SEATTLE (AP) — Thomas Rawls chose to run defenders over rather than stepping out of bounds.
Tyler Lockett bulled his tiny frame into the end zone carrying a San Francisco defender on his back.
The Seattle Seahawks rediscovered part of their identity thanks to a pair of rookies in a 29-13 win over the 49ers on Sunday.
Rawls rushed for 209 yards — the second-best rushing day in Seahawks history — and had two total touchdowns starting in place of Marshawn Lynch. Lockett caught two touchdown passes from Russell Wilson and Seattle got back to .500.
Rawls ran for a 2-yard TD on Seattle’s second drive, then gave the Seahawks a 29-13 lead with 12:32 remaining on a 31-yard catch-and-run pass out of the backfield. Rawls caught the rollout throw from Wilson, stiff-armed Michael Wilhoite and raced for the first receiving touchdown of his career.
Rawls became just the third running back in Seahawks history to top 200 yards in a game and trailed only Shaun Alexander’s 266-yard game in 2001 in franchise history. He’s the third running back in the NFL this season to go over 200 yards, joining Doug Martin (235) and Adrian Peterson (203).
Lockett caught touchdowns of 24 and 11 yards in the first half as Seattle built a 20-0 lead and stymied San Francisco for the first 28 minutes before the 49ers started to challenge.
For at least one week, there should be a little less analysis of what’s gone wrong with the Seahawks.
Blaine Gabbert made his second straight start for the 49ers and led San Francisco within 10 points twice in the third quarter. The 49ers had just 38 total yards on their first four possessions before Gabbert got going late in the first half. He completed 6 of 7 passes for 78 yards and a 19-yard touchdown to Vance McDonald with 9 seconds left in the half to get within 20-7.
Gabbert continued to move the 49ers effectively in the third quarter, but had to twice settle for short field goals from Phil Dawson after getting inside the Seattle 10. Gabbert was 22 of 34 for 264 yards.
Wilson had one of his best days as a pro, completing 24 of 29 passes for 260 yards and a 138.5 rating following a week where he received a bit of criticism from his coaches. Seattle was vastly improved on third downs, a problem in last week’s loss to Arizona, converting 8 of 14 attempts and scoring touchdowns on its first three drives.
And Seattle got help in the playoff chase, leaving it a game behind Atlanta for the final wild-card spot in the NFC with six weeks to go.
Lynch was an unexpected inactive with an abdominal injury that kept him out of practice all week, but with the belief he’d be able to play against the 49ers. Clearly his protégé was watching as Rawls turned in his third 100-yard rushing game of the season. He came off the bench to run for 104 yards against Chicago in Week 3 after Lynch injured his hamstring, and rumbled for 169 yards and a touchdown two weeks later against Cincinnati.
Rawls finished with 255 all-purpose yards, including three catches for 46 yards. Rawls now has two games of more than 160 yards rushing in his rookie season; Lynch has never run for more than 153 yards in any game in his career.