The only time a short week is good for the San Francisco 49ers is after suffering an embarrassing defeat. After the shellacking by the Giants at home, the 49ers have only three days to prepare for their game on Thursday night. The quick turnaround between week six and seven means San Francisco is forced to move on from the loss quickly to focus on the Seahawks who are tied with the Cardinals and 49ers for first place in the NFC West with a 4-2 record. However, the three days between games means the injuries suffered last Sunday have less time to heal, as is the case with left tackle Joe Staley who sustained a concussion.
Staley visited with a neurologist this week and his status for the game against the Seahawks is not yet known. The loss of Staley for the game against the Seahawks will be a huge void to fill. After Staley left the game with a concussion in the third quarter, right guard Alex Boone moved to tackle to replace him and backup veteran guard Leonard Davis came off the bench to fill in for Boone. Boone’s natural position is at tackle and Davis has over a decade of game experience in the NFL, but losing Staley will hurt the offense.
The Seahawks defense has a dangerous pass rush and they showed how good they can play in the win over the Patriots last Sunday and their dominating play stopping Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense a few weeks ago. The Seahawks defense have just as good of a pass rush as the Giants who harassed Alex Smith all game and made him uncomfortable with four sacks. The constant pressure on Smith lead to three interceptions even though he entered the game with the NFL’s best QB rating and had only thrown one interception in the first five games. The Seahawks defense will need to contend with the 49ers size and strength up front and that task will be easier if Staley does not play.
Smith and the 49ers offense started off playing well against the Giants after outgaining them 125-20 in the first quarter. However in the second and third quarters the offense had only one first down and they did not have a drive that went past the Giants 24-yard line. After the first quarter the 49ers offense abandoned their balanced attack and went to the air and shotgun formation. Once the offense became one-dimensional the Giants defense was all over Smith. The Seahawks will likely employ a similar strategy that forces the Niners offense out of their balanced attack and out of rhythm. Against the Patriots, the Seahawks defense showed they are capable of keeping up with a high-powered and no-huddle passing attack, something the 49ers offense is not. They also shut down the Patriots rushing attack limiting them to just 87 yards on 26 carries, an average of 3.3 yards per rush.
In order for Seattle to have a chance to win their offense needs to keep scoring all game like the Giants did last week. That is easier said than done against the Niners defense. Unlike the game against the Giants I don’t expect the Niners D to play flat against the Seahawks. Despite not recording a sack or turnover and giving up 149 rushing yards to the Giants, the Niners D will be able to get pressure on quarterback Russell Wilson to force him into mistakes and will be able to keep in check Marshawn Lynch and their running game. There is no way the Niners D plays bad two weeks in a row at home.
It certainly wouldn’t be very human if you didn’t hurt today. But there’s no time. You’ve got to dust yourself off and ride. Right now we have no choice. We have to get to Seattle right quick. We’ve got a football fight coming. Head coach Jim Harbaugh.
The one bright spot about a Thursday game is you don’t have to deal with the loss for the whole week. You get a chance in a couple of nights to go out and try to make the week a lot better than it would have been. Center Jonathan Goodwin.