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Author Topic: San Francisco 49ers: What They've Learned Towards the Seattle Seahawks in 2013  (Read 281 times)

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Offline Cortez Kennedy

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It&rsquos time for Round three among the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks.</p><p>It was usually hard to see the season boiling down to anything at all else&mdashBleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, and Professional Football Emphasis all had San Francisco and Seattle one-two in the NFC in their preseason power rankings, and both teams had been similarly higher in the ESPN and Football Outsiders preseason editions.  In contrast to the latest trend in the postseason You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login, there genuinely isn&rsquot a "surprise" staff left at this stage in the playoffs&mdashboth the 49ers and Seahawks, as nicely as their counterparts in the AFC, have earned this spot by being a single of the prime teams in the NFL this season, rather than simply getting scorching at the correct time.</p><p>Early betting lines have the Seahawks favored by approximately a field purpose, which is a pretty normal advantage for the team with residence-area benefit.  That feels approximately right&mdashboth teams have played well this season, and each personal victories more than the other when in their house stadiums You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login.  This is only the fourth time the 49ers have rolled into a game as the underdogs, but the label appears approximately exact for this game.</p><p>If the 49ers hope to return to the Super Bowl, they&rsquore going to have to do what they couldn&rsquot do in Week 2&mdashbeat Seattle on its own turf.  It&rsquos a tall process, although as Arizona proved this season, not not possible.  How can the 49ers pull the upset and turn out to be the very first staff to reach back-to-back Super Bowls because the 2003-04 New England Patriots? </p><p>Allow&rsquos seem at some of the crucial factors.</p><p> </p><p>Counteracting Home Area Benefit</p><p>                                                                                        Otto Greule Jr/Getty Photographs                                                                    Seahawks followers know how to bring the noise.            </p><p>You can&rsquot compare the two earlier 49er-Seahawk showdowns with no pointing to the impact of house-area advantage You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login. </p><p>Given that 2002, the Seahawks have had the best benefit in football playing at residence, receiving an extra five.2 factors per game just from staying in the Emerald City.  They are 72-31 in the stadium and have lost by a lot more than one particular score only 15 times. </p><p>The noise is certainly a factor, as the Seattle followers have set the world record for crowd noise and have forced opposing teams to false start off far more than any other property crowd in football, but it&rsquos not just the noise.  You also have the geographic isolation issue, as there are no short street journeys up to Seattle&mdashthe closest group is San Francisco, and that&rsquos even now 800 miles away. </p><p>Include in the rainy, cold climate late in the season and you get a really foreboding spot for a street crew to play.</p><p>How do you counteract this benefit?  The biggest important is not to get into also deep a hole early and to consider to take the crowd out of it.  That&rsquos a significantly easier thing to say than to do&mdashthe crowd will be pumped for the NFC Championship Game, and the 49ers have been extremely poor at just getting up to the line of scrimmage and getting a play off in time, even without having the kind of deafening noise to be discovered at CenturyLink Field.  The crowd noise there triggered a league-foremost 12 delay-of-game penalties and anecdotally look to lead to teams to burn up two or 3 timeouts a game just trying to line up appropriately. </p><p>If that happens in Seattle, the 49ers have no possibility&mdashif they get rattled and can&rsquot just get plays off, Seattle is going to roll in this game. </p><p>If, even so, they can slow down the tempo early, steer clear of turnovers and place collectively the kind of long, time-consuming drives they&rsquove been capable of this season, they can carry that crowd interference down to manageable ranges.</p><p>                                                                                        Stephen Dunn/Getty Images                                                                    A regular dose of Frank Gore and ball-control offense may possibly offset Seattle's noise positive aspects.            </p><p>In the 2nd matchup among the two teams this yr, the 49ers had three drives of 10 plays or much more, accounting for practically a quarter of the entire game and resulting in the game-winning score. </p><p>Even though all three drives ended up in discipline targets, as opposed to touchdowns, these are the sorts of drives the 49ers want in this game.  Yes, a game-breaking kickoff return or extended bomb for a touchdown would be nice and silent the crowd momentarily, but a) the 49ers aren&rsquot specifically designed for that, and b) the cumulative effects of these long, clock-killing drives can a lot more completely subdue if not demoralize the crowd&mdashnot to mention the truth that it tires out the defense.</p><p>The 49ers have two of the top-four longest drives in the league this 12 months&mdasha 17-play, 10:27 drive towards Tampa Bay, and an 18-play, 9:32 drive towards Arizona.  If they import that prolonged-drive good results into Seattle, the 49ers can go a prolonged way to lessening the results of Seattle&rsquos crowd advantage.</p><p> </p><p>San Francisco&rsquos Offense Improving</p><p>One particular of the big stories this preseason was the arms race in Seattle and San Francisco, as the additions of Percy Harvin and Anquan Boldin bolstered the teams' respective acquiring corps.  Of course, Harvin missed almost the complete season with a hip injury, and the 49ers&rsquo loss of Michael Crabtree to his Achilles injury counteracted the addition of Boldin. </p><p>The 49ers suffered more from the loss of their receiver, as the offense sputtered for the first half of the season, only to start reviving when Crabtree returned in early December. When he did come back, the 49er offense was capable to operate with its complete complement of weapons.</p><p>In the preview for final week&rsquos game against Carolina, I posted the stats for Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers&rsquo passing game, split into pre-Week 10 and publish-Week 10 segments.  Here are the up to date stats, taking the Carolina game into account, now with 9 games in every split:</p><p>Colin Kaepernick</p><p>Att</p><p>Comp</p><p>Comp %</p><p>Yds</p><p>Yds/Att</p><p>TDs</p><p>Ints</p><p>Weeks 1-10</p><p>221</p><p>124</p><p>56.1%</p><p>1675</p><p>7.58</p><p>9</p><p>6</p><p>Weeks eleven-19</p><p>255</p><p>150</p><p>58.four%</p><p>1945</p><p>7.63</p><p>14</p><p>three</p><p>                                                                                        Mike DiNovo-USA Today Sports activities                                                                    Michael Crabtree's return sparked San Francisco's offense.            </p><p>Total, the 49ers&rsquo offense has gone for much more than 300 yards in every single and each and every game of their active eight game winning streak, including the residence game towards Seattle.  They acquired 318 yards in that matchup, compared to 207 in the very first go-round. </p><p>Why the distinction?  Part of it is the return of Crabtree, who had 4 receptions for forty yards in the game and merely gave Kaepernick yet another legitimate target in the passing game.  A entirely healthy Vernon Davis aided, as properly&mdashhe left with a hamstring damage in the first Seattle game, even more robbing Kaepernick of targets to throw to.</p><p>It wasn&rsquot just the passing game that was ready to uncover accomplishment, as the working game also picked up 63 a lot more yards in the second matchup than in the 1st.  That stat is a bit skewed, although, as 51 of those yards came on a Frank Gore rumble late in the fourth quarter to move the 49ers into selection to kick the game-winning discipline aim.  For the bulk of the afternoon, the running game largely was as effective as it was in the initial matchup, averaging just under 5. yards per carry.</p><p>The 49ers ground attack has in fact slipped a little in the 2nd half of the season, dropping from 147.7 yards per game to 129.4&mdashthat&rsquos much more than manufactured up for, nevertheless, by the enhance in the passing offense, which has risen from an average of 173.9 yards to 201.9. </p><p>Towards the Seahawks in that second matchup, Davis worked the seam routes to perfection, Boldin fought contested balls tooth and claw with Seattle star cornerback Richard Sherman and came away victorious, and Crabtree showed his route-operating was not impacted by the layoff. </p><p>The passing game gave ample room for Frank Gore to plow for holes through the line he racked up 33 carries in the 2nd game as opposed to only 20 in the Week 2 matchup in Seattle, which aided San Francisco handle the clock and the movement of the game. </p><p>The health of the offense was a enormous contributing issue to that victory.</p><p> </p><p>Seattle&rsquos Offense Declining</p><p>                                                                                        Joe Nicholson-USA Nowadays Sports activities                                                                    Will Percy Harvin be excellent to go towards San Francisco?            </p><p>It looked like this third matchup would characteristic the total getting corps for each teams, as Percy Harvin produced a quasi-miraculous return towards New Orleans a week after almost landing on the injured reserve listing.  Throughout the game, nonetheless, Harvin was knocked all around by the Saints secondary, leaving for concussion exams at two various factors in the game, as properly as becoming witnessed in a shoulder harness after the game. </p><p>As for the championship game, we won&rsquot know Harvin&rsquos total standing until finally Wednesday or Thursday, due to the time the concussion protocols get to complete.  It&rsquos fair to call him questionable for Sunday, with somewhere all around a 50-50 likelihood to suit up.</p><p>For most of the season, of course, Seattle didn&rsquot require Harvin.  The offense was rolling&mdashthey ran over San Francisco to the tune of 172 yards on the ground in the Week two game, and have cracked the 400-yard mark offensively six times this yr, one thing the 49ers haven&rsquot managed to do considering that Week 1.</p><p>Even so, just as the 49ers&rsquo offense has been heating up, the Seahawks&rsquo offense seems to be cooling down.  Above the same eight-week time period we talked about earlier, in which the 49ers have been in excess of 300 yards every single and each and every week, the Seahawks have struggled, registering much less than 300 yards 4 occasions, with the nadir currently being the Week sixteen residence reduction to Arizona, in which Russell Wilson and ended up with 89 yards through the air. </p><p>Some of these recent struggles can be explained away by issues outside of on-area execution&mdashthe subpar offensive efficiency last week, for instance, was in huge part the consequence of extraordinarily windy and rainy circumstances, far surpassing what even Seattle normally faces.</p><p>                                                                                        Kirby Lee-USA Right now Sports                                                                    Wilson's been wonderful, but the passing game has dipped in recent weeks.            </p><p>Nonetheless, 4 games out of eight factors to a trend. </p><p>It&rsquos not Marshawn Lynch, either&mdashthe worst rushing efficiency in that time span was the 86 yards towards San Francisco, which is 1 of the two stingiest run defenses they faced in that stretch of games. </p><p>Rather, it&rsquos the passing game:  more than the final five video games, Russell Wilson has finished 56.7 percent of his passes for 788 yards&mdashonly 6.6 yards per attempt.  He&rsquos also thrown only four touchdowns and has been intercepted three instances. </p><p>Make no blunder, Wilson&rsquos had a fantastic season total, but the passing game has struggled to shut out the season.</p><p>Even though the 49ers game is incorporated in that sample, it didn&rsquot really feel like Wilson had a horrible game towards them the second time out You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login, as the Seahawks truly improved their passing yards from 118 to 178 among the two games.  Component of that is a lack of quarterback pressures&mdashin Week two, the 49ers pressured Wilson on 21 dropbacks but charted only seven such pressures in the Week 14 rematch. </p><p>A good deal of that distinction can be attributed to Aldon Smith getting to go towards Paul McQuistan and J.R. Sweezy in the first matchup and having to deal with Russell Okung in the 2nd go-round.  A lack of strain from Smith and 49ers defensive front in the second matchup was partially compensated for by the secondary clamping down tighter. Each Tramaine Brock and Eric Wright presented exceptional pass coverage.</p><p>The weak link in that 2nd matchup was Carlos Rogers, who permitted 6 receptions on eight targets for 71 yards, significantly of it to Golden Tate.  Rogers&rsquo standing is even now unknown for the championship game You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login, but Brock and Tarell Brown have been the 49ers' cornerbacks of selection lately anyway&mdashthe matchup among them and Tate will go a prolonged way in direction of figuring out what the offense can do. </p><p>Marshawn Lynch is a beast no matter what&mdashagainst the Saints, he forced 13 missed tackles and has 99 on the season so far, according to ProFootballFocus&rsquo charting stats, meaning he is a ache to get down.  Nevertheless, if the 49ers can shut down Seattle&rsquos passing offense, forcing them to grow to be one dimensional, their odds of winning boost dramatically.</p><p> </p><p>Getting Close to the Defense</p><p>                                                                                        Harry How/Getty Photographs                                                                    These guys are fairly good.            </p><p>There is no receiving around this truth&mdashthe Seahawks don&rsquot have a weakness on defense. </p><p>By nearly each and every metric, Seattle has been the very best defense this season, such as Football Outsiders&rsquo overall DVOA stat, the place they&rsquove opened up a 10-level lead in excess of their closest competitor.  The Seahawks have several Defensive Player of the Yr candidates, the ideal pass rush and pass coverage in football and a strong run defense. </p><p>They play a brand of bodily, rough defense and by no means let opposing offenses get comfy. If the 49ers are going to have their ninth straight 300-plus yard game, they&rsquore going to have to uncover ways to crack their toughest job so far.</p><p>Kaepernick was pressured 21 occasions in the 1st matchup, top to three interceptions and 3 sacks&mdashthere simply wasn&rsquot time for him to read Seattle's coverages.  These pressures weren&rsquot coming from the blitz, both&mdashSeattle blitzed only five occasions, mostly just clamping down on the depleted obtaining corps and avoiding Kaepernick from finding anyplace to go with the ball You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login.</p><p>The 2nd matchup went much better, as the 49er offensive line held up a small much better, permitting ten pressures. Joe Staley, in specific, had a much far better day the 2nd time all around. </p><p>The pressures basically have to be down, specifically when not blitzed.  That&rsquos going to be important in this matchup.  If Mike Iupati has another day the place he offers up six hurries, as he did in the very first matchup, the 49ers aren&rsquot going to be capable to move the ball properly ample to win this game. </p><p>Then there's the really tall activity of taking part in a road playoff game in the loudest stadium in the NFL. The inability to hear the snap count removes the offensive line&rsquos regular benefit&mdashthey know when the snap count is, which means in normal scenarios, they don&rsquot have to watch the ball, while the defense does.  With the deafening noise, even so, the offensive line has to shell out consideration to the ball much more than their blocking assignment at the snap, which can lead to catastrophe.</p><p>                                                                                        Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Photos                                                                    Arizona's upset came with a healthy dose of the ground game and Andre Ellington.            </p><p>So, how to assault the prime defense in football? </p><p>Keep in mind, what was pointed out in the 49ers&rsquo offensive segment&mdashSan Francisco's averaged almost five yards a rush against Seattle in the two matchups this 12 months.  It&rsquos not just the 49ers, either:  The Saints employed a power rushing assault last week, acquiring 108 yards on 24 carries behind Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson. </p><p>A heavy dose of working the ball is not New Orleans standard offensive method, but a combination of the weather and Seattle's suburb pass rush led the Saints to try a electrical power-operating approach, and they had notable good results.  Arizona, as well, discovered accomplishment on the ground in their Week sixteen upset, with Andre Ellington and Rashard Mendenhall ending up with a combined 139 yards on the ground.  You see the same pattern in Seattle&rsquos overtime wins against Tampa Bay and the Houston Texas, as well as in its near reduction to St. Louis in Week eight, all of which saw Seattle&rsquos opponent go for over 150 yards rushing.</p><p>It is attainable to get traction on the ground against the Seahawks' front seven.<p>A heavy dose of Frank Gore, with a side of Kendall Hunter, appears to be in the cards for this matchup.  The operating game assists control the clock, quiet down the crowd and reduce the effect of Seattle's devastating secondary. </p><p>It felt like the 49ers got away from their smashmouth strategy also early in the 1st matchup, recording only 3 rushing attempts right after halftime. It was nevertheless five- at that point, far as well early to give up on the ground game.  This isn&rsquot a "run to win" type of argument the cause winning teams have far more rushing yards than shedding teams, in common, is simply because they run to bleed the clock when they are already winning. </p><p>This is far more of a stability argument. By basically offering up on the working game in the 2nd half of the Week two matchup, the 49ers not took the ball out of the hands of one particular of their prime playmakers, but they grew to become 1 dimensional and permitted the Seattle defense to double down its efforts to quit the passing assault with out worrying about the ground game. </p><p>Getting to be a single dimensional removed the risk of the play-action pass, and it played correct into the strengths of a defense which doesn&rsquot want additional help to be a dominant force.  The worst-situation situation for the 49ers is turning into predictable they need to maintain that running game going sturdy to have a chance in this a single.</p><p> </p><p>Overall Strategy</p><p>So, breaking it all down, what&rsquos San Francisco&rsquos method in this 1?  Run the ball, hang on to the football, and handle the clock.  Make confident the drives finish in some sort of points, forcing Seattle&rsquos not too long ago sputtering offense to hold scoring, rather than just waiting to take advantage of a three-and-out or a turnover.  Shorten the game, take the crowd out of it, and win the field position battle.</p><p>