotel for 30 days does wear on you a little bit.”
DK Metcalf set the Seahawks’ single-season record for yards receiving, a mark previously held for 35 years by Hall of Famer Steve Largent.
Largent had 1,287 yards in 1985. Metcalf entered the day 6 yards shy and broke the record with consecutive catches of 5 and 4 yards in the second quarter. He caught only one more pass and finished the season with 1,302 yards.
Lockett broke the other big franchise receiving mark, finishing with a record 100 catches. He eclipsed 1,000 yards for the season on a 26-yard catch to start the second quarter. Joey Galloway and Brian Blades in 1995 were the only Seahawks teammates to have 1,000 yards receiving in the same year.
Lockett had two big games in Arizona this season with 27 catches for 290 yards and five TDs against the 49ers and Arizona Cardinals.
Seahawks: DT Jarran Reed left the game in the third quarter because of an abdominal injury.
49ers: DE Dion Jordan (knee) was injured early in the second half and didn’t return.
The Seahawks will host the Rams in the first round of the playoffs next weekend.
The 49ers will try next season to get back to their 2019 form, when they made it to the Super Bowl.