The San Francisco 49ers avoided falling behind by a huge first-half margin to their division rival Seattle Seahawks, who dominated the Niners 43-16 when these two teams met two weeks ago at CenturyLink Field.

Despite giving up a touchdown to Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin on Seattle's opening possession, the Niners defense managed to hold quarterback Russell Wilson and Co. to 216 all-purpose yards in the first half en route to a 17-13 lead for San Francisco. Seven of those points came off an impressive 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Richie James following the Seattle score:


That gave the 49ers a 7-6 lead in the first quarter, and the Niners added to it with a 41-yard touchdown grab by tight end Garrett Celek. It could have belonged to fellow tight end George Kittle, whom quarterback Nick Mullens overthrew a few plays earlier.

At least Kittle expressed some enthusiasm for his teammate, motioning to the crowd last year's familiar "Celek Time" celebration after the touchdown.

The Seahawks responded, however, driving for eight plays and 79 yards, ending with a 35-yard touchdown to Baldwin to make it 14-13 in favor of San Francisco. Subsequently, the 49ers responded with a nine-play, 66-yard drive culminating in a 28-yard field goal by kicker Robbie Gould.

Additional Notes


Just before Baldwin's first touchdown, the 49ers lost cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon to a knee injury. He went down trying to tackle running back Chris Carson at the Niners' 5-yard line, landing awkwardly near the goal line and out of bounds. Witherspoon was assisted off the field and is questionable to return, although a doubtful designation seems more likely.

Running back Jeff Wilson fumbled again, losing the ball after an impressive 14-yard gain in the second quarter. That marks his third fumble in as many weeks, although Seattle was unable to capitalize with points off the turnover.

Mullens was 11-of-14 for 176 yards and a touchdown, posting a passer rating of 142.6 in the first half.

The Seahawks will start the third quarter on offense.