Seahawks Insider

Morning links: 5 keys for Hawks vs. Niners

Post by Eric Williams on Dec. 24, 2011 at 7:14 am with 33 Comments »
December 24, 2011 7:14 am

Good morning. We’ve got mostly cloudy with a chance of rain and temperatures in the low 50s expected for this afternoon’s game between Seattle and San Francisco at CenturyLink Field, so dress appropriately if you’re headed out to the game.

Here’s five keys for the Hawks if they want to keep those faint playoff hopes alive.

Control Gore: Any game plan against San Francisco begins with figuring out a way to contain Frank Gore, the engine that makes the Niners’ offense go. Seattle’s done a nice job of limiting his big plays at times during his seven years with San Francisco, but he’s also had some big performances, including a 16-carry, 207-yard effort in San Francisco a couple years ago. Seattle players respect Gore’s ability and will be prepared to stop him.

Limit red zone scores: The Niners have one of the worst scoring offenses in the red zone in the league, and often settle for field goals near the goal line. Seattle needs to continue that trend today in order to keep the score close. Specifically, they need to figure out where Vernon Davis is at all times. He’s one of Alex Smith’s favorite targets near the goal line. Kam Chancellor and K.J. Wright will have their hands full.

Win on special teams: We know what happened in the first contest this season – Ted Ginn Jr. ran wild on two returns. The Seahawks cannot have a repeat performance. They need to control field position, and punter Jon Ryan has done an excellent job in that regard this season. Leon Washington also will factor in here.

Run the football: It’s pretty simple, but expect Seattle to hand the ball of at least 20 times to Marshawn Lynch against San Francisco’s vaunted front seven. We might even see some misdirection stuff like counters and reverses to keep the Niners’ defense honest. But expect the Seahawks to test that front and try to punch a rushing TD in there.

Play clean: Again, the Seahawks need to continue to limit penalties and win the turnover battle, which will be tough playing against a San Francisco team that leads the league in turnover differential at +25. Hawks need to steal a few possessions to have a chance.

My game advance focuses on the immovable object vs. the unstoppable force – Marshawn Lynch goes head up against the league San Francisco and the league’s best run defense.

Mike Silver of Yahoo Sports talks with Seahawks senior player personnel executive Scot McCloughan. And the former San Francisco general manager offers up this bulletin board quote for his former team: “They come to our place Christmas Eve,” McCloughan says laughing of the 11-3 Niners, “and we’re going to beat the hell out of ‘em.”

But read the story closely and you won’t find a whole lot of animosity (at least in the story itself) stated by McCloughan for San Francisco. It’s more of a piece to get his name out there for potential head personnel jobs that could be opening up in Oakland, San Diego and St. Louis.

In fact, Matt Maiocco of quotes McCloughan stating the he said it in a joking matter, which sounds about right.

Clare Farnsworth of previews the game.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes that the Seahawks and Niners are in for an old-fashioned, grind-it-out battle.

John Boyle of The Everett Herald writes that the Seahawks have plenty to play for today.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle notes that the Niners already have faced talented rusher this season in Cedric Benson, LeSean McCoy and Steven Jackson – and they all have failed to gain much ground against San Francisco’s defense.

Morning links
Leave a comment Comments → 33
  1. Merry Christmas everyone!

    My key for the game:
    1. Score more points!

    What I want for Christmas: Christian Ponder or Sam Bradford (if either of those teams end up with the #1 pick and choose to take Luck).

  2. GeorgiaHawk says:

    It’s time for washington to take it to the house! We win the special teams battle, we win the game. Imo.

  3. Run Lynch!?! You can’t just call the dive, play after play and expect to move the chains and win the game! Did we suddenly acquire some Pro Bowl linemen? The key to the game is TJack completing passes downfield, moving the chains and forcing the Niners to play honest defense. These guys can stop the run!

  4. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I agree LaCroix. this game will have more to do with how the qbs play then the rbs imo. Jackson did a good job last week when the Bears stopped the run so it shouldn’t be that much different for him in this game at home. It sure helps to get all those turnovers though.

  5. Ewalters7354 says:

    So because they can stop the run does that mean don’t run at all?Let Tjack pass the ball over 50 times and we win?In that case its gonna be a shootout because last I checked the Hawks can stop the run also.We didn’t run well last week but the willingness to stick with the game plan is gonna be the key to winning this game.May the best team win!

  6. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I didn’t mean that the bears totally shut down Lynch because he did have two redzone tds which would be great if he could duplicate that against the 49er, however he had something like 40 yards and a two yard average for the game.

    I could actually see Lynch get more yards then that against the 49ers if we get an early lead and maintain it, Although getting a td on the ground will be very tough.

  7. Palerydr says:

    After looking at the numbers I say behind stuffing Gore is pressuring the QB. Force Smith to throw the ball away especially on 3rd down. Smith has done an excellent job at protecting the ball so pressure won’t = picks. However just 1 bad decision in this game could be the difference.

    This game is gonna start out as smash mouth football so a big play from special teams will be needed today. I agree we need a Leon Washington sighting for sure. Course what normally happens when 2 really good defenses get together is an offensive shootout. Go Hawks beat the stuff outta them 9ers!

  8. I am in the second round of my FFL playoffs. Jackson is my starting QB. Do I start Baldwin, Obomanu or Tate today?

  9. Palerydr says:

    Which one lines up on the right side of the Offense? know that and you’ll know which one will get the most targets.

  10. Tate seems to get the snaps in the 1 wide receiver sets.

  11. Dukeshire says:

    You have to run the ball today. Even if it’s totally shut down in the first half, they have to come out in the second and keep at it (score not withstanding). You have to have the discipline to know running the ball shows up in the 4th quarter in games like this. Let your o-line lean on them for 35 minutes. It takes courage to do it, especially when success is limited early, but good teams do this. Strong, powerful, PLAYOFF teams do this, and this is what Seattle is (or is becoming). Also, it keeps your defense off the field, which is always a good thing.

    I haven’t been this pumped about a regular season game in a long time, for some reason. Even the Ram game last year. Perhaps because there is more at steak than just keeping playoff hopes alive. This is a statement game, a measuring stick. A defining moment, as it were. Because despite the anti-hype on this blog toward the 9ers all season, they are a very good football team. This is going to be awesome!

    pabs – I’m sure you’ll forgive my skepticism that you’re actually in your fantasy playoffs with Jackson as your QB. Regardless, Baldwin is the only Seahawk receiver who has put up any significant fantasy points this season (outside Rice early). So, if he plays, I don’t see how you can’t start him, given your options, for what it’s worth.

  12. Dukeshire says:

    pab – Tate’s been lining up primarily as the flanker (Z) which would make him the so-called number 2. That may change today however with Williams out, but I doubt it.

  13. And I “get” to miss it (the game)!

  14. Looking at Eric’s 5 Keys, I have to like our chances to handle 4 of the 5.
    1. Our run D is stellar with all our front-7 healthy.
    2. Our Red Zone D is tough and intimidating.
    3. Our Special Teams have come together.
    4. Running the ball is a little tougher now without Okung, but that’s our M.O.
    5. Play clean? Our DBs actually played a cleaner game last week. They’re improving.

    I feel good about all that. But I think two more things are needed:

    6. Explosive plays downfield to Baldwin, Tate, and Obo. Those plays were huge in trouncing the Bears.

    7. Don’t let Alex Smith stand in the pocket and be comfortable. Harass him until he makes mistakes. After all, he’s still Alex Smith.

  15. Dukeshire says:

    What?! What the hell are you talking about?

  16. Dukeshire says:

    That was directed to Bobby, not you Stevo. lol

    Bobby – Just saws the previous thread. Dude… this is totally unacceptable, man. I think pabs brought it up, but download the NFL for your phone. All hand on deck, today!!

  17. nfl rewind. the coolest thing on the internet monday through saturday.

  18. Palerydr says:

    My references to smash mouth football are exactly what you’re talking about Duke I just didn’t fill my post out as well as you did. I agree staying with the run game will show up in the 4th especially the way Lynch runs. If it’s a 1 score game at that point the will to be better than the guy in front of you is gonna show up. That’s what I’m looking forward to seeing, that will be the “defining moment” you are referring to IMO. I have a lot of respect for the 9ers defense it would be foolish to say we are gonna run all over them. If it plays out the way I think this is gonna be a good game to watch with defense ruling the day just the way I like it.

    Anybody wish we had drafted Jimmy Smith or do you love(man crush for me) Browner and Sherman?

  19. Dukeshire says:

    Stevo – You going today?

  20. Palerydr says:

    Sorry you have to miss the game Bobby hopefully you can DVR it and not listen to the radio or TV till you get home.

  21. bird_spit says:

    #1,#2,#3 – Jackson needs to out play Alex Smith
    Jackson needs to use the option, which means at times he must commit to run it.
    Jackson needs to commit to throw not only right to center, but throw some slants left.
    Also, with almost nothing to lose, trick plays anyone?

  22. Dukeshire says:

    Palerydr – You and I are on the same page, for sure. Didn’t mean to re-word what you said, I actually didn’t read any of the posts in the thread before I started typing. lol. So pumped up…!

  23. Dukeshire says:

    bird – IMO, with so much at steak and as sound as SF is on defense, today is not the day to get “cute”. This is a day to play like a man. “I am better than you. Here it is. Stop me…”.

  24. Palerydr says:

    Np Duke I’m flying high today as well I just hope the game lives up to my expectations!

  25. Palerydr says:

    *sorry our expectations

  26. My previous starting QBs were Schaub, Cutler and Leinart – lost for the season in 3 consecutive weeks. I have been starting Jackson since the Eagles game. I also start Thomas and Chancellor on my defense.

    I am 6-1 in my last 7 games after starting 2-6. I am 3-0 with Jackson as the QB. Clearly, Jackson doesn’t carry my team.

  27. Seahawks2620 says:

    Regardless of what happens today, i don’t feel like coming back to a bunch of negative Nancy’s after this game. We should feel proud of how much the Hawks have grown this second half of the season, regardless of the outcome.

  28. no Duke, my buddy has our tickets today. Lucky stiff. The Clink will be rocking!

  29. Questions for today —

    1. How badly does Carroll want to beat Harbaugh? How badly does Harbaugh want to beat Carroll?

    2. How badly do the Seahawks want to prove they are the tougher team? How badly do the 49ers want to prove they are the tougher team?

    3. What’s the over/under for concussions in this game? I’ll take the over.

  30. Palerydr says:

    1 A lot/A lot
    2 A lot/A lot
    3 3

  31. bird_spit says:

    Duke, I just want some mis-direction.. I think Hawks tend to run between the guards a lot, which I absolutely think is awesome. But, a run defense like the 9’ers will just load the box. Therefore, I think this game will be on the back of Jackson to win. Also, they need to find a forgotten page in the play book. Show the Niners something they have not seen up till now.

    Play smash mouth all day..I m good with that. But maybe, pass on first down. Throw to our RBs…put Washington on a wide four receiver sets… Run an option where Jackson thinks run first.. I want the D confused, or weighting the back leg as Marshawn runs up the gut.

  32. I won’t be surprised if Carroll and Harbaugh throw in some trick plays. I doubt they’ll make any difference, but I don’t put it past these guys to do that just to mess with each other.

  33. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Seahawks2620- I think most of the negative Nancy’s left when they realized the Seahawks were not going to tank it for Luck like the Colts have imo.

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