Seahawks Insider

Morning links: 5 keys for Hawks vs. 49ers

Post by Eric Williams on Oct. 18, 2012 at 9:22 am with 50 Comments »
October 18, 2012 9:42 am
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) runs against San Francisco 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown (25) in an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Good morning. They weather is perfect down here in San Francisco. It’s expected to get up to 84 degrees today, and skies will be sunny and clear at game time. So weather should not be a factor today.

Here’s five keys for the Seahawks as they take on NFC West division rival San Francisco.

Big Boy football: The Seahawks are going to have to be physical, because I expect this game to be a knock-down, heavyweight fight with big hits all over the place. The Niners got whipped last week against the Giants, and are going to try and take over the game from the opening kickoff. So Seattle has to match that intensity early in the game, and then get into a rhythm and start making plays.

A heavy dose of Rice: Seattle receiver Sidney Rice did not play against the Niners last season because of injuries, and I think if San Francisco does have a weakness defensively, it’s in the secondary. I expect that Rice will have some good matchups because San Francisco’s linebackers will be so concerned with stopping the run. So like Seattle has done the past few weeks, expect Russell Wilson to take some shots down the field to Rice.

Avoid the turnover bug: In what I expect to be a low scoring game, possessions will be precious. The Seahawks have a -3 turnover differential on the road, so it’s no surprise they are 1-2 in those contests. Not only is it important for Seattle to take care of the ball on offense, but also to take advantage of opportunities the team has to get the ball on defense. Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor have missed chances at game-changing interceptions this season.

A special night for special teams: The last time Seattle played down here, the difference in the game was two returns for touchdowns by Ted Ginn Jr. That can’t happen today. Seattle has been doing a great job covering kicks and punts so far this season, and that has to continue. Along with that, Leon Washington needs another solid game to help give Seattle’s offense good field position.

Make Alex Smith beat you: The Niners have the top running offense in the league, averaging 176.8 yards a game. But Seattle’s only allowing 70 yards a contest, which is No. 2 in the league. Something has to give, right? I expect Seattle will do a decent job against the run, which means San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith will have to make some plays in the passing game. Smith consistently made those plays last year, which is one of the reasons the Niners finished 13-3. But he did not do that last week against the Giants, when he was sacked six times and threw three interceptions.

Here’s my advance for today’s game. Pete Carroll had this to say about his team’s contest on the road this afternoon: “We need to play well on the road again. We did a good job in Carolina getting out of there with a win, and we need to do the right things and not make mistakes and put ourselves in difficult situations on the road.

“(The 49ers) are really good at home in making you do that, so it’s a big challenge for us. We’ve played much better at home than we have on the road. We’ve taken care of the football better and all of that stuff. We need to get that done in this game.”

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times offers some things to watch in today’s contest.

Clare Farnsworth of says the Hawks-Niners contest is a chance for one of the teams to make a statement: “It’s going to be a dogfight brawl,” veteran linebacker Leroy Hill said. “And we know that.”

Jim Moore of 710 ESPN Seattle picks San Francisco over Seattle, 13-9.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports writes that they might not be household names, but after studying the Seahawks defense on tape, there is no denying the talent. Prisco: “Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane is a force. He has brute strength and the lateral quickness of a man much smaller.”

Bucky Brooks of expects a physical battle between two tough teams in Seattle and San Francisco. writes that Seattle faces its toughest test yet in this preview of the game.

John Breech of CBS Sports notes in his game preview notes that San Francisco under Jim Harbaugh have been impressive after losses. In four regular-season losses before Sunday, San Francisco outscored its opponents 93-11 in its following game.

Check out Michael Robinson mic’d up for the Patriots game last week in this video link.

Matt Maiocco of highlights Patrick Willis vs. Marshawn Lynch as one of his key matchups of today’s game.

Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee says San Francisco’s special teams units are missing Michael Robinson.

Morning links
Leave a comment Comments → 50
  1. I would say shut down Gore and make Alex Smith throw down feild as the #1 way for the Hawks to get a W. I don’t know if We are going to be able to do deep on the 9ers like we did against NE and I’m not sure I trust Wilson with the short to intermediate passes. I say smash it with Lynch and force Alex Smith to make more mostakes then us.

  2. NWPoseidon says:

    My only key to the game: WAR HAWKS!

  3. chrisj122 says:

    I’m not even try to give my so-called keys to win the game this week.

    Last week I had 4 key things the Hawks must do to win. They were only successful on 1 of my 4 keys but still won regardless.

    I would rather be way off and wrong on my “key” things to win than too have the Hawks lose.

    So screw what people say or think the Hawks must do to win, JUST WIN!!

  4. Tonight is the biggest game for the Seahawks in years, bigger than the Rams Division Title game a few years ago where they won but they really lost. A win here represents one of the biggest non playoff wins for the franchise. A loss here and we are all wondering where this team really stands.

    Their haven’t been many times in franchise history where the Seahawks have won a big home game and then went on the road to beat an elite team. The 1983 Miami playoff game is the only one that comes to mind.

  5. Also, if the opportunity presents itself, gets some points up (or at least try) on the drive before halftime. It seems like every game they get the ball with about 2min left and they dink around wasting time like they don’t even care to even shoot for a feild goal, I don’t get it.

  6. Yeah, the is a must win for the Hawks. I don’t think we can get to the playoffs if we start off with an 0-3 division record, 3-3 in the division if we win out, I don’t know if that cuts it.

  7. Looking ahead…… we have a nice little advantage coming out of this game. Our next opponent (Detroit Lions) play Monday night on the road in Chicago. We will have four extra days to prepare and get healthy before the Lions game.

  8. I don’t think it’s a must win for the Hawks – sitting at 4-3 going into the second half of the season is not the end of the world. Yes, we’ve lost in the division, but we will get all of these teams again at home.

    I’m actually more worried about Smith and the pass game than I am about Gore. I don’t think there’s a team in the league that will kill us w/their ground game this year. If we let Smith get into a rhythm, then the Niners can put up enough points to beat us, with that defense of theirs.

    My other worry is our offense against their defense – this will pretty obviously be the biggest test they face. We’ll see how RW deals. If we can somehow get a steady ground game going, that will be a huge key to winning.

    Jon Ryan and Leon are also important guys tonight, field position/special teams could be a place where we win this game. If we start our possessions inside our own 20, you know we’ll go very conservative on the playcalling, and SF will eat that up.

  9. “A loss here and we are all wondering where this team really stands.”

    I’m not going to freak out if we don’t win this one. To me, after the beatdown they just took, and where they think they stand in the pecking order of the league, this is much more of a must-win game for SF. To me, wins over GB and NE, have already solidified my mindset of where this team stands. We are a team on the rise. We’ve put together an often-dominant defense, and have a rookie QB who will have his ups and downs, but has shown his ability to be great on occasion.

    A win on the road at SF, if we can get it, is a huge bonus.

  10. I don’t think its a must win either.

    As others have said (pdway just above) we get all of the NFC West to play one more time at C Link. And I think with Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and Bruce Irvine being rookies, we will get stronger as the season progresses.

  11. Ewalters7354 says:

    This game scares the heck outta me.Just one slip up and things can get reak ugly.Most discredit the team saying they don’t have a QB.But this is truly an elite team.

  12. Not a must win. You can go 0-6 in your division and still win it. You just gotta have one more win than everybody else.

  13. You don’t think the 9ers and Hawks will have similar records and it will come down to tie breakers, even with other NFC teams.

  14. Tru….. I think there is a good chance that the Hawks and 49ers have similar records at the end of the year. But we still have the 3 games at C Link to play the 49ers, Cardinals and Rams to even up our divisional records.

    Its (obviously) huge if we can win this game, but our season isn’t over if we lose it.

  15. sluggo42 says:

    It is an important game for sure, with regards to this season. Not as much in the big picture, but a win would really put us into the top 5, perhaps the top 3, and definately above the teams we have alreasy beat, but who are still ranked above us is some polls.

    I am quite sure that their game plan will be pretty much the same as ours. Bottle up the run game and make the other QB beat you. It’s as simple as that. I’m guessing they figure ASmith is better than RW.

    Play action will be key, and IF Beaastmode and the Kraaken get going, then RW will gouge them. Last week was the beginning of the legend, this game will just add to it.

  16. In one of the stories above it said that the Seahawks have scored first in all 6 of their games this year! Wow, I wonder if that has ever happened before? I’d be surprised if it has.

  17. Yeah, whats up with that? The offence looks terrific in the first two series and in the 4th quarter, but in between the offence is AWOL.

  18. HeinieHunter says:

    Finally, we have a real NFC rivalry! I hate SF and their coach and want the Hawks to wipe the floor with them. Since the old AFC West days, when the hated Raiders played the Hawks, we have not really had anything but “contrived” rivalries. Not anymore! The Niners are a team you can hate. Tonight’s game is going to have the intensity of a “hatchet fight”. No matter who wins, this will fuel the fire. Players, coaches, and fans… love loss. Been missing this intensity!

  19. chrisj122 says:

    I don’t really view this as a must win but if we lose we need to run the table against our NFC West mo-foes at home. Lol..

    Not a must win but darn it would feel great to go down there and take one from the 9ers in their house in front of their fans on a prime time game!

  20. Yeah, in all those AFC West years we played the 49rs almost every year it seemed like in preseason and they killed us.

    That Matt Barrows story about M. Rob is good.

  21. tacomahawk73 says:

    lol. I love some of these posts. “To hell with keys to the game, if the hawks can just score more points and win, they’ll definitely come away with a win” (paraphrasing of course).

    I agree with pdway and the others; yes this is a huge game, but we shouldn’t be too quick to jump off the ledge if we happen to come away with a loss. As long as the Seahawks compete hard and Wilson continues to grow, all would not be lost.

  22. A win here and we and “the national media” can legitimately call this team a Top 2 NFC team.

  23. Dukeshire says:

    “…where they won but they really lost.” What on earth does this mean?

    If by making Smith beat you, it’s meant that Seattle ought to run more base sets than normal, then I agree. But I would not support a defensive scheme that stacks the box. SF is too balanced and Smith (surprisingly) is playing too well for that to be an effective strategy, IMO.

  24. Ewalters7354 says:

    If the hawks were playing a team outside the division I can understand it not being a so called much win.But EVERY game is must win inside the division.

  25. Screensmoke says:

    T hawk73- Good point ! We are playing an incredible defensive team in frisco. The team with fewer mistakes wins the game.I really think it’s that simple.

  26. GooseRocks says:

    Heath Evans is a tool. I can’t believe The NFL Network hired him. It’s like he’s tripping over his tongue trying to talk so fast to argue his point (against the Seahawks). Not sure I can watch the two hour pregame if him and Faulk are on it.

  27. orbeavhawk says:



  28. orbeavhawk says:

    WHOOPS! TURBAN not TUBAN…….hee hee! Pre-Game excitement!

  29. Seems like priority #1 is stopping Gore, but right behind that is stopping VD. If he has a good game we are just as screwed as Gore running wild on us.

  30. FleaFlicker says:

    No NFC West has beaten SF in their house since 2008.

    That fact alone makes me nervous as all hell about this game. A win tonight would be more than huge.

  31. This game is an absolute must win. Moreso since the Hawks need the division win, but also to build momentum for a playoff run. If they win this game it sets the tone and the team expectations for the rest of the season that the Seahawks are for real.

    If the Hawks win this, coming off 3 days from the last game, it is huge. If they win this game, they can win any game from here on out, no matter who, where or when.

  32. “Seems like priority #1 is stopping Gore, but right behind that is stopping VD.”

    I have always been a big believer in stopping VD.

  33. hawkfaninoklahoma says:

    27-15 rice/tate 2 td D 1 td 2 FG i think the hawks own the 9ers tonight

  34. If “bobbyk” shows up on the live chat tonight, it ain’t me!

  35. LOL Vegas56…nice!

  36. hawkfaninoklahoma says:

    lol will remember that bobby have a great nite

  37. FairbanksDoug says:

    I don’t think of this as a “must win”, just more of a “need to win” game. This short week I think is more to our benefit then to SF’s even though our travel time is involved. One of the things that makes the Seahawks so good in my opinion is they study their opponent so much . I believe our veteran players had the bulk of what they needed to study of their opponent done before the season even started. When Earl was going to watch film before the season started I bet he spent a lot of time watching Alex Smith, as those two loses last year left a bad taste in his mouth as it did mine. I don’t see them being as studious, it’s more of a job to them, our guys love this game a bit more I think. I think our defense has been ready to open a can of whoop ass on SF since opening day. Now it s if Russel can hold up his end and get a few points. I believe he will surprise them.

  38. The moneyline pays out 3x I have been told.

    For entertainment purposes only, of course.

  39. Dukeshire says:

    It’s more than that. Line is at Seattle +9 and +340 ML at Hilton. It’s moved two points in the last 2 hours. That is a lot of money going to SF.

  40. Palerydr says:

    Someone posted earlier that the game will be on Joe TV however their web site says no? Can anybody confirm this? thanks.

  41. Palerydr says:

    Dohh! just called the station no game gonna have to hit the local watering hole as I don’t want to pay for NFL network.

  42. I’m going to echo Duke’s concern from the last thread – I’m also worried that there will be an inevitable letdown after the big, last-minute win over NE, and we will come out flatter than SF, for whom this really is kind of a must-win, re-establish themselves as a contender, kind of game.

    Not an excuse – just a worried feeling of how it might play out early. Bottom line, if we do win this one, I’ll be hugely impressed with our guys.

  43. Petey looks exhausted in his interview with Mooch.

  44. NFL Network just said that John Ryan had a 60yd avg punting last week.
    The best performance in the NFL since 1946.
    How did that story get missed?

  45. This feels like one of those games that is decided by a defensive or special teams score.

  46. Wow, it’s almost game time and I am stoked for this game. My two key players will be the two rookies…Bobby Wagner on defense…and Russell Wilson on offense. I think Harbaugh will throw the kitchen sink at both of them and attempt to get them into making some simple mistakes. We shall see, but I think this team has rallied the troops and they are ready for this game!

    As for Vegas…giving Seattle 9 points…I hate to say it…but if I was there…I would be putting a Ben Franklin on the Hawks!

    I hope PC keeps the game wide open on both offense and defense at let these guys play! Go Hawks!

  47. GeorgiaHawk says:

    If “bobbyk” shows up on the live chat tonight, it ain’t me!

    IF Bobbyk” shows up on the live chat tonight, it could be bbnate420.

    Just kidding! Really I think it would be Dukeshire. Lol.

  48. freedom_X says:

    According to a place Mike Sando cites on the ESPN NFC West blog (“Beyond the Bets”), teams coming off a 21 pt or greater loss, then coming into the next game as favorites, are 73-76-4 against the spread. Potentially this is because oddsmakers try to take that “bounce-back”, revenge thing into account.

    I’m not sure that it has any effect. If a team wins big, does that make them complacent in their next game?

  49. Keys:

    1) Stuff Frank Gore

    2) Frustrate Vernon Davis

    3) Force Alex Smith to try and beat you without Gore and Davis.

    4) Sack, Fumble, Pick-6, Win.

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