SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Garrison Hearst scored three touchdowns Sunday to lead San Francisco to a 31-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks and boost the 49ers three games in front of the NFC West with four to play.
Hearst scored on a five-yard run and a pair of one-yarders. He rushed for a career-high 124 yards on 31 carries and caught two passes for 28 yards. He became the first 49er to rush for three touchdowns in a game since Ricky Watters in 1992.
"The big guys took over and I just got in a zone running the ball," Hearst said.
"Hearst was looking forward to carrying the load and he took advantage of it," said 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia, who completed 16 of 29 passes for 164 yards with two interceptions.
"All he needs is a little bit of space and he's going to do something with it."
The Seahawks (4-8) rallied from a 31-10 defecit in the fourth quarter, but Matt Hasselbeck was intercepted by San Francisco defensive back Rashad Holman with 1:23 left as Seattle attempted to drive for a tying score.
"I think the game was real indicative of our season," Seattle Coach Mike Holmgren said. "But it's also indicative of our team. We have some kids that never say die and battle back. We had a chance at the end but we made too many mistakes agaisnt a team like the 49ers.
"But I like the fact that they battle."
Rookie kick returner Jimmy Williams scored the other touchdown for San Francisco (8-4) on an 89-yard punt return in the second quarter.
Hasselbeck, who passed for a career-high 362 yards and three touchdowns last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, eclipsed that with 427 yards and three scores as Seattle outgained San Francisco 508 yards to 298.
The 49ers can clinch their first division title in five years next week if they beat Dallas and St. Louis falls to Kansas City.
"The Seahawks are a good offense," 49ers Coach Steve Mariucci said. "They had over 500 yards last week and again today. It wasn't easy but we rose to the occasion and got it done. It got close and sometimes it gets close."
Flamboyant San Francisco receiver Terrell Owens caught five passes for 45 yards, trailing Tai Streets, who had six receptions for 66 yards.
Seattle's Darrell Jackson was the game's leading receiver with seven catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Koren Robinson, who had four catches for 95 yards, caught Hasselbeck's other touchdown pass.
The Seahawks, who have allowed an NFL-worst 174.4 rushing yards per game, held the 49ers to 142 yards on the ground, still a below-average performance. The average NFL defense allows 115 rushing yards per game.
"We were too sloppy," Holmgren said. "That's the bottom line."