SEATTLE — The coaches met briefly at midfield, Seattle’s Pete Carroll and San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh touching hands more than shaking them.
There wasn’t much to say after this one. Not after the way Seattle defeated the reigning division champions 42-13 with 68,161 watching at CenturyLink Field and the rest of the country tuned in on NBC to see Seattle clinch a playoff berth with a fourth straight win.
The Seahawks made the 49ers look like the Buffalo Bills last week or the Arizona Cardinals the week before.
“We didn’t play any different than we’ve been playing,” coach Pete Carroll said. “That’s absolutely what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to play the same week after week after week.”
Seattle scored on its second play of the game, didn’t punt until the third quarter and held the 49ers out of the end zone until the final two minutes.
Quarterback Russell Wilson passed for four touchdowns, Marshawn Lynch and Doug Baldwin each scored two and cornerback Richard Sherman’s 90-yard return of a blocked field goal gave him as many touchdowns as San Francisco’s team.
The 49ers had won 23 of their 30 regular-season games under Harbaugh, giving up more than 27 points once since he became head coach.
Seattle had 28 points at halftime.
“It shows how talented we are,” Wilson said afterward. “How we’re prepared for the rest of the season. There’s nothing I can say about where we’re going. All I know is what we have next.”
That would be a regular-season finale against St. Louis, and then the playoffs, where the Seahawks will be no worse than the NFC’s No. 5 seed.
The Seahawks can clinch the division by beating the Rams if San Francisco loses to Arizona next week.
Should the rest of the league be worried about the Seahawks in the playoffs?
“Nope,” Sherman joked. “They should ignore us like everybody else does.”
Nobody will be sleeping on Seattle after this game.
The Seahawks scored the first time they had the ball, Lynch running it in from 24 yards. They scored the second time they had the ball, too, this time Lynch with a 9-yard reception.
And when the 49ers were finally in position to score, it was the Seahawks who wound up putting up points.
Seattle’s Red Bryant blocked San Francisco’s 21-yard field-goal attempt in the first minute of the second quarter and Sherman returned it for a touchdown.
When Steven Hauschka kicked the extra point to put Seattle up 21-0, it was the 100th consecutive point Seattle had scored at home in a remarkable run that went back to the first quarter of its Nov. 11 game against the Jets.
The Seahawks scored the final 21 points of that game, registered a 58-0 shutout of Arizona and then scored the first three touchdowns Sunday against the 49ers.
When the 49ers David Akers’ kicked a 33-yard field goal with 10:19 left in the first half, it was the first time in eight quarters that an opponent scored at CenturyLink Field.
San Francisco added another field goal in the final minute of the second quarter and then didn’t score in the second half until the final two minutes.
Colin Kaepernick’s 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Delanie Walker with 1:40 left preventing the Seahawks from holding an opponent without an offensive touchdown for the fifth time this season.
By that time, the Seahawks had already sent a message that is sure to echo around the NFL, even if Seattle’s players don’t care who’s listening.
“We don’t really care what it says outside of our locker room,” Baldwin said. “This is just the first step toward our ultimate goal, which is holding up the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season. And that’s the way we’re going to look at it.”