49ers-Seahawks Q and A


We here at NinerNoise talked with the good folks over at 12thManRising.com, the FanSided Seattle Seahawks site, to preview the game this evening. Here is our 49ers-Seahawks Q and A:

First, our questions and their answers:

1) Russell Wilson’s receivers have not been giving him a lot of help. Why did

Seattle trade the most talented receiver they had? I have heard all of the

rumors and locker room stuff. Is it as simple as that, or is there more to it?

I truly think it is as simple as that. If you are a distraction in the Seattle locker room that cares more about your personal usage than your role on the team, the Seahawks are not above letting you walk. Harvin got his wish — usage as a deep-threat receiver with more touches in New York, but we’ll see if he enjoys the touches more than winning games. Going from a Super Bowl champ to the 2-9 Jets must be tough. Seattle realized they didn’t need him to win the Super Bowl last year so while he was a nice talent to have, his bad attitude outweighed his talent on the field and the Seahawks said “see ya.”

2) Seattle’s defense is currently leading the league in yards per game allowed

(296.8; San Francisco is number 2 at 300.1). How important have they been as the

offense, especially the passing game, has struggled.

The defense has been keeping this team relevant this season, without doubt. Last week, they grounded the soaring Cardinals, allowing only 3 points, the fewest Arizona had scored all year. Seattle’s offense had a few mishaps in that game as they have all season, but all season the defense has kept them in it.

3) Speaking of the passing game, Seattle ranks 30th in passing yards per game.

Is this a reflection on Wilson, his receivers, his offensive line, coaching and

game-planning, or some combination?

It seems to be a reflection of poor play-calling but also Wilson not be as needle-sharp as he usually is. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has had some very questionable pass plays called this year but sometimes he draws up the perfect play and Wilson just can’t connect with his guys. If I had to pinpoint one thing that has caused struggles in the passing game, however, I would point at the offensive line. They can’t protect Wilson and they rarely give him time to make accurate throws and he has been getting hit more this season than at any point in his career. Seattle has to figure out a way to block so their passing game can improve.

4) Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch has been tearing it up, despite his unhappiness

with his current contract. With the low premium on running backs, do you see him

coming back next year?

That’s such a tough question because I can see it going either way. I would like to think Seattle would try convincing him to stay, but they have shown in the past that if you think you can get a better deal someplace else, then go do it. They didn’t try very hard to pursue Golden Tate, Brandon Browner, Walter Thurmond or others in free agency because they believe if you want to play in Seattle, you will try negotiating to remain in Seattle. I feel the same will happen with Lynch. A roster spot is there for him if he is willing to negotiate, but if he is “all bout that money, boss”, Seattle won’t give him what he wants. I personally would love to see him stay though, he is the engine of the offense.

5) Is there a weakness in the running game? Seattle has been outrunning the next

highest team (Dallas) by 19.5 yards per game. They in turn are outrunning the

next team by 12.8 ypg. That is remarkable. I know how valuable Colin

Kaepernick’s running ability has been for San Francisco, is this high total also

partially a result of Russell Wilson’s ability to scramble and make plays?

I would give a lot of the credit to Wilson, who leads quarterbacks in rushing yards this year. It’s nice to have Lynch and Wilson on the same team because when they get their legs going, look out. Dallas relies so much on DeMarco Murray, I would say the Cowboys high rushing numbers are because of him, but Seattle’s are because of a mix of Wilson and Lynch.

6) This is kind of crazy to say, but with both of the 49ers’ stud inside

linebackers out, how will Seattle manage to keep the opportunistic Chris Borland

from causing trouble?

They will treat him the same way they would have treated NaVorro Bowman or Patrick Willis. Seattle doesn’t get caught up in the names of players — if you’re on the field, you can play. They will approach the game the same way and use their tight ends to try to distract or block the inside guys and also force the offensive line up to try to get in Borland’s face.

7) How in the world will Seattle prepare for Aldon Smith?

It’s hard to prepare for a guy with that much talent. Alvin Bailey and rookie Justin Britt will probably end up with the tough assignment of stopping Smith, and if they can’t Wilson is going to get his a lot in the backfield. Alot. I sure hope one of the O-linemen can figure out a way to shut him down. They may assign a double-team with a tight end like Cooper Helfet or Luke Willson, but otherwise they are just going to have to hope Bailey and Britt can hold their own.

8) Do you think Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll Will shake hands after the game?

Probably but it won’t be legitimate. I think they respect each other enough not to blow the other one off. Wouldn’t it be great if they smiled, high-fived and had some secret handshake they’ve actually been working on all year? Just a thought… no? OK, next question.

9) Better yet, what about Richard Sherman and Michael Crabtree? (I doubt it, personally.)

I’m sure Sherman will say something but the Lord only knows what. I’m sure Crabtree will talk right back and then maybe a viral interview later we can all go home and enjoy Thanksgiving.

Now for their questions and our answers in this 49ers-Seahawks Q and A:

1. Neither team expected to be competing for second place in the NFC West at this point in the season. Do you think the loser of this game will basically fall out of the playoff picture this season?

I am not quite convinced, especially as the Lions may slide further, despite their Thanksgiving Day win and the 49ers, at least, have a tiebreaker over both the Eagles and Giants. It will be hard, but not impossible.

2. Are you expecting a solid, stainless game because of the rivalry being on primetime, like the NFC Championship game? Or do you think both teams will be worn out on four days rest, making it a game where the better of two bad teams wins?

I think it will be an epic battle, honestly, but not quite as much as the next one. This will have its ugly moments, as both teams have shown themselves capable of having them and it is a short week.

3. Who is a player on the 49ers the Seahawks should keep their eyes on. Will he be a gamechanger on Thursday?

Stevie Johnson. I think you will cover Crabtree and Boldin pretty well, but Johnson is also incredibly gifted and he may surprise you if you aren’t careful.

4. Will Richard Sherman vs. Michael Crabtree be the best matchup to watch on Thursday or do you think there will be a better one?

I think this has to be! Even if it isn’t the best, it is the best story!

5. How do the Seahawks beat the 49ers? What’s a weakness in San Francisco that Seattle can exploit?

Get to Kaepernick and make him uncomfortable. If you can do that and block Aldon Smith, you’ll have a good start.

6. What is your prediction of the final outcome and score of Thursday’s game?

It is at San Francisco, so I think the 49ers win, 19-17.

Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy the game!