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Field Goal Puts Seahawks Over 49ers 20-19

October 13, 2003

SEATTLE (AP) _ The Seattle Seahawks are off to their best start in 17 years, thanks to a rookie kicker who ignored the pressure and an opportunistic defense that created some pressure of its own.

Josh Brown kicked a 37-yard field goal with 3:03 to play, lifting the Seahawks to a 20-19 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night.

The 49ers were driving on the ensuing possession when Seattle’s opportunistic defense, held in check much of the night, finally struck.

On the first play after the 2-minute warning, San Francisco’s Garrison Hearst had the ball stripped out of his hands by linebacker Chad Brown on a 1-yard run at midfield and safety Ken Hamlin pounced on it.

The Seahawks (4-1) ran out the clock to win _ their second straight homefield victory where they won by one point. They’re off to their best start since opening 4-1 in 1986.

Seattle beat St. Louis 24-23 three weeks ago by erasing a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter. This time, the Seahawks breezed to a 17-0 lead in the first half and held off the 49ers (2-4) down the stretch.

Owen Pochman put San Francisco ahead 19-17 on a 33-yard field goal with 8:09 remaining.

The 49ers pulled to 17-16 late in the third when quarterback Jeff Garcia bootlegged right and bowled into linebacker Randall Godfrey to score.

But the PAT kick was botched, and it turned out to be the difference. Holder Bill LaFleur bobbled the snap, and Pochman had to pause before he punched the ball wide right.

This one was seen by 66,437, a record for an NFL game in the 2-year-old stadium. They came out to cheer the surging Seahawks and welcome home 49ers coach Dennis Erickson, who was born and raised in Everett, Wash.

Terrell Owens, the brash San Francisco receiver who created a stir in Seattle last season, wasn’t a factor.

He was held to four receptions for 36 yards, including only a 12-yard in the second half. In last season’s game at Seahawks Stadium, he autographed a football after catching the winning touchdown.

Matt Hasselbeck completed 17 of 27 passes for 207 yards. Shaun Alexander carried 22 times for 77 yards as the Seahawks posted their third victory against their three NFC West opponents.

It wasn’t easy, though.

Hasselbeck threw an interception to San Francisco’s Tony Parrish at Seattle’s 34, and the 49ers needed only five plays before Garcia’s TD.

Late in the third quarter and early in the fourth, the Seahawks absorbed a series of personal penalties. Hamlin was flagged once for a hard shot on Garcia, fullback Heath Evans got another for unnecessary roughness.

Even Hasselbeck was called once, after he was sacked by Julian Peterson and an official was close enough to hear what the frustrated quarterback said. After a Seattle punt, the 49ers drove 45 yards for Pochman’s 33-yarder.

Brown delivered for the Seahawks on the ensuing possession, but there were some nervous moments for Seattle getting there. Hasselbeck made a big run, scrambling 17 yards on third-and-6 to reach 49ers territory and keep the drive going.

The Seahawks looked great in the first half.

Hasselbeck threw a 15-yard TD pass to Itula Mili, Brown kicked a 27-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter and fullback Mack Strong had a career-long 21-yard TD run.

Seattle’s defense, meanwhile, opened with the ferocity and aggression that defined the team through the first three games but was missing in last weekend’s 35-13 loss at Green Bay.

San Francisco’s offense came to life, though, late in the first half. Garcia directed a 46-yard drive that ended with Pochman’s a 42-yard field goal just before the break.

Hearst ran for a 6-yard touchdown to cap San Francisco’s first drive of the second half and the 49ers pulled to 17-10.

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