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Recap: Seahawks , 49ers
Date: September 11, 2011 4:15 PM EDT
  

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Pete Carroll hardly considered Ted Ginn Jr. a threat in the return game since he had barely been back deep during the preseason. Twice total, in fact: one punt, one kickoff.

Seattle saw more than enough of Ginn in less than a minute.

Ginn returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns 59 seconds apart late in the fourth quarter, and the San Francisco 49ers gave new coach Jim Harbaugh a 33-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in his much-hyped debut and renewed coaching rivalry with Carroll.

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``I didn't amaze myself but I didn't think they were going to come right back and kick it to me,' said Ginn, who left Candlestick Park with the game ball and both TD footballs. ``I wanted to make them pay.'

Ginn delivered just when the Seahawks thought the momentum was theirs.

He ran a kickoff back 102 yards moments after the defending NFC West champion Seahawks had closed to 19-17. It was the second-longest kick return at home and fourth-longest in team history. He then scored on a 55-yard punt return.

``Honestly, we didn't think Teddy Ginn was going to play,' Carroll said. ``Teddy's got a real style about him. He didn't play much in the preseason and he got running around us.'

It was the first time in 49ers history they had a kickoff return and a punt return for touchdowns - let alone by the same player. He's the 12th player in NFL history to do it.

Harbaugh hugged Ginn twice, a congratulatory embrace for each score. The coach bearhugged quarterback Alex Smith for several seconds, too.

Smith exhibited the poise and polish Harbaugh believed the 2005 No. 1 overall pick still had in him despite recent history, going 15 for 20 for 124 yards and running for a 1-yard TD. David Akers kicked four field goals in his first game with San Francisco.

New Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, in his Seahawks debut as Matt Hasselbeck's replacement, threw a late 55-yard touchdown pass to Harbaugh's former Stanford star, Doug Baldwin.

Harbaugh was thrilled after Smith hustled to the sideline following his short TD run just before halftime in which he spun into the end zone to put the 49ers up 16-0.

Ginn saved the game with a huge day on special teams. This is the guy who returned kickoffs of 100 and 101 yards for touchdowns in a 30-25 win for Miami over the New York Jets on Nov. 1, 2009.

This time, Ginn's kids - twins Kyrsten and Theodore III - get to help celebrate.

The Harbaugh family, too.

With the coach's parents, Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, in the stands to cheer him in the opener, the former NFL QB was as animated as ever - waving his arms, pacing the sideline and congratulating his players at every chance.

``It feels good. A great thrill of winning,' Harbaugh said. ``I'm very proud of our players.'

Dozens of American flags whipped in the wind off San Francisco Bay in the parking lots of soldout Candlestick Park before the game on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. Flags inside flew at half-staff and many of the 69,732 fans sported red, white and blue.

And San Francisco police considered it a well-behaved crowd at Candlestick, where fan violence and a shooting marred the Raiders-49ers exhibition matchup last month.

Rivals dating to their days in the Pac-10, Carroll couldn't complain about Harbaugh running up the score in this one. Seattle's offense had enough problems to keep him from worrying about what was happening on the other sideline. The two coaches quickly shook hands afterward and called it good.

Harbaugh was hired from Stanford on a $25 million, five-year deal to turn around a franchise that since 2002 has gone without a playoff berth or winning record.

Akers kicked field goals of 27, 24, 31 and 18 yards in an impressive first game with the 49ers in place of the retired Joe Nedney.

Jackson, Brett Favre's backup in Minnesota the past two seasons, completed his first six passes but was sacked twice in as many drives to start the game - by Ray McDonald and Justin Smith - and five times total. He was 21 of 37 for 197 yards and two TDs with one interception.

The 49ers were 0 for 9 on third-down conversions before Smith's 12-yard completion to Braylon Edwards early in the fourth. Edwards wound up with three catches for 27 yards in his 49ers debut. He was given a fresh start by another Michigan man, Harbaugh.

Same for Smith.

Back on a one-year free agent deal when most everybody figured he'd turn up elsewhere, Smith generated cheers instead of boos from the home crowd. He made quick decisions and scurried out of trouble several times with defenders coming right at him.

He appreciated Harbaugh's enthusiasm.

``It's fun to come over and see your coach just as jacked as you,' Smith said. ``We were all pumped up.'

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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