SEATTLE — It was pointed out this week by San Francisco’s Richard Sherman that he was witness to watching Seattle’s Russell Wilson throw five interceptions in one game.
He didn’t see Wilson throw any interceptions on Sunday. Instead, he watched Wilson throw four touchdowns and the Seahawks stay in the middle of the NFC playoff race with a 43-16 blowout win over the 49ers.
Wilson tossed three first-half touchdowns on just four completions as the Seahawks (7-5) won their third straight game, jumping to a 20-0 lead and beating the 49ers for the ninth straight time.
“We didn’t throw it that much but we were able to make some huge plays when we did,” Wilson said.
Seattle won’t be NFC West champs after the Los Angeles Rams clinched the division on Sunday. But the Seahawks continue to make a case they will be part of the NFC playoff field. And Wilson continues to play with an efficiency that may be the best of his career.
Wilson wasn’t asked to do much in the first half, but the little he did found the end zone. He hit Jaron Brown on a 4-yard TD pass in the first quarter, found Tyler Lockett for a 52-yard score and connected with Doug Baldwin on a 1-yarder.
Wilson finished 11 of 17 for 185 yards and has thrown at least two touchdowns in eight straight games. It was the eighth time in the regular season Wilson has thrown four or more TD passes. His last came on an 18-yard strike to Brown early in the fourth quarter after he broke free from Sherman’s coverage.
Wilson has 29 touchdown passes and five interceptions on the season. Rashaad Penny added a 20-yard run on the first offensive play of the second half following an 84-yard kickoff return by Lockett for a 27-3 lead.
“It’s phenomenal that he’s able to continue to execute those plays and the receivers are doing a fantastic job,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Bobby Wagner capped a blowout with a 98-yard interception return touchdown, the first of his career and the longest in franchise history. It was a big day for Seattle’s defensive leader, including a forced fumble and recovery in the first half ripping the ball away from San Francisco running back Jeff Wilson Jr. at the Seattle 5. He then stepped in front of Nick Mullens’ pass near the goal line and outran the rest of the 49ers for the longest interception return in team history.
Most of the attention centered on Sherman’s first game back in Seattle after spending seven seasons with the Seahawks before being released and signing with the 49ers (2-10) last March. He greeted former teammates during pregame warmups — even giving a brief handshake and hug to Wilson — and then had a mostly uneventful return. Early in the third quarter Wilson hit Baldwin on a short route and Sherman’s close friend shook off the tackle attempt and raced 21 yards for a first down.
Sherman downplayed his return.
“I’m a ballplayer and at the end of the day the field is the same length and everything else is the same,” Sherman said. “You just go out there and play your game and try to give your team the best chance to win, and unfortunately we didn’t get the win today.”