SAN FRANCISCO — Alex Smith threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Delanie Walker late in the third quarter and San Francisco held off the Seattle Seahawks, 13-6, on Thursday night as the 49ers won their long-awaited NFC West opener.
Frank Gore ran for 131 yards and the 49ers (5-2) made just enough plays to win this defense-first game, featuring teams allowing fewer than 16 points per game.
‘‘That was the most physical 30 minutes of football in the second half that I have ever seen our football team play,’’ 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. ‘‘It’s a sweet win. It was a real football fight, and our guys won it.’’
Walker’s score was San Francisco’s first touchdown in seven quarters after an embarrassing 26-3 loss to the Giants on Sunday in a lopsided rematch of the NFC Championship game.
Smith went 14 of 23 for 140 yards in another subpar performance. The defense hung tough down the stretch.
NFC rushing leader Marshawn Lynch finished with 103 yards for Seattle (4-3).
It’s now Harbaugh 3, Pete Carroll 0 since these two coaching rivals started facing off in the NFL last year. Harbaugh’s teams sure have shown they are quick to forget their losses. The 49ers improved to 5-0 after regular-season defeats since Harbaugh took over.
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.
Gore had his third 100-yard game of the season, not to be outdone by Lynch on the other side. Lynch carried 19 times and bounced back from a 41-yard outing in Sunday’s comeback 24-23 home win against the Patriots.