SAN FRANCISCO — Frank Gore saw a huge hole with the clock ticking down and his team trailing, and he went for it with everything he had. Maybe not a season-saving 51-yard burst, but darn close to it.
Phil Dawson kicked a 22-yard field goal with 26 seconds left and the Niners held off the Seahawks 19-17 on Sunday, denying Seattle a chance to clinch the NFC West.
"We're playing for our lives," wideout Anquan Boldin said. "We're playing playoff football right now. It's win or go home."
Gore's big gain came with just more than four minutes left, sparking an 11-play, 76-yard drive that led to Dawson's fourth field goal. That gave Dawson 20 in a row, a franchise mark topping Joe Nedney's 18 straight in 2006-07.
Russell Wilson threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Luke Wilson and Marshawn Lynch ran for an 11-yard score for Seattle, denied a franchise-best sixth road victory.
"I don't know if it was their Super Bowl, but they played a great game," Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant said.
The 49ers are unbeaten at home against the West since losing to the Seahawks on Oct. 26, 2008.
"Enjoy it? Not the word I would use. It's like going to the dentist chair for 3½ hours and getting a root canal," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "These games are only for the tough."
Former Buc Eric Wright, who briefly left the game with a head injury, intercepted a last-ditch deep pass by Wilson with nine seconds left to seal it.
Now, the Niners realize they probably will have to get by the Seahawks again to return to the Super Bowl. And the Seahawks aren't just unbeaten at home. They look unbeatable at home, including a 29-3 win over the 49ers in September where Kaepernick was so bewildered by the noise and Seattle's defense that he threw three interceptions and lost a fumble.
"If we keep doing our thing and they keep doing their thing, no question," Gore said of a 49ers-Seahawks playoff meeting.
Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman: "We'll see them again and it will be a different result."