It also moved the veteran running back one spot up on the NFL's all-time TD list. After beginning the day tied with Walter Payton for 11th place, Peterson is now tied with Jim Brown for 10th. He needs two more to tie Marvin Harrison for ninth place.
"It was exciting for guys to get AD his touchdown today so he could tie the great Jim Brown," said coach Pete Carroll, referring to Peterson's nickname, "All Day." "That was just for fun. Thrilled that he got a chance to do that and have him with us in this game."
Peterson, who signed with Seattle's practice squad on Wednesday, started the game and carried a team-high 11 times for 16 yards while rotating frequently with Rashaad Penny and Travis Homer. His 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter cut San Francisco's lead to 17-14. He followed a lead block from fullback Nick Bellore, who mainly plays on special teams and practices as a backup linebacker during the week.
"He is probably wondering who I was because I haven't actually got to meet him yet," said the 32-year-old Bellore. "I went over for one play of walk-through on offense and he kind of looked at me, and I didn't want to introduce myself. I was just glad to kind of help out anyway I could to get him in the end zone ... I'm really old, and he's even older.
"I remember watching him when I was in college, high school, all of that. Some guys were in elementary school watching him in the pros. A legend like that, you have a little extra juice for, to try to get him in the end zone."
According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Peterson is the third player in NFL history -- and the only running back -- to score a rushing touchdown for six different franchises. The others are quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick (eight) and Chris Chandler (six).
The 36-year-old Peterson was part of an improbable cast that helped the Seahawks escape Lumen Field with a wild win. They received a 73-yard touchdown run on a fake punt by Homer, a backup. They benefited from a safety and a game-sealing pass breakup from Carlos Dunlap, whose role has been significantly diminished. They had one touchdown from No. 4 receiver Dee Eskridge and another from Peterson, who's in his 15th season and arrived just four days earlier.
Peterson, who was waived by the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 23 after three games, was tailgating in Stillwater, Oklahoma, last weekend -- for the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State football game -- when the Seahawks called his agent to gauge his interest in signing him to their practice squad as they dealt with injuries to starter Alex Collins (abdomen), Penny (hamstring) and Homer (calf).
Peterson practiced just twice last week and was elevated from Seattle's practice squad for Sunday's game. Penny was next in carries with 10 for 35 and gained 27 yards on a screen. Homer carried twice for 7 yards outside of his touchdown on the fake punt.
Collins was inactive after being limited in practice all week. Carroll said he needed a week off and that he should be back this week.
Peterson was responsible for one of four Seattle fumbles, but his was recovered by teammate Will Dissly. He will revert back to Seattle's practice squad on Monday.
In addition to wanting to reinforce their banged-up backfield, the Seahawks were also intrigued by how Peterson's famous work ethic could rub off on other players. Carroll believes it did.
"Really, I just wanted to bring him in and give him a chance to see our guys and be with our team and all that," Carroll said. "I thought it was just such a rare opportunity and he totally exceeded my expectations with his influence, just being in our locker room and being on our practice field. He was so much the consummate pro about taking this opportunity to heart and going for it.
"He's played a lot of football. He was so serious about it and so strict about the way he did everything ... He had a great week of practice. He needed to play and we knew he had that touchdown thing that we were trying to get. The celebration was for the big guys that knocked it in so that he got a chance to score there. Today was worth it. It was very much worth it."