Jay's Friday Morning Huddle: Stuffing the Bird
The Seattle Seahawks are coming off of a 3 point loss on Monday Night Football to the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons. Seattle has lost two thirds of their ‘legion of boom’ to injury with CB Richard Sherman and SS Cam Chancellor done for the season. The Seahawks are relying on young players to fill the void of two of the better defensive players in the NFL.
The 49ers on the other hand have had more snaps from rookies than any other team in the NFL this season. 2,874 total snaps, 661 more than the next team, from rookies. This is a combination of a bad roster that GM John Lynch and HC Kyle Shanahan inherited, and also a strong draft class from the first time head coach and general manager combo of Shanahan and Lynch. Any draft class that comes away with a player like LB Ruben Foster is a good one.
The Seahawks have had the 49ers number for a few years now. They have been one of the better teams in the NFL since 2012, and the 49ers have been one of the worst over the past 4 seasons. The 49ers haven’t beaten the Seahawks since 2013, in Candlestick. The stadium doesn’t even exist anymore it’s been so long. Can the 49ers come away with a win this Sunday?
49ers DL vs Seahawks OL
In the week 2 matchup of these teams in Seattle, QB Russell Wilson was sacked 3 times and hit 10 times. The 49ers defensive line dominated the matchup with the Seahawks offensive line. The DL really held Wilson in check for most of that game. This game should be no different. Though the 49ers defensive line looks a little different in this matchup, the key pieces are still there and healthy. DL Deforest Buckner has been borderline unblockable for most of this season, and he will absolutely man handle any Guard on the Seahawks roster. DE Ronald Blair and DE Solomon Thomas will have a lot of work on the edge against the Seahawks tackles, as well as DE Elvis Dumervil on passing downs. These are also favorable matchups for the 49ers, and LB Reuben Foster will have a little bit to say about Wilson getting outside the pocket.
Containing Russell Wilson
This has been an impossible task for most teams this season. In the Monday Night Football game against the Falcons, Wilson made some big plays outside the pocket and his offense scored 31 points. The Falcon’s offense did enough to get a 3 point win in Seattle. The 49ers don’t have the firepower to go throw for throw with the Seahawks offense. This team needs to keep Wilson in the pocket and force him into uncomfortable throws in the middle of the field. The defense did a good job of keeping this offense in check in week 2, only surrendering 12 points on the road. That was a team lead by QB Brian Hoyer. Well, this week is an entirely different QB with rookie QB CJ Beathard getting the start over possible franchise QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
Take advantage of the Seahawks CBs
CB Richard Sherman is done for the season, this will be the first game in a long time he’s missed playing the 49ers. This 49ers offense needs to take advantage of the secondary that is forced to start CB Byron Maxwell and CB Jeremy Lane. Both are players the Seahawks didn’t want starting. Maxwell wasn’t on a team a week ago, and Lane was traded but failed his physical with the Texans. Starting QB CJ Beathard is going to need to take advantage of this matchup.
Establish the run early
In week 10 the 49ers got their first win of the season. A big part of that was establishing RB Carlos Hyde early in the game and forcing the Giants to respect the run. Play action is a huge part of Kyle Shanahan’s passing game. This team is at its best when the run is setting up the pass early in the game. Make sure the Seahawks respect that aspect of the 49ers offense. The 49ers offensive line is clearly a unit that GM John Lynch is going to need to work on in the offseason. G Laken Tomlinson and C Daniel Kilgore have been the weak spots of this offensive line. Seattle is fully aware that these two have trouble blocking and DE Michael Bennett will be lined up against them a lot. Get that outside zone run play going and neutralize the Seahawks good inside run game. This is what the 49ers did against the Giants in week 10. They ran outside more than inside, away from the strength of the Giants defensive line.
The Seahawks have clearly been the better of the two teams this season, Kyle Shanahan lead offenses have always given Pete Carroll issues. In week 2 the 49ers lost 12-9, but had a lead late in the 4th quarter. With competent QB play the 49ers could have easily came away with a win. This is not the 2013 Seahawks team with dominate players at every level. They are a flawed team with lots of injuries to key positions. (where have we heard that before?) The 49ers have played every divisional game tough this season and this game will be no different. I could see this being a very winnable game for the team late in the 4th quarter, big question is can this young team finish a veteran team like the Seattle Seahawks. We will find out Sunday.