A Seahawks team searching for something, anything, to feel good about finally got it Sunday in a dramatic 30-23 win over the San Francisco 49ers that came down to a fourth-down stop with 18 seconds left.

But the seeds of the win, coach Pete Carroll and some of the team’s players felt, were planted Saturday when receiver Tyler Lockett, who has the third-longest continuous tenure on the team, got up during the regular night-before meeting and asked his teammates to try to remember why they are NFL players and what it means to them.

Defensive end Carlos Dunlap called it was “one of those hard talks” in which “we got to know each other a lot better.”

“He (Lockett) just basically made it open floor for everybody to communicate their why,” said Dunlap, who batted down Jimmy Garoppolo’s pass on the final play to save the game for Seattle. “Why we sacrifice what we do for this game. Why we continue to work and fight for this game, when the season’s going the way it is. Why we’re here. How did we get here? Where we came from? Who are we doing it for? And a lot of the messages were very impactful.”

Said Carroll: “Really cool. I think it had something to do with today.”

Seahawks 30, 49ers 23


Who knows how much it might have really mattered, or course. But at 3-8 heading into the game and holding slim playoff hopes, it’s the time of year to try anything and everything.


That, certainly, seemed to be the philosophy of Carroll, who called a fake punt on the first series from his own 27-yard-line.

Setting a tone for the rest of the day, it worked as well as could have hoped as Travis Homer broke easily into the open for a 73-yard touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead.

Carroll later had his team go for it on fourth-and-1 at the 49ers’ 4 with 6:19 left holding a 30-23 lead, when a field goal would have put Seattle up two possessions.

Like much of the rest of the season, that didn’t pan out as Gerald Everett fumbled away the ball three plays later, setting the stage for the 49ers’ frantic comeback.

Asked later if he had any second-guessing about the decision as the 49ers drove 95 yards from their own 2 to the Seattle 3 in an attempt to tie the game, Carroll joked “never thought twice about it.”

But he did acknowledge that the decision was in part to send a message to his team.


“Because we’re gonna make a first down there,” Carroll said of the decision to go for it, which momentarily paid off when Travis Homer gained 3 yards to the 1. “And we made a first down. It’s a really good idea. I didn’t foresee the next thing happening (Everett’s fumble). I like to have the football and I knew we could make that one, and I want my guys to know that we’re going for it. Really. You know, we’re going for it. And we should have gotten a touchdown there.”

That Seattle didn’t was in keeping with maybe the nuttiest game of Seattle’s season, which featured the Seahawks taking a 7-0 lead, the 49ers then going on a 23-7 run to grab leads of 10 and 9 points and Seattle then ending the game on a 16-0 run that included shutting out the 49ers in the final 31:48.

It also included Seattle committing a season-high three turnovers — two inside the 5-yard-line — and forcing a season-high three turnovers, not to mention a safety.

“Crazy game,” Carroll said. “There is a lot of stuff that happened, and marvelous job of just hanging and staying together and keeping it going when we had a chance to win.”

But if some of what happened might have seemed a little fluky, what Seattle hopes has staying power is the way that Russell Wilson bounced back from three uncharacteristically shaky outings in his first three games since returning from finger surgery to finally look like himself.

Wilson was 30-for-37 for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Most important, he was at his best on third down, going 8-for-10 for 79 yards with four conversions for first downs, as well as a touchdown, and another resulting in a first down via penalty. One of the conversions was a third-and-14 pass for 33 yards to DK Metcalf that set up a second-quarter touchdown.


And he expertly led a two-minute drive before halftime that cut San Francisco’s lead to 23-21, a second straight time Seattle answered a 49ers score with one of its own. Wilson threw a third-down pass to Dee Eskridge to keep the drive alive, then hit Eskridge from seven yards out with 18 seconds left for the score.

His other touchdown came on a 12-yard pass to Lockett on third-and-6 with 2:28 to play in the third quarter when Wilson moon-balled it to the back of the end zone.

“Russ was strong,” Carroll said. “Good, solid football game. Made some great throws in the game.”

The defense, meanwhile, weathered both a shaky start and the loss of Jamal Adams to a shoulder injury in the second quarter to come up with one big stop after another, be it interceptions by Bobby Wagner and Quandre Diggs, or a third-and-1 stuff for no gain to stop a drive late in the third quarter.

But none was bigger than the end, and fittingly in the same end zone where so much craziness has erupted before (and where the 49ers stopped the Seahawks on a final play two years ago to win the NFC West).

Garoppolo completed seven straight passes for 105 yards (the 49ers were penalized twice for 20 yards) to move San Francisco from its own 2 to the Seattle 7 with 38 seconds left. Two runs gained 4 yards setting up third-and-goal at the 3.


On third down, Sidney Jones’ tight defense forced an incompletion to Trent Sherfield. On fourth down, Garoppolo tried to hit Sherfield in the right flat, only for Dunlap to bat the pass before it could get there.

Seattle remains 4-8 and far outside the playoff picture — and was officially eliminated from the NFC West divisional race due to Arizona’s win — and Sunday’s victory might just prove to be a happy blip in a disappointing season.

But to Carroll, the Saturday night meeting followed by Sunday’s win showed that there’s still some fight in the Seahawks, even if the battle might already be lost.

Carroll said despite whatever might be said on the outside: “These guys are bought in. They have to be at this point to be hanging like this throughout.”

The proof, he said, was in the party being held in the locker room as he spoke.

“Really happy that our guys got a chance to get in the locker room and have fun and get a great win,” he said. “No matter when you get one it’s great, and this one was much needed.”