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Friday, October 19, 2012
Around the NFC West: 49ers' special victory

By Mike Sando

SAN FRANCISCO -- The 2011 San Francisco 49ers dominated field position through superior special teams.

The team hadn't been as good in that area this season. Missed field-goal tries and leaky coverage units -- to say nothing of a recent spree of interceptions -- were putting the 49ers' defense in tougher positions.

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio had hinted at the possibility for a tougher defensive season when asked over the summer whether the 49ers could improve on his side of the ball. He said improvement might not show up in overall defensive stats, because some of the 49ers' defensive success last season related to field position.

Those advantages played a significant role in the 49ers' 13-6 victory against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night.

Seattle began its drives at its own 15-yard line on average, the worst average starting field position for any team in a game this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Punter Andy Lee and the 49ers' coverage unit pinned the Seahawks inside their 20-yard line five times.

Teams beginning their drives inside their own 20 on average are 0-8 this season.

A few other game notes from ESPN Stats & Info: Programming note: I'll be boarding a flight home in the next couple hours, then heading to St. Louis on Saturday for the Rams' game against Green Bay on Sunday.