Lawrence Phillips left a lot of room for improvement in his 49ers debut.

Trying to resurrect his NFL career after washing out twice because of legal and disciplinary problems, Phillips never got untracked. It was San Francisco's special teams and defense that finally did for a 24-23 preseason victory over the Seattle Seahawks tonight.

Phillips said he wasn't ready to judge his first performance in which he had three runs for six yards and three catches for 12 yards, along with several dropped passes.

"You're never as good as you think you were and you're never as bad as you think you were. I have to see the film," Phillips said. "But this is nothing new to me. I've played football before. I just have to get in there and play."

Seattle Coach Mike Holmgren passed up a chance for the tie after a late score. Rather than possibly sending the game into overtime, he opted for a two-point conversion attempt with nine seconds left, but Brock Huard's pass fell incomplete.

Seattle got a pair of one-yard touchdown runs, first from Ricky Watters and then by Dustin Johnson, whose score with 10 minutes 12 seconds remaining put the Seahawks up, 17-3.

But the 49ers came back in the fourth quarter to lead late.

Defensive end David Richie, dropping into pass coverage on a zone blitz, picked off Huard and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown with 1 minute 51 seconds left. Huard nearly redeemed himself, driving the Seahawks to the San Francisco 1, where he tossed a scoring pass to Deems May with nine seconds left. However, Huard's conversion pass was incomplete.

Summary on Page D9