Kyle Shanahan says Nick Mullens will start vs. Giants, provides George Kittle, other 49ers injury updates →
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports


Three Keys for Success: Pass Rush, Ball Control, Special Teams

Bret Rumbeck
Sep 17, 2017 at 7:28 AM0



The San Francisco 49ers enter Dante's unmentioned level of Hell today. It's a soul-crushing colosseum of dark blue, neon green, and the number '12' flying on flags or sewn on jerseys. Fans entering the arena dress as comic book characters and blow their vocal cords out for no apparent reason.

Welcome, my friends, to Century Link Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks.

For whatever reason, Seattle has had the 49ers' number for the last few years. No matter how immortal the 49ers were feeling, the Seahawks could find the weak point in the 49ers and abuse it. This week, Seattle is coming off a stinging loss to Green Bay and playing its first game of the 2017 season at home.

The 49ers may not win this game, but here are three ways they can hang with Seattle.

Exploit Seattle's Offensive Line


Have you noticed the new buzz about Seattle's 'legendary' defense? Indeed, its defense is what helped bring the city its first Lombardi trophy a few years ago. The Seahawks' public relations team is wagging the defensive dog because the team failed, once again, to invest in quality offensive linemen.

In Week One, Seattle's pass-blocking efficiency was 68.2, ranking them 24th among all offensive lines according to Pro Football Focus.

This year, the 49ers have a raw defensive line, but those men are ready for battle. Despite a rough opening week, I'm convinced the defensive line can anchor the 49ers this season.

Now is the time for defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to unleash the talent and potential of his front four. He must bring constant pressure to Seattle's offense, and keep quarterback Russell Wilson on the move.

Here's a key point: Wilson loves rolling to his right. He's like any right-handed quarterback: it's easier to roll right, reset his feet, and throw on the run. It takes real ability to move left and be successful.

Saleh needs to force Wilson out of the pocket, and send him left where he has trouble throwing across his body and completing passes.

Don't Worry About a Big Offensive Play


Seattle's defense prides itself on shutting down All-Pro receivers and tight ends. Teams often refuse to throw to certain sides of the formation if Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman is there.

But there are flaws in Seattle's defense, and the 49ers can utilize one by throwing short, quick passes to receivers, backs and tight ends. Seattle wants teams to try and throw deep on it for two reasons.

  1. Seattle's defensive backs want to make a play, whether an interception or a big hit.
  2. Its defensive line disrupts the pocket, severely limiting the time a quarterback has to read his deep progressions. It does not allow enough time to make a good read, resulting in an incomplete pass or an interception.

Offensive coordinators get too greedy and want to test Seattle's defense. Don't bother as we all know the outcome.

Today, head coach and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan needs to employ a passing attack that asks receivers to run shorter routes – think slants, quick outs, or slant-flat combinations.

This game plan is how the Patriots beat Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX. Quarterback Tom Brady threw the ball 50 times, averaging 6.3 yards per pass play. They chewed their way downfield with a short pass attack, especially in the fourth quarter.

The 49ers' offense must sustain long drives and control the ball through the air today.

The short game has another advantage: It bores Seattle's crowd. Its fans feed on the big hits and turnovers. If the 49ers are pushing Seattle's defense back slowly and methodically, the crowd is going to get bored. It'll stop that incessant screaming and decide to get a fresh beer.

Please note the 49ers haven't had much of a problem with the crowd. It's an overblown theory. Sure it's loud, but since 2010, the 49ers have only committed six false start penalties while in the unfriendly confines of Century Link Field.

Get a Special Teams Score


Gentle Reader, I'm going to add special teams performance as a key to winning games for the 2017 49ers.

Today, more than ever, the 49ers need a touchdown from a punt or kick return. They cannot rely on the offense to put up 30 points and have to start improving the return game.

Imagine for a moment the deafening silence from the Seattle crowd if Victor Bolden, Jr. or Trent Taylor can take a kick 90 yards to the opposite end zone. It's an immediate momentum shift and can get the 49ers right back in the game.

I'll be covering today's game for the good people at 49ers Webzone, so be sure to keep Twitter and your Facebook page turned our direction!
  • Bret Rumbeck
  • Written by:
    Bret Rumbeck has been writing about the 49ers since 2017 for 49ers Webzone and 49ers Hub. He is a Turlock, CA native, and has worked for two members of the US House of Representatives and one US Senator. When not breaking down game film, Bret spends his time seeking out various forms of heavy metal. Feel free to follow him or direct inquiries to @brumbeck.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


0 Comments

  • No Comments

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



ESPN ranks three 49ers among the most impactful injuries from Week 2, with Nick Bosa at No. 1

By David Bonilla
Sep 21, 2020

Bill Barnwell of ESPN ranked the most impactful injuries that emerged from Week 2's slate of NFL games. At the top of the list was second-year defensive end Nick Bosa, who is believed to have suffered a torn ACL. That would mean an end to his season. "Bosa, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft, was one of the biggest additions to the 49ers' defense when coordinator Robert Saleh's unit took a step forward last season," wrote Barnwell. "He played a full season, racking up nine sacks and 25 hits before adding four more sacks in the postseason. Bosa would have been a viable Super Bowl MVP selection if the

Read the Full Article


49ers finalizing one-year deal for pass rusher Ziggy Ansah, per report

By David Bonilla
Sep 21, 2020

The third time's a charm. That's how many attempts the San Francisco 49ers have made to bring on board former Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks defensive end Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah. He last visited with the team on September 15 but left Santa Clara without a contract after the two sides reportedly could not agree on the numbers. The 49ers are finalizing a one-year deal for Ansah, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. The veteran pass rusher flew to the East Coast to meet the team and must pass a new round of COVID-19 testing before he can join his new

Read the Full Article


49ers vs Cardinals: Five Keys to Victory and Score Prediction

By Matt Andruscavage
Sep 11, 2020

Week 1 of the 2020 season is upon us! It's been just over seven months since the San Francisco 49ers suffered a heart-breaking defeat in the Super Bowl to the Kansas City Chiefs. This offseason has been branded "The Revenge Tour" and after several moves, the 49ers are ready to take that first step towards their ultimate goal of a sixth Super Bowl championship. Up first are the Arizona Cardinals, who made plenty of moves of their own by drafting linebacker Isaiah Simmons and trading for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Kyler Murray enters into his second season and figures to lead the Cardinals to another improved season in the difficult NFC West. In both meetings last season, the Cardinals gave the Niners all they could handle, but Jimmy Garoppolo was able to lead

Read the Full Article

Featured

More Featured Stories

More by Bret Rumbeck

All Articles by Bret Rumbeck

More Articles

All Articles
Share 49erswebzone