Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

49ers Notebook: Bosa, Niners “have a good idea” how to beat Seahawks; McCaffrey trade sent a message; Seattle’s improvement

Jan 10, 2023 at 2:32 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers are facing the Seattle Seahawks for the third time this season and only the second time in playoff history. The advantage of facing an opponent multiple times is that you know what to expect. The 49ers believe that rematches typically come down to which team executes better.

San Francisco has won 10 consecutive games to finish the season 13-4, owning the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. The players have a lot of confidence entering this rematch against a familiar NFC West foe but know there are areas where they can improve.

Is it challenging to beat the same team three times in one season?

"I'd say it is true just because every team is really good, and there's always a chance that they can beat you," defensive end Nick Bosa told reporters on Tuesday. "So the more times you play, the more chance they have to beat you."

Does that mean the talented pass rusher is concerned about the upcoming elimination game against the Seahawks?

Bosa said, "I'd say, a little earlier, we've put on some pretty good performances, so we have a good idea of how to beat them."

McCaffrey trade sent a message

Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk was among the many 49ers players who were surprised when news broke that the team had traded for star running back Christian McCaffrey. Aiyuk's phone exploded with incoming texts of the news as the receiver sat at home, playing video games.

The trade for such a high-profile player sent shockwaves across the NFL. Some wonder if the move sparked the 49ers' 10-game win streak. Would the team be in the position it is now without the trade?

In October, Aiyuk had heard the rumors linking McCaffrey to his team. He wasn't buying them, though.

"You just have a feeling when it seems realistic to get a player or not," Aiyuk said. "It just didn't seem that way. So when we got him, it was a big shock."

What kind of message did the McCaffrey trade send to the 49ers locker room?

"That we weren't playing around," Aiyuk responded. "That this is the season. If not now, then when?"

Purdy's inexperience

While everyone is quick to point out the fantastic job that quarterback Brock Purdy has done during his rookie campaign, everyone inside the 49ers locker room has forgotten he is a first-year player.

"Yeah, we stopped thinking about it that way five weeks ago," tackle Mike McGlinchey said. "As soon as he got into the game, he was our guy, and no matter what you are as a rookie, five-year vet, 1-year vet, it doesn't matter. If you're the starting quarterback, you have to do the starting quarterback's job, and that's what he's done to an unbelievable degree."

Purdy finished the regular season with a 67.1 completion percentage, passing for 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns, and four interceptions. With the help of a top-ranked defense and playmakers all around him on offense, he is in a position to help guide the 49ers far into the playoffs, maybe even to Glendale, Arizona.

Seahawks now vs. Week 15

The 49ers aren't looking at this weekend's game as having to beat the Seahawks for a third time. They only have to beat them once more—on Saturday. Just as the team never looked beyond its next opponent during the regular season, it isn't harping on the past either.

"Everything that's behind us doesn't matter, and it's a one-game season right now," head coach Kyle Shanahan said. "So we've got to beat them this week, one time, and that will allow us to move to next week."

What's different now compared to December 15, when the 49ers and Seahawks last clashed?

"Their defense over the last month, I think they're the seventh-ranked defense over the last four games, so they've been keeping people out of the end zone," Shanahan said. "I think they're sixth on third down, so they've been getting off the field too. Their offense has been running the ball better here in this last month. I think they're ranked sixth in running the ball over this four-game stretch.

"So they're playing pretty good right now, as good as they have been all year, and turning on the tape, they're a better team than they were four weeks ago, and it's not a surprise to me that they're in this position."

Bosa added, "They're good players. They're going to be really good for them. But we've just kind of have to start fast and not give them hope."

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