49ers kept Seahawks out of position in win

October, 19, 2012
10/19/12
1:03
AM ET
It figured that the San Francisco 49ers-Seattle Seahawks matchup would be a defensive struggle, because the game pitted two of the three teams allowing the fewest points per game in the NFL.

The 49ers won on the strength of a stat that you probably don’t hear cited too often in NFL circles -- average field position.

The Seahawks had the worst average starting field position of any team in a game this season (their 15), as 49ers punter Andy Lee pinned them inside the 20 on four of five kicks.

Lee netted 44.6 yards per punt, with none bigger than the 61-yard net on his final punt, which pinned the Seahawks on their 11.

Eight teams have had an average drive start inside their 20 this season, and all eight have lost.

What other factors were key to the 49ers win?

Gore goes up the middle
All 16 of running back Frank Gore’s rushes came between the tackles Thursday. Gore’s 131 yards on such rushes is the fifth-most anyone has had in a game this season.

Gore gained 107 of his 131 rushing yards before he was contacted by the Seahawks. The last time he had more yards before contact in a game was against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14 of the 2009 (115).

The 49ers ended the Seahawks' string of not allowing an opponent to run for more than 100 yards in a game this season. They were the last NFL team this season to allow an opponent to rush for at least 100 yards.

Smith comes up big with short throws

Quarterback Alex Smith utilized short passes against the Seahawks, with 12 of his 14 completions coming on throws five yards or fewer downfield.

He was 6-for-6 on those throws in the second half.

Thursday was the fourth time in the past three seasons that Smith has completed at least 80 percent of his throws within five yards of the line of scrimmage.

Wilson can’t go deep
The 49ers were able to prevent the big play from Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, defending two of his passes traveling more than 15 yards downfield and intercepting another.

Wilson entered Thursday having completed 57 percent of his throws that went at least 15 yards downfield, the second-highest success rate in the NFL.

But the 49ers held him to just 2-for-8 on throws of that distance.

Wilson was 9-for-23 for the game, only the second time this season that he’s finished a game with a completion rate below 50 percent.

The other was in the controversial last-second win over the Green Bay Packers.

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