The San Francisco 49ers beat the Seattle Seahawks 26-21 on Sunday Night Football to win the NFC West and secure the NFC’s No. 1 seed, and they did so by literally inches.

On 4th-and-goal from the 5, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson completed a pass to Jacob Hollister. The tight end was tackled just short of the goal line, and by “just short,” we mean inches (or maybe even an inch). The Seahawks celebrated as though they got a game-winning touchdown to win the division, and the 49ers celebrated as though they got a game-winning stop to win the division (and get the No. 1 seed). After review, it was determined that the 49ers were correct.

That was a fittingly chaotic finish to a very eventful final series for the Seahawks. Seattle actually had 1st-and-goal from the 1 after Wilson connected with rookie wide receiver John Ursua on 4th-and-10. Valuing the clock over the down with no timeouts remaining, Wilson spiked the ball to set up a 2nd-and-goal with 22 seconds remaining.

But then Wilson and the Seahawks had a completely inexcusable brain fart, allowing the play clock to run down to zero for a Delay of Game penalty. The Seahawks hadn’t even broken huddle when the play clock ran out.

That turned 2nd-and-Goal from the 1 into 2nd-and-Goal from the 6, with no timeouts remaining. That is a significant difference, and immediately eliminates any chance to call a designed run play, for example. However, the Seahawks probably should’ve gotten the ball back at the 1-yard line after the 3rd-and-goal play, which was a missed defensive pass interference call (and which somehow didn’t draw an automatic booth review):

Still, it’s hard for the Seahawks to blame anyone else too much after the unacceptable Delay of Game call on 2nd-and-goal.

And in the end, the better football team won. San Francisco has been the NFC’s most deserving team of the No. 1 seed this season, and it would’ve felt a bit ridiculous if the Green Bay Packers ended up with the top seed, which is what would’ve happened if Seattle won on Sunday night.

The 49ers pummeled the Packers 37-8 last month, and took down the Saints in a 48-46 classic earlier this month. They finished the season with a point differential 52 points better than any team in the NFC. They deserved the NFC’s top seed, and were rewarded for it on Sunday night. Barely.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at