SAN FRANCISCO (TICKER) —Garrison Hearst did not need a Sharpie.
Hearst scored three touchdowns to lead the San Francisco 49ers to a 31-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, but did not repeat wide receiver Terrell Owens’ ball-signing end zone celebration from the 49ers’ October 14 victory in Seattle.
“The big guys took over and I just got in a zone running the ball,” Hearst said.
Hearst scored on a five-yard run and a pair of one-yarders. He rushed for a season-high 124 yards on 31 carries and caught two passes for 28 yards. He became the first 49er to rush for three touchdowns in a game since Ricky Watters in 1992.
“Hearst was looking forward to carrying the load and he took advantage of it,” said 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia, who completed 16-of-29 passes for 164 yards with two interceptions. “All he needs is a little bit of space and he’s going to do something with it.”
The Seahawks (4-8) rallied from a 31-10 deficit in the fourth quarter, but Matt Hasselbeck was intercepted by San Francisco defensive back Rashad Holman with 1:23 left as Seattle attempted to drive for a tying score.
“I think the game was real indicative of our season,” Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said. “But it’s also indicative of our team. We have some kids that never say die and battle back. We had a chance at the end but we made too many mistakes agaisnt a team like the 49ers. But I like the fact that they battle.”
Rookie kick returner Jimmy Williams scored the other touchdown for San Francisco (8-4) on an 89-yard punt return in the second quarter.
Hasselbeck, who passed for a career-high 362 yards and three touchdowns last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, eclipsed that with a franchise-record 427 yards and three scores as Seattle outgained San Francisco 508-298.
“The Seahawks are a good offense,” 49ers coach Steve Mariucci said. “They had over 500 yards last week and again today. It wasn’t easy but we rose to the occasion and got it done. It got close and sometimes it gets close.”
San Francisco moved closer to clinching the NFC West for the first time since 1997. The 49ers can seal the title with a win and a St. Louis Rams loss next week.
Owens did not create a stir as he did in Seattle, when he signed a ball for his financial advisor after scoring a touchdown in San Francisco’s 28-21 victory. The flamboyant wide receiver caught five passes for 45 yards, trailing Tai Streets, who had six receptions for 66 yards.
Seattle’s Darrell Jackson was the game’s leading receiver with seven catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Koren Robinson, who had four catches for 95 yards, caught Hasselbeck’s other touchdown pass.
The Seahawks, who have allowed an NFL-worst 174.4 rushing yards per game, held the 49ers to 142 yards on the ground, still a below-average performance. The average NFL defense allows 115 rushing yards per game.
“We were too sloppy,” Holmgren said. “That’s the bottom line.”