The Seattle Seahawks have been walking a tightrope for most of the season.
It finally frayed last weekend.
The previously undefeated Seahawks took a 37-34 overtime loss at Arizona, tightening the NFC West race.
The first-place Seahawks (5-1) will play host to the last-place San Francisco 49ers (4-3), the reigning NFC champions, on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
Five of Seattle's six games have been decided by eight points or fewer, with four games coming down to the final seconds.
"There were so many opportunities to win the football game," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of last Sunday's game, in which a 48-yard touchdown reception by DK Metcalf in overtime was wiped out by a penalty. "We've been in the situation where we count on things to happen in the right place, happen in the right situations and the right complementary play occurs, and we just missed it."
Russell Wilson completed 33 of 50 passes for 388 yards and three touchdowns but also had three costly interceptions in losing for the first time in his nine-year career when leading by four or more points at halftime. He had been 59-0 in such situations.
"I thought we played a great game except for those three plays," Wilson said. "Those are my fault. There's so much that we can do, and we have so much confidence. Our confidence is not going to waver. They're a great football team, too. We knew it was going to be a battle."
The 49ers will pose another challenge after winning two games in a row, including a 33-6 victory last weekend at New England. Jimmy Garoppolo was 20 of 25 for 277 yards in his first game against his former team. Jeff Wilson Jr. rushed for a career-high three touchdowns and 112 yards but sustained a high left ankle sprain that landed him on injured reserve.
The 49ers' winning streak came after home losses to Philadelphia and Miami, the latter by a 43-17 margin.
"I understood why we didn't win those games, but it wasn't anything to panic about," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. "It was just frustrating. We let a game get away from us I thought we should have won (against the Eagles). Then the Miami game, obviously, we shouldn't have won that game. We got blown out. It was a very embarrassing loss. But when you watch that tape -- and I wasn't trying to BS the players -- there was a lot of things to be encouraged about."
San Francisco linebacker Fred Warner said the Miami game provided a "wake-up call."
"I think that's just what we needed ... to really spark a fire underneath us and get that sense of urgency back because we know what we're capable of," Warner said.
The 49ers could get running back Tevin Coleman (knee) back from the IR this week, which would boost a ground game that's also without Raheem Mostert (ankle). Wide receiver Deebo Samuel (hamstring) is expected to miss a couple of weeks.
The Seahawks likely will be without leading rusher Chris Carson, who sustained a mid-foot sprain against the Cardinals. Carlos Hyde, who played for the 49ers from 2014-17, replaced Carson and had season highs of 68 yards on 15 carries, including a 24-yard touchdown.
Safety Jamal Adams, the Seahawks' biggest offseason acquisition, remains questionable due to a groin injury that has forced him to miss the past three games.
--Field Level Media