Week 2 Tale Of The Tape: San Francisco 49ers At Seattle Seahawks
- QuarterbackThe Niners faced a tough opponent in Week One that was determined to get off to a strong start, and quarterback Brian Hoyer was held in check. If the quarterback thought the Panthers were bringing the heat, it may be even more difficult this week because the Seahawks lost their opener at Green Bay and the defense will make it difficult for Hoyer to step into his throws and find open receivers.Russell Wilson enjoys the confines of CenturyLink Field and he is the triggerman for what should be a solid offense this season. Wilson is smart, gutsy, athletic and accurate, and those are the factors that have made him one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Wilson can run away from trouble, buy time and give his receivers time to get open.
- OffenseThe Niners have a solid running game with Carlos Hyde, but he was not able to get free in the season opener. There are tougher things to do than run the ball against the Seahawks, but not many. If the Niners are going to move the ball, they need veteran wideout Pierre Garcon to run precise patterns, get open and hold onto the ball when Hoyer gets it to him.Seattle has a somewhat inconsistent offense, and much will depend on the contribution of the running game. Chris Carson had a few good runs against the Packers, but six carries for 39 yards does not a career make. Wideout Doug Baldwin is one of the toughest and most effective receivers in the league because he can make the tough catch in traffic. Jimmy Graham needs to be a downfield factor.
- DefenseThe Niners have a long way to go before they are going to be an effective defense. Rookie Reuben Foster has excellent instincts and superb tackling skills, but he has a high ankle sprain and his loss will hurt San Francisco. Defensive linemen Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner both have plenty of speed, and head coach Kyle Shanahan needs them to step up this season.No team has a more ferocious defense than the Seahawks, and they have excellence on the defensive line, at linebacker and in the secondary. Defensive end Michael Bennett can line up anywhere on the defensive line and dominate, while middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is one of the five best defensive players in the league. He has company in hard-hitting safety Earl Thomas.
- Special TeamsThe Niners have had issues with special teams over the years, but they improved in 2016 because they had been bottom feeders but moved to middle-of-the-pack status. Bradley Pinion is skilled at dropping his punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.Tyler Lockett can be explosive in the return game, and if he can turn upfield and accelerate to full speed, he can be explosive and a game changer. Veteran Blair Walsh has taken over at the PK slot, and he made all three of his FG attempts against Green Bay.
The Seahawks are not about to make life easy for the 49ers as they open their home schedule. Pete Carroll wants to establish dominance at home, and the Seahawks should be able to take hold of this game and establish a double-digit lead prior to halftime.