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Originally published Monday, September 15, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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49ers deliver knockout punch to Seahawks

Seattle's injury troubles were compounded by adventurous punting and pass coverage, plus two momentum-swinging interceptions that resulted in San Francisco touchdowns.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Seahawks' 2008 schedule

Sept. 7

Buffalo 34, Seattle 10

Sunday

San Francisco 33, Seattle 30

Sept. 21

vs. St. Louis 1:05 p.m., Ch. 13

Oct. 5

at N.Y. Giants 10:05 a.m., Ch. 13

Oct. 12

vs. Green Bay 1:15 a.m., Ch. 13

Oct. 19

at Tampa Bay 5:15 p.m., Ch. 5

Oct. 26

at San Francisco 1:15 p.m., Ch. 13

Nov. 2

vs. Philadelphia 1:05 p.m., Ch. 13

If ever there was day for the San Francisco 49ers to steal a win at Qwest Field and deliver a roundhouse right to the Seahawks' season, Sunday was that day.

Seahawks backup quarterback Seneca Wallace, who had practiced at receiver, pulled a calf muscle in pregame warmups, denying an option to a team already shorthanded at receiver.

Then, just over three minutes into the game, wide receiver Logan Payne took a shot to his knees from 49ers safety Dashon Goldson and had to leave the game. That left the Seahawks with three healthy receivers.

Injury troubles were compounded by shoddy punting and pass coverage, plus two momentum-swinging interceptions that resulted in San Francisco touchdowns.

Kicker Joe Nedney provided the final punch, atoning for his 41-yard miss as regulation time expired by booting the life out of the Seahawks with a 40-yard field goal, vaulting the 49ers to a 33-30 overtime win.

The Seahawks find themselves 0-2 for the first time since the start of the 2002 season and face more roster moves this week. Payne has a torn ligament in his knee, an injury that coach Mike Holmgren deemed "significant," and Wallace will miss time.

"We just have to regroup," Holmgren said. "Can't feel sorry for ourselves. Fix the things we can fix, hopefully, and then get ready for the Rams coming in here next week."

That was one piece of positive news. St. Louis shares last place with the Seahawks in the NFC West and got trounced 41-13 by the New York Giants on Sunday. The Rams have been outscored 79-16 in their first two games.

Beyond that, little else positive. The Seahawks were already beset by injuries: starting linebacker Lofa Tatupu and cornerback Marcus Trufant played hurt, running back Maurice Morris and right tackle Sean Locklear were out and cornerback Kelly Jennings injured his ribs in the first quarter but returned.

Jennings said he caught a knee to his rib cage on a pass play and that he needed X-rays.

Despite such misfortune, the Seahawks led 14-0 halfway through the opening quarter. Julius Jones, who got the start at running back, ran 27 yards for a touchdown, and defensive tackle Craig Terrill scooped up a loose ball, emerged from a pile of Seahawks trying to collect it and scored.

Jones' touchdown came after Jordan Babineaux picked up a blocked punt and ran 24 yards for a first down to keep the ball in the Seahawks' hands. Seattle punter Jon Ryan had been signed last week.

Unfamiliar faces pressed into action made mistakes, but also made key plays at critical times. Rookie Michael Bumpus, an undrafted free agent who was running routes for Washington State at this time last year, didn't catch a punt that should have been downed near the Seahawks goal line by the 49ers. But Bumpus came back with a 30-yard return in the fourth quarter that led to an Olindo Mare field goal that gave the Seahawks a 30-27 lead with 7:41 to play.

Another receiver new to the Hawks, Billy McMullen, fumbled away a 31-yard catch in the second quarter, but he caught a 14-yard pass in the fourth. McMullen, who was signed Tuesday, hadn't been expected to play, with Wallace, Payne, Bumpus and Courtney Taylor in line in front of him.

There was more from the new-look Seahawks. Jones rushed for 127 yards, his most since 2005. Rookie tight end John Carlson caught six passes for 78 yards. Running back T.J. Duckett ran for his first touchdown as a Seahawk, a game-tying 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Mare made three field goals, one from 51 yards. And rookie Lawrence Jackson had two of the Seahawks' eight sacks on the day.

None of it added up to a victory, as the 49ers' offense woke up after a miserable first quarter. San Francisco (1-1) made too many big plays — two tipped balls for interceptions and five completions of 25 yards or more — and was the beneficiary of five penalties for interference, illegal contact or defensive holding that extended drives.

"You're just wondering to yourself, 'What is going on?' " Taylor said when asked about all the injuries. "It's a tough situation. I've never been a part of anything like it."

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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