Seahawks plan for playoffs, 49ers for offseason change
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) While the Seattle Seahawks started pulling starters late in the game to prepare for the playoffs next week, the focus for the San Francisco 49ers is already onto next season.
The Seahawks wrapped up a fifth-straight 10-win season by beating the 49ers 25-23 but missed a chance at a first-round bye when Atlanta won its game on Sunday.
With the Falcons leading big late, Seattle coach Pete Carroll pulled quarterback Russell Wilson and other key starters to make sure they are healthy and rested for the playoff opener next weekend against Detroit.
''I didn't know the situation with the Atlanta thing,'' Wilson said. ''I guess he took us all out once we figured out they won or were winning by a lot. I don't think it's a bad decision.
NFC West champion Seattle (10-5-1) will be the third seed and open the playoffs at home.
The 49ers (2-14) announced after the game that coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke had both been fired after the team matched the franchise record for losses in a season previously reached in 1978, `79 and 2004.
''When we lose like we did and have a season like we had, changes are made or can be made,'' receiver Torrey Smith said. ''That's from coaches to players. It's all of us. We were all a part of the problem. That's why our record is what it was.''
Here are some other takeaways from the game:
BOYKIN STEPS UP: With Wilson out, the Seahawks turned the game over to Trevone Boykin. The backup responded by converting a pair of third downs with Seattle protecting a two-point lead to help run out the clock.
''Trevone was able to get in there and do so well,'' Wilson said. ''That's an exciting thing for our football team. That was great.''
KAP'S FUTURE: Colin Kaepernick went 17 for 22 for 215 yards and a TD in a solid performance that could be his last with San Francisco. Kaepernick can opt out of his contract this offseason and become a free agent .
''There will be a lot of things that play into that and I'll have to really think about those things as this offseason approaches,'' he said.
JUMP BALL: The Seahawks offense was struggling a bit before turning it around with two deep passes late in the second quarter. Doug Baldwin made a leaping grab of the first for a 41-yard gain that got the drive started. Jimmy Graham then boxed out safety Antoine Bethea at the goal line for a 42-yard grab that set up Thomas Rawls' 1-yard run that gave Seattle the lead for good at 19-14.
''We have a 7-foot-2 tight end that can jump out the roof so you want to give him a chance,'' Wilson said. ''Obviously it was a scramble. He went deep and made a great, great catch and boxed out the guy.''
QUICK CHANGE: The 49ers became the first team in nearly four decades to fire coaches in successive years after just one-year tenures. The only other time that happened since the 1970 merger came when San Francisco fired Monte Clark after the 1976 season and Ken Meyer the following year. The Niners then fired Pete McCulley midway through the following season and interim coach Fred O'Connor after the year before hiring Bill Walsh to start a dynasty that featured five Super Bowl titles.
''You want to build that camaraderie, know who you're going to work with every single day,'' linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. ''To be going with so many in such a short time is tough. You have to be a professional and understand that's part of this lifestyle.''
ROOKIE RUNNER: With starter Thomas Rawls trying to play through injuries, the Seahawks need some more help at running back. Rookie Alex Collins, who ran for just 70 yards the first 15 weeks, made a case for that role with seven carries for 55 yards.
''I come into the game with the mindset of whatever they want me to do, I'll do it,'' he said. ''Whether it be one, 10, 15 or 20 (carries), I'm just going to do it to the best of my ability.''
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