After four straight losses, the San Francisco 49ers actually played a decent game last week, beating the Baltimore Ravens, 25-20. The Niners led 16-6 at halftime and did just enough in the second half to hold on.
With Seattle (2-4) coming to town Thursday night, is it possible that the Niners (2-4) could actually play well in two straight games?
“Yeah, I think so because the second game is just like where the first game was: it’s at home,” Bay Area News Group 49ers reporter Cam Inman said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “If this game was in Seattle, then highly unlikely. But this team has had a lot of trouble on the road. They’re 0-3 on the road. Their two wins have come at home. They’re going to be fired up. I was looking at the schedule. If you look at the Niners’ schedule, they have a lot of playoff teams on there and they’ve hit a bunch of them already, but this is their marquee game of the season. If they can’t come out fired up and realizing (that), look, they’re 2-4, they can’t afford another loss, you got the Seahawks who are wounded, they’re coming in and if they pull this game out, that’s two wins in a row and they’re 3-4 in a division that’s not as strong as everybody thought it was – then they’ve got renewed life.”
The Niners/Seahawks series has not been kind to San Francisco in recent years. The Niners have lost five of six, they’ve been shut out three times in the fourth quarter and Colin Kaepernick has beaten them just once in his career. Even more alarming? The Niners haven’t broken the 20-point barrier against Seattle since 2011.
“They can’t score touchdowns,” Inman said. “They’ve got 10 touchdowns all season, and they’re going to have to put up some touchdowns the way their pass defense is playing. Russell Wilson, he’s going to escape this pass rush. It’s not as fierce of a pass rush and we all know what he can do. If those receivers find those soft spots in the Niners’ zone that every other team has found every game, then the Seahawks could finally put up some points. They’re not an offensive juggernaut right now either, but Jimmy Graham is going to be a mismatch whoever he’s lined up against, and (the Niners have) always had trouble stopping Marshawn Lynch. These last two years, he’s gone over 100 (rushing yards) every game. So they have not matched up well against the Seahawks. Every game it seems like this is how it goes: They’re able to get to Russell Wilson in the first half and shut him down. In the second half, the Seahawks put up points and the Niners disappear. They need to change that trend.”
That all starts with Kaepernick, who this season has been anywhere from atrocious (67 yards, four picks against Arizona) to stellar (340 yards, two touchdowns against Baltimore).
“Everybody knows his contract is year-to-year,” Inman said. “It’s almost like his future is on a week-to-week basis. He went into that season with that pressure on him – and then once things got to bad, it couldn’t have gotten worse. The 49ers changed up the offense a little bit, they got him under center, they got him moving a little bit where he could hit some short throws and get in a rhythm and then he could go deep. And the question is, is Seattle going to allow him to do that? Is he going to take those chances against a defense that’s owned him? Richard Sherman, he’s got four picks on him. He intercepts Kaepernick every year. He had two on him last year in that Thanksgiving game. If they put that one-on-one matchup and entice him to throw at Sherman, that’s exactly what (Sherman) wants. (Kaepernick is) going to have to use his brains to look and see if there’s somebody else that’s going to break open.”