Sunday’s game against the NFC’s best team, Seattle Seahawks is a must-win game for the San Francisco 49ers. The last couple meetings between the rivals have been absolutely dominated by the Seahawks, outscoring the 49ers, 71-16, including a week 2 drubbing, 29-3. Both of these games were in Seattle where the 49ers have struggled the last couple years. This game is in the friendly confines of Bill Walsh Field and Candlestick Park where the 49ers offense will not have to deal with deafening noise. The key to victory on Sunday is to win the turnover battle, which is exactly why the Seahawks have dominated at home.
Last season against the Seahawks, the 49ers split, winning at home and losing on the road. In their matchup in San Francisco last season, the 49ers won 13-6 in a Thursday Night tilt where Alex Smith led the 49ers to victory. Each team turned the ball over once but the 49ers defense overwhelmed Russell Wilson into his worst game as a pro. Wilson completed only 9 of 23 for 122 yards, was sacked twice and picked off once.
In the matchup in Seattle later in the season, the Seahawks dominated winning 42-13. Wilson bounced back from their earlier matchup, throwing for 4 touchdowns and an interception. Colin Kaepernick, now the quarterback with the 49ers, actually threw for more yardage with 244 yards, one touchdown and an interception. The Seahawks won the turnover battle, 2-1 and Richard Sherman blocked a field goal and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown, putting the Seahawks up 21-0. Both of the turnovers were costly to the 49ers with Kaepernick throwing a pick to Sherman in the red zone and Mario Manningham fumbling while tearing his ACL, ending his season.
This season in week 2 on Sunday Night, the Seattle defense won the turnover battle again. The Seahawks won 29-3, forcing five turnovers and a safety to the 49ers one forced turnover. Kaepernick had his worst game of the season, throwing three interceptions and fumbling once. Wilson was not much better but he did not have to be since his defense continued to give him great position throughout the game. Once again, Kaepernick threw another interception in the red zone, which could have given the 49ers an early lead in the game, possibly taking the crowd out of it.
The key for Sunday’s game is for Kaepernick not to make any mistakes. He can not throw any interceptions or fumble if the 49ers want a chance to win this game. The offensive line must give Kaepernick time to throw, which will be much easier with Joe Staley playing on Sunday, despite a sprained MCL. Aldon Smith and Justin Smith along with the rest of the defense must get pressure on Wilson and force some errant throws to allow their secondary to make plays. They need to stop the run and make the Seahawks one-dimensional by making Wilson beat them. If the 49ers can do all accomplish these goals, they should win the turnover battle in a must-win game against Seattle and give the Seahawks something to think about going into the postseason.
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