SEATTLE -- It very well might have been the most meaningful regular-season game in 49ers history.
It very well might have been the 49ers’ best regular-season victory in franchise history.
How else is there to look at the team’s 26-21 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night? The 49ers clinched the NFC West title and secured homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
“It’s a great feeling,” 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said. “It’s a great feeling just to get the one seed. To be NFC West champions, that’s your goal coming into the year. That’s the first goal you have to accomplish so that you get a home game in the playoffs.
“I believed in our team. Our team believes in each other. And that’s what makes it special.”
Here are the 49ers’ grades from their Week 17 victory over the Seahawks:
Once again, Raheem Mostert proved to be the hot back for the 49ers. He carried the ball just 10 times, but he accounted for 57 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Mostert kept alive his streak with at least one touchdown run in 10 consecutive games.
Mostert’s two touchdowns came in the second half to cap 75-yard drives that immediately followed Seahawks scoring drives and provided the 49ers with a little cushion.
Tevin Coleman started, but he appeared to have trouble with his footing and did not make much of an impact. Coleman gained just 11 yards on five rushing attempts.
Matt Breida, who did not play any offense in the 49ers’ Week 16 win over the L.A. Rams, had four carries for 16 yards. Rookie receiver Deebo Samuel had a 30-yard touchdown run with a tight-wire act along the left sideline to remain inbounds.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo did not throw a touchdown pass or an interception, but there were virtually no flaws in his performance. Garoppolo completed 18 of 22 pass attempts for 285 yards. His passer rating was 118.8.
Samuel and tight end George Kittle were outstanding. Samuel caught all five passes thrown his way for 102 yards. Kittle was targeted seven times, and he came through with seven receptions for 86 yards.
Garoppolo was sacked two times, but for the most part the 49ers’ passing game made the plays they had to make.
The return of Marshawn Lynch provided one highlight for the home fans, as he scored on a 1-yard leap over the pile in the fourth quarter. But that was about it for Beast Mode. He managed just 34 yards rushing on 12 attempts.
Defensive end Nick Bosa provided a big play late in the first half when he blew past tight end Tyrone Swoopes to stop Lynch for no gain on a fourth-and-1 play when the Seahawks had gotten into 49ers territory.
Rookie Travis Homer gained 62 yards on 10 carries to lead the Seahawks ground game.
The 49ers’ pass defense was outstanding in the first half, limiting Russell Wilson to just 55 yards passing. The 49ers applied constant pressure to Wilson and did not allow the Seahawks to get on the scoreboard through 30 minutes.
But it seemed as if the defense wore down. Seattle scored touchdowns on its first three drives of the second half. Along the way, right cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon struggled and was benched in favor of Emmanuel Moseley.
The 49ers came within inches of losing this game, but rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw stopped Jacob Hollister just shy of the goal line after he caught a Wilson pass.
The 49ers came within a whisker of losing. But Greenlaw made the fourth-down play that enabled the 49ers to pull off a huge victory in a place where the franchise had lost eight consecutive games.
In the first half, the 49ers had to settle for two Robbie Gould field-goal attempts, and he came through from distances of 47 and 30 yards. Mitch Wishnowsky was called on to punt just twice in the game. He averaged 47.0 yards on his two punts, one of which was returned for 16 yards.
Wishnowsky made a critical blunder in the fourth quarter when he hooked his kickoff out of bounds, giving Seattle the ball on the 40-yard line. Seven plays later, Seattle got right back in the game with a touchdown.
The 49ers’ defense carried the load in the first half.
The 49ers’ offense came up big with back-to-back 75-yard touchdown drives in the second half, each one in direct response to Seattle scoring drives that pulled the Seahawks to within a touchdown of taking the lead.
As has been the case all season, the 49ers got their money’s worth from their proven stars and featured key contributions from the ensemble cast. This time, it was Greenlaw who made the game-saving play.
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“The game is never going to be perfect,” Sherman said. “It’s never going to be exactly how you drew it up, but if guys keep battling for one another, keep trying, keep fighting, keep straining, you give yourself a chance to be special.
“That’s what our guys did. It wasn’t perfect. It came down to the last play. A few inches, a game of inches.”