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December 8, 2013
Halftime: Successful two-minute drill puts 49ers ahead

The 49ers' two-minute offense - conspicuously absent for most of the season -- made an appearance just before halftime against the league's top defense. Trailing 14-9 with a little more than 3 minutes remaining, Colin Kaepernick led a nine-play, 72-yard drive that ended with a nicely-placed touchdown pass to - guess who? - Vernon Davis at the goal line.

The drive included a key 27-yard pass play to Kaepernick's other favorite target, Anquan Boldin, who is battling Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman and who leads the 49ers with four catches for 66 yards. Kaepernick, who has had two rotten outings against the Seahawks, is 9-19 for 122 yards.

The 49ers forced three Seahawks punts to start the game and even blocked one of them. Since then, however, the Seahawks have found their footing on offense and has been out-punching the 49ers vaunted defense.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson led his team downfield on two touchdown drives. Marshawn Lynch ran into the end zone virtually untouchded on the first after the Seattle defensive line took out their defensive-line counterparts with legal cut blocks.

On their next possession, Wilson hit wide-open tight end Luke Willson for a 39-yard touchdown. Willson, a rookie, was being trailed by Patrick Willis on the play, the second time in the game Willis was beaten for a big gain by the rookie. Willis appeared to be expecting a run by Lynch on the play.

The 49ers' offense, meanwhile, has been better than in previous encounters with the Seahawks, although early on they were unable to turn scoring chances into touchdowns.
Instead, San Francisco had to settle for three Phil Dawson field goals, the longest from 52 yards. Dawson has made a 49ers'record 19 straight field goals. He hasn't missed one since a Week 4 free-kick attempt from 71 yards in St. Louis.

While Boldin and Davis have continued to be steady targets for Kaepernick, they haven't had much help. Michael Crabtree has dropped two passes, although he also has drawn two holding penalties on the Seattle defense. Mario Manningham, who wasn't targeted last week against the Rams, has been targeted four times but hasn't been able to come down with any catches.

Seattle's Willson, meanwhile, played alongside 49ers tight end Vance McDonald at Rice. McDonald also has no catches for the 49ers.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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