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49ers notebook: Cold Candlestick, hot kicker


SAN FRANCISCO — The Seahawks didn't have to ice the kicker as he lined up for do-or-die 22-yarder with 26 seconds on the clock. Polar Candlestick Park did all the icing necessary.

"I don't know if you can ever get used to them," Dawson said of cold-weather games, though his 14 years in Cleveland were the best preparation you could get.

Dawson's kick was true, which came as absolutely no surprise to anyone who is paying attention. It was his 20th consecutive successful field goal, a 49ers record. He's 23 of 26 for the season, harkening back to David Akers' record-setting 2011 campaign.

Dawson said that when his team is driving, he matches his practice kicks with the position of the ball on the field, e.g. left or right hashmark. When the 49ers centered the ball on a final Frank Gore run, the kicker made sure he took one more swing into the net from straight ahead. It's the sort of attention to detail that has defined Dawson's stellar career.

"Phil works on the days he doesn't have to," linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. "That's what makes players great.

Asked whether he pays attention to his streak, Dawson answered: "I try not to think about it. I try to treat every kick the same. You have to have a bad memory. Unfortunately, I have a really good memory so I can remember my last miss."

That's pretty good recall, considering it happened Sept. 26 at St. Louis.

<b>Wright heals quickly</b>

When you hear the words " .<TH>.<TH>. has a head injury; his return is questionable" these days, you can usually expect the afflicted player to chill for the rest of the game, if not longer. But after taking a knee to the back of the helmet late in the third quarter, 49ers nickel back Eric Wright wasn't done. He returned late in the contest and wound up with the game-clinching interception.

"I got shooken up a little bit and just had to get cleared by the doctors," Wright said afterward.

Apparently he was not exhibiting signs of concussion.

"The nature of the injury? He was never ruled out," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "He was talking well right when we first got out there. So I really just step back in those situations and just lend support, pat him on the leg, that's about it. The doctors take care of all that stuff."

The interception was Wright's first with the 49ers, and the 15th of his seven-year career.<NO1> Rookie Darryl Morris briefly replaced him as the Niners' nickel back.

<b>No girls allowed</b>

Not surprisingly, it was a chippy game Sunday, both teams getting hit with penalties for unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct. One of the accused was San Francisco safety Donte Whitner, who was flagged for taunting Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch late in the third quarter.

Asked what he said to incur the penalty, Whitner said: "I don't think it was warranted. We were both talking to each other. I don't know what you have to say to get it. I guess you just have to have refs that don't understand the game and think it's like girls out there playing. But this is the NFL. It's grown men. Sometimes you're gonna say some things<NO1>, somebody's gonna say some things back."

<b>An opposing viewpoint</b>

To the 49ers and their fans, this was a hard-fought, hard-earned win. To pugnacious Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman: "We expected to blow them out, but they got the benefit of a few calls tonight throughout the game and that helps you, especially on third down. We will see them again and it will be a different result."

<b>Extra points</b>

--Joe Staley came back from a knee injury to start at left tackle. But LG Mike Iupati and CB Tarell Brown both missed the game.

--Niners QB Colin Kaepernick and Seattle WR Ricardo Lockette, a former teammate here, exchanged jerseys at midfield after the game.

--The 49ers improved to 14-0-1 against NFC West opponents at Candlestick Park since 2009, second only to New England (14-0) in that span.

--Longtime special-teams standout Kassim Osgood recorded his first career blocked punt. This is the third time the 49ers have blocked two punts in a season (Craig Dahl got one at Seattle on Sept. 15), and the first time since 1975.

--Vernon Davis' second-quarter touchdown reception was the 51st of his career, putting him in eighth place all-time among NFL tight ends.