SAN FRANCISCO -- Cornerback Chris Culliver offered the simplest explanation Thursday night for why the 49ers, yet again, avoided a two-game losing streak.
"Because we're the 49ers," Culliver said after a 13-6 escape against the visiting Seattle Seahawks.
For the fifth time under coach Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers bounced back from a regular-season loss with a victory -- and without allowing a touchdown. Thursday's comeback victory put them alone atop the NFC West at 5-2.
"Anytime you can put the pressure on the defense, we want it," cornerback Tarell Brown said.
The Seahawks led 6-3 at halftime before Alex Smith's third-quarter touchdown pass to Delanie Walker gave the 49ers a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Frank Gore accounted for 50 of the 86 yards on that drive, and despite injuring his back in the second quarter, he finished with a season-high 131 rushing yards on 16 carries.
"We had to run the ball to win this game," left tackle Joe Staley said. "It was a tall order against that defense."
The Seahawks (4-3) have suffered all their defeats on the road against NFC West counterparts. This was the 49ers' first of six divisional games as reigning NFC West champs, and Harbaugh reveled in their second-half comeback.
"That was the most physical 30 minutes of football, in the second half, that I've ever seen this team play," he said.
Defensive lineman Justin Smith's response: "I thought the whole game was
Continuing a phenomenal trend, the 49ers have outscored opponents 106-17 in their five bounce-back victories, including a 34-0 shutout of the New York Jets on Sept. 30.
Highlighting Thursday's charge was overdue prowess on special teams, plus the defense's fourth-quarter stands in Seahawks territory.
Seattle's final snap could have resulted in a safety, when a chop-block penalty took out linebacker Aldon Smith in the end zone. But Harbaugh passed on those extra points, preferring to take over on downs at the Seahawks' 21-yard line and having Alex Smith kneel twice to kill the final 43 seconds.
Alex Smith played, according to Harbaugh, a "perfect game" when it came to making on-field calls for a revitalized rushing attack. The offensive line came on strong, too.
Illustrating that success was a 20-yard run by Gore that set up David Akers' second field goal of the night, a 28-yard attempt with 5:24 remaining.
It was Gore's 16th and final carry, as coaches pulled him to rest his injured back.
"I'll be all right," Gore said. "Coaches want me to be smart. It's a long season. We've got a lot of other great (running) backs."
The 49ers were poised to increase their lead earlier, but Smith threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted in the end zone by Brandon Browner early in the fourth quarter.
"Randy (Moss) was in the back of the end zone, Browner was in the front corner, and he stepped into it," Smith said.
Harbaugh didn't blame Smith's decision, noting: "I saw what he saw exactly, because I was right behind him (on the sideline). I saw Randy open in the end zone. I would have thrown it higher to take an interception out of the equation."
On the preceding play, Colin Kaepernick made his only appearance in place of Smith, and he was stopped for a 1-yard loss. Those back-to-back negative plays spoiled a drive in which Gore burst free for a 37-yard gain to the Seahawks' 8.
Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch had his moments, too. He ran for 103 yards, marking the first time since 2006 that the 49ers allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushers at home. Ahmad Bradshaw had 116 yards Sunday in the Giants' 26-3 rout.
But neither Lynch nor rookie quarterback Russell Wilson could make enough plays against a motivated 49ers defense.
"We wanted to go out there and get that mojo back," linebacker Patrick Willis said.
Added Staley: "Coming off a loss, you sense an urgency that everyone has, and it starts at midnight. No speeches are needed. Everyone understands what we have to do."