The Seahawks beat San Francisco using a familiar script - the defense held down the fort while the offense figured things out.

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For what seemed like the umpteenth time in the last two seasons, the Seahawks defense came through for the misfiring offense Sunday in its home opener at CenturyLink Field.

With the Seahawks offense struggling for most of the game against San Francisco, the Seahawks’ defense kept the score low enough to give its offense a chance to work out its kinks.

This finally happened in the fourth quarter, when quarterback Russell Wilson capped a 10-play 82-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Paul Richardson that put Seattle up 12-9.

But even then, the defense had to come in to preserve the win with 7:06 remaining and the 49ers’ offense back on the field.

Seahawks 12, 49ers 9

 

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Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, Kam Chancellor and company forced the third 49ers three-and-out of the afternoon to make San Francisco punt and return the ball to their offense for good.

It was just a routine day’s work, say the Seahawks’ defensive players.

“It was a team game, it was a great experience for the team to just battle till the end,” said Chancellor, who had four tackles in the win. “You learn a lot from a game like this. You learn to stick together until the end and don’t dwell on what’s happening in the past. Just keep controlling what’s going on toward the rest of the game and just stay together and keep grinding.”

However, the Seahawks’ offensive players thanked their defensive counterparts for buying them time.

“The defense does a phenomenal job out there scouting and playing, and we know if we ever need them, they’re there to help us out,” said receiver Tyler Lockett. “We know we have a great defense out there and we’re gonna keep getting it together and being better each and every day.”

Aside from two long runs it gave up to San Francisco running back Carlos Hyde – one of which went for 61 yards — the Seahawks defense held its ground against the 49ers offense all day, giving up 248 total yards, allowing only two of 12 third down conversions, sacking quarterback Brian Hoyer twice, and holding him to 15 of 27 completions for 99 passing yards and no touchdowns.

Defensive end Frank Clark said getting off the field on third downs was a big point of emphasis this week, after the Seahawks allowed Green Bay to convert nine of 16 third downs last week in their season opener.

“That was the main thing we harped on coming in, getting off the field and executing,” said Clark who had two tackles and a sack. “Next week, we’ve got to tackle better. I think we did a poor job of tackling. That’s obvious.”

Clark pointed to Hyde’s big runs of 27 yards and 61 yards as spots where the defense needed to tackle better.

“That’s something we’ve got to stop next time we play them,” Clark said.

The defense also forced one turnover, with linebacker Bobby Wagner picked off Hoyer in the first quarter, and Sherman recovering the ball for the Seahawks.

That set up an offensive drive that led to the second of Blair Walsh’s two field goals.

But other than those two field goals, Seattle’s offense did very little until the fourth quarter, punting seven times, and suffering four three-and-outs, with three of those going for one yard or less.

Yet, the Seahawks’ defensive players downplayed any suggestion that their offense struggled against the 49ers.

Instead, they stressed the number of new faces the Seahawks have on offense this year and said it would take time for the unit to jell.

“They have a lot of new guys,” defensive end Michael Bennett said. “So it’s going to take a little bit of time to get that camaraderie. They were closing in on that last four-minute drive. They ran the ball every time, they ran the ball from the 10-yard line to the 60, so that was good.”

“Honestly, they weren’t really struggling,” Sherman said. “They were doing everything they needed to do in terms of time of possession and control of the clock and things like that.”

Conversely, with a core group of veterans returning on the defense, Sherman said a high standard has been set over the years, and it’s one that they expect to hit in every game, regardless of how the offense is performing.

“We’ve got a lot of highly paid guys on our side of the ball, a lot of guys who played the game at a high level, and there’s a certain standard that’s expected,” Sherman said. “We expect it from ourselves, we expect that regardless of what happens on the other side of the ball. At the end of the day it’s really on us. … We think we hold ourselves to a high standard.”