PLAYER OF THE GAME
Ted Ginn Jr. How is it that a team can go from clinging to a 19-17 lead to holding a commanding 33-17 lead in 59 seconds? Ginn knows, because he returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown and then added a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown in the final four minutes to turn what had become a bout into something that looked more like a rout – at least by final-score standards.
But wait, there’s more. The Seahawks compiled 219 yards in the game, and the 49ers 209. Ginn? He had 268 on nine touches – four kickoff returns for 176 yards and five punt returns for 92.
Last season, Ginn averaged 13.4 yards returning punts to rank second in the NFC and third in the league.
Sunday, with the game on the line, he proved to be extra-special. In fact, Ginn is the first player in NFL history to have a kickoff and a punt return TDs on the opening week of the season – and the 12th player in league history to do it in the same game.
“I didn’t really amaze myself but I didn’t think that they were going to come right back and punt it to me and I just tried to make them pay for it and I did,” Ginn said of following one with the other. “I enjoyed the win and I know my team enjoyed the win and that’s what it’s all about. It’s a collective effort. We’re just going to try to come back next week and do it again.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Doug Baldwin scored his first NFL touchdown in his first NFL game. The Seahawks’ rookie free agent from Stanford did it just up the road from where he went to college, and with his college coach – the 49ers’ Jim Harbaugh – standing on the opposite sideline. The 55-yard scoring play – which was 7 yards of pass and 48 yards of run after the catch – cut the 49ers lead to 19-17 with slightly less than four minutes to play before, well, you-know-what happened.
Defensive: Let’s make it plural, because Seahawks’ linebacker Matt McCoy stopped Frank Gore for a 2-yard loss on a first-and-goal run from the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter and then dropped Gore for a 1-yard loss on the next play. The double-whammy effort forced the 49ers to settle for a field goal, and a 19-10 lead with 5:54 left in the game. This from a guy who did not play one snap at linebacker for the Seahawks last season.
Special teams: Ginn’s 102-yard kickoff return. Not only because it was the longest scoring play of the day. Not just because it followed Baldwin’s TD that allowed the Seahawks to cut the 49ers’ lead to 19-17. Ginn also outran free safety Earl Thomas to the goal line, something that simply doesn’t happen.
Veteran fullback Michael Robinson left the game in the first quarter with a sprained ankle and rookie cornerback Byron Maxwell followed with the same injury on the opening kickoff of the second half.
Wide receiver Ben Obomanu went down with what appeared to be a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter, but he returned.
The Seahawks played without three injured starters: left guard Robert Gallery (knee), wide receiver Sidney Rice (shoulder) and middle linebacker David Hawthorne (knee).
THIS ’N THAT
In his first NFL start, second-year strong safety Kam Chancellor had a game-high nine tackles for the Seahawks – all solo stops.
The Seahawks had eight tackles for losses, including two each by Chancellor and Thomas.
Jon Ryan got off a club-record 77-yard punt and averaged 48.9 yards on seven punts.
The Seahawks averaged only 2.9 yards on 22 rushing attempts, but they also held the 49ers to a 2.7-yard average on 32 attempts.
In his first start for the Seahawks, Tarvaris Jackson was sacked five times, lost two fumbles and was intercepted once. But he also threw two TD passes – the long one to Baldwin and an 8-yarder to Golden Tate.
The Seahawks held the 49ers to a 1-of-12 showing on third downs, after holding them to a 1-of-15 effort in last year’s season opener.
There were 20 penalties for 174 yards in the game – 11 for 72 by the Seahawks, nine for 102 by the 49ers.