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It was another disastrous night in Seattle for the 49ers as they failed to get anything going against a Seahawks' team that looked every bit their superior. In the last two meetings at CenturyLink Field, the 49ers have been outscored 71-16 after last night's 29-3 route. Here's what 49er fans are talking about after week 2.
The main staple of the 49ers' offense under Jim Harbaugh has been the running game. The team has rushed for over 2,000 yards in both 2011 (2044) and 2012 (2491). They averaged an outstanding 5.1 yards per carry last year which was third best in the league behind only Washington and Minnesota. So far this season, whether it has been by design or because of what the game dictated, the 49ers have abandoned that philosophy.
In the first two games of 2013, 49er running backs have carried the ball 38 times for only 81 yards (2.1 yards per carry). They were especially dismal against the Seahawks, only getting 11 attempts for 13 yards. While Frank Gore seemed like an after thought in the offense, Kendall Hunter rarely even saw the field which was perplexing.
Even though the final score was lopsided, the 49ers were still in the game well into the 3rd quarter. It may have been a good idea to keep trying the run and pound a little on a Seahawk defensive front that was dominating the offensive line. Instead, the Seahawks were able to pin their ears back and chase Kaepernick all night. One should also wonder if the 49ers would be better off taking some snaps from under center next week in an effort to jump start Gore and company. Whether it's the shutgun formation or not, everyone just looks uncomfortable right now.
CenturyLink Field has been a house of horrors for Kaepernick so far early in his career. In two games in Seattle, Kaepernick has one touchdown pass and four interceptions. He has led his team on one touchdown drive and totaled only 16 total points in those two loses. Against the rest of the league (in the regular season) he is 6-1 with 12 touchdown passes and only two interceptions.
Kaepernick never looked comfortable in the pocket Sunday and was as jittery as we've seen him in his young career. He seemed hesitant to throw the ball all night and didn't see a wide open Quinton Patton on a 3rd down play from inside the five yard line. That score would have made the game 12-7 instead of 12-3. While you can expect him to bounce back, there has to be at least a little concern that Seattle could be in his head at this point. It will be interesting to see how he plays against the Seahawks when he finally gets them at home in week 14.
You have to feel for a guy like Ian Williams who broke his ankle on what looked like a dirty (but legal) cut block. Williams worked his way up from the practice squad to win the starting nose tackle position and now his season is in jeopardy. Glenn Dorsey will replace Williams in the starting lineup moving forward which greatly impacts the 49ers' depth on the defensive line. Ray McDonald was also limping badly after the game but was walking on his own power. His health is imperative or the 49ers may have some issues up front.
Eric Reid's injury is also a scary one because concussions can linger. Ried did not return to the game after colliding with Sidney Rice and the 49ers will have to hope he progresses well throughout the week and will be available against the Colts. Reid has been very impressive so far and has an interception in each of the first two games.
Vernon Davis hurt his hamstring and also did not return to the game. If Davis is out for any extended period of time it greatly impacts what the 49ers can do offensively in the passing game. Davis seemed to be one of the few 49ers who was actually able to get some separation (albeit not often) on the Seahawk secondary.
There is no other way to put, Marshawn Lynch owns the 49ers. Lynch ran for 98 yards and scored three touchdowns (2 rushing, one receiving). He also added another 37 yards through the air including a big 35 yard gain when the defense completely lost him on a wheel route. The 49ers will have to find a way to contain Lynch moving forward or Russell Wilson will be able to make some big plays in the passing game consistently on a suspect 49er secondary.
Home field advantage
Week 2 is far too early to worry about home field advantage and what might happen in the playoffs. Injuries and other unexpected factors will happen during the course of a season and who knows if both teams will even be in the playoffs. One thing is certain though, the Seahawks are really tough to beat at home. If they do secure home field, the 49ers may have to exercise a lot of ghosts come January.
Big game blues
This loss was eerily similar to the Giants' game in week 6 of last season in the sense that it was a game the 49ers should have had circled and they failed to even show up. If not for fumbles that happened (Kyle Williams) and fumbles that should have been (NaVorro Bowman stripping Ahmad Bradshaw), the 49ers would have won the NFC championship in 2011. Instead of taking that out on the Giants when they met in 2012, they were blown out at home 26-3. In that game as well as week 2 against Seattle, 49er quarterbacks (Alex Smith against the Giants and Kaepernick last night) looked nervous and put the team in a bad position with turnovers and tentative play. Obviously, the loss to the Giants did not effect the 49ers in the long run last season, we'll see what the rest of this year brings.
The 49ers have a chance to rebound at home against a 1-1 Colts team that seems to have taken a step back from last season. They will need to find their identity on offense in an effort to get some balance in their attack. The defense may have to play a little light if Reid is unable to go which means there will be big plays to be had by Andrew Luck and company with Craig Dahl and Donte Whiter trying to keep pace on the back end. They may be in big trouble if McDonald is out as they are already light on the defensive line.