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Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

49ers-Seahawks: Trent Williams, Kendrick Bourne expect level playing field minus the 12th Man

Oct 28, 2020 at 3:41 PM--

The Seattle Seahawks fans at CenturyLink Field, known as the 12th Man, have always significantly influenced home games, creating a hostile environment for opposing teams. The San Francisco 49ers typically have to dedicate a lot of time preparing for the noise while facing their division rivals in the Great Northwest.

This season is different.

The Seahawks announced on October 22 that fans would not be allowed to attend the Week 8 matchup against the 49ers at CenturyLink Field due to continued concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. That makes things a whole lot easier for Kyle Shanahan's squad, which won't have to deal with silent counts or distractions from the stands.

"Yeah, I think this year, playing on the road has gotten a ton easier," Williams told KNBR's John Lund and Greg Papa on Wednesday, "just not having to deal with opposing fans no matter where you go, especially in places like Seattle, where that fanbase basically has just as much effect on the game as anybody on the field.

"So yeah, it's going to be nice going up there and just playing a game, and that stadium (being) pretty silent. Even if they did pump noise in, it would be nowhere near to the sound that those fans would bring."

This season is Williams' first with San Francisco, and it will be his first matchup between the 49ers and Seahawks. The rivalry always brings out a little extra from the two fanbases. Fourth-year wide receiver Kendrick Bourne is all too familiar with playing Seattle in front of its passionate fanbase.

"The 12, obviously what they say is for sure a big key to their success," Bourne told reporters on Wednesday. "But I think it's just going to be like another game. With the COVID rules, we've already been dealing with it being quiet in there. It kind of has a practice feel. Each game has a practice feel. I feel like it's going to be easier for us to communicate, relay calls, and stuff like that.

"It's just going to be an advantage for us to not have to hear so much crowd noise on third-and-short or whatever it may be. So, just get the plays in and make them happen."

None of that should be a factor on Sunday afternoon when the two teams clash. Maybe Williams lucked out by not having to endure the full experience in his first 49ers-Seahawks matchup.

"I think it evens the playing field," Williams added. "That's one of the disadvantages about being on the road is that you and that defensive end are essentially on the same snap count. He knows when the ball is coming. You know when the ball is coming.

"It evens it out. It makes pass-blocking a ton harder if you're looking at the ball for the first half-second of the play. If you're going against an elusive guy, his position can change in that half-second by the time you get your eyes back out there. It's extremely challenging, and I'm kind of glad I don't have to deal with it this year."

You can listen to the entire interview with Williams below.

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