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Pulling off this one could give the 49ers some momentum, too. It was the first of two straight prime-time games for San Francisco, which doesn’t play again until Oct. 29 at Arizona.

The defensive fight left the animated coaches shaking their heads and hollering on opposite sidelines all game, offering plenty of entertainment for the sellout crowd of 69,732 at balmy Candlestick Park.

“We found ourselves in a real slugfest here today,” Carroll said. “I’m not surprised it could have gone that way with two good defenses and two teams committed to running the ball.”

These teams met in Weeks 1 and 16 last season, with the 49ers beating Seattle 33-17 at home for Harbaugh’s first victory as an NFL coach.

This one was close until the end.

“We’ve got to figure something out. We’ve got to figure out a way to get it done,” Seahawks receiver Golden Tate said. “The season’s not over. We still have a long way to go, so we can’t let this set us back. I think we still have the chance to be a real special team.”

After Walker’s touchdown, Dashon Goldson intercepted a deep pass by Russell Wilson to thwart Seattle’s next drive after NaVorro Bowman clobbered the rookie quarterback as he was trying to throw.

Smith gave the ball back with an interception of his own early in the fourth quarter. His fifth interception of the season matched his total from all of 2011.

Harbaugh went to backup Colin Kaepernick for one keeper play that lost a yard, then Smith returned for third-and-goal on the 7. He scrambled to his left looking for an open receiver and Brandon Browner jumped in front of a pass intended for Randy Moss.

That gave Seattle the ball back with 11:58 remaining. Yet again, the Seahawks couldn’t capitalize on a night of missed opportunities and dropped balls.

Gore had his third 100-yard game of the season, not to be outdone by Lynch on the other side.

“I just got in that rhythm, and once I get in that rhythm, I feel I can’t be stopped,” Gore said.

Lynch carried 19 times and bounced back from a 41-yard outing in Sunday’s comeback 24-23 home win against the Patriots. The 49ers and their top-ranked defense hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in 22 consecutive home games before New York’s Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 116 yards and a touchdown Sunday — and now the Niners made it twice in five days.

Not that they should have been too surprised. This is Lynch, after all.

The last time they faced off, on Dec. 24, Lynch ran for 107 yards as San Francisco’s defense had its streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher end at 36 games. And his 4-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter also was the first TD rushing allowed by San Francisco all season.

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