Originally published Tuesday, December 20, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Seahawks eager for rematch with 49ers

So much has changed since Seattle lost to San Francisco in the season opener — mainly, the Seahawks have started a winning trend.

Seattle Times staff reporter


San Francisco @ Seattle, 1:15 p.m., Ch. 13

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RENTON — Hard to exaggerate the significance of this week's game between Seattle and San Francisco.

There are playoff considerations on both sides, more than a little bit of divisional pride and the Seahawks will be playing their final home game with a chance to wash away the aftertaste left by those two shots of Ginn from Week 1. Ted Ginn Jr., that is. The guy who scored twice in the span of a minute to seal the 49ers' 33-17 victory.

Saturday's game at CenturyLink Field is a chance for the 7-7 Seahawks to not only show how far they've come since that game, but how far they can go.

"For us to continue to take the steps we want to as an organization and as a team," fullback Michael Robinson said, "we've got to start winning games like this. We've come from hoping to win to now expecting to win.

"And if we expect to be the team that we all want to grow into, we have to win games like this game."

Seattle has won five of its past six games, this franchise's most successful stretch of football in four years. That run comes with a qualifier, though. Seattle has beaten only one opponent that currently holds a winning record: Baltimore.

San Francisco is 11-3, clinched the NFC West title two weeks ago and is vying for a first-round bye in the playoffs. The 49ers were the consensus division favorites this year, but it was only once Jim Harbaugh became coach that they've realized that potential.

"They brought to life the talent that was there," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.

San Francisco has one of the best defenses in football, an offensive line loaded with top-shelf draft picks and a punishing running back in Frank Gore. The 49ers have allowed the fewest points in the league this season, and they are two games away from becoming the first NFL team in the modern era to go a full season without surrendering a rushing touchdown.

The Seahawks began winning consistently only when they started running the ball repeatedly, getting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to avoid turnovers and playing industrial-grade defense. The 49ers have been following that script all year.

"It's a classic way of putting together a football team," Carroll said. "I think Jim has done a great job of selling it and getting it done."

The 49ers held Seattle to 39 yards of offense in the first half of the season opener. The Seahawks trailed by 16 at halftime, cut the deficit to two points in the fourth quarter and then allowed Ginn to score twice, first on a kickoff return and then a punt return.

There are plenty of ways to measure how far the Seahawks have come since that loss. You can count up the 1,390 rushing yards in their past 13 games, including five 100-yard rushing performances by Marshawn Lynch. Or you can point to the five wins Seattle has in its past six games.

Or better yet, you can line the Seahawks up against that same 49ers team they faced more than three months ago and see how the second meeting turns out.

"So much has changed since that first game," tight end Zach Miller said. "It's going to be a fun game because we get to see how far we've come."


• Seattle placed WR Mike Williams on injured reserve after he underwent surgery to repair a broken bone in his lower leg. The Seahawks signed cornerback Phillip Adams to take Williams' spot on the 53-man roster.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or On Twitter @dannyoneil.

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