The San Francisco 49ers have never suffered back-to-back defeats under Jim Harbaugh.
Following the team’s 26-3 defeat to the New York Giants, the 49ers coach has a simple message to rally his players for Thursday’s NFC West showdown with the Seattle Seahawks.
“Dust off – let’s ride,” Harbaugh said towards the end of his Monday press briefing. “We’ve got a football fight coming.”
Indeed, San Francisco faces a stiff test against the Seattle Seahawks, who join the 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals atop the NFC West with a 4-2 record.
“We’ve always looked at the next game as the most important game,” Harbaugh also pointed out.
Seattle enters Thursday’s nationally televised matchup on NFL Network with a lot of confidence coming from a 24-23 home victory over the New England Patriots.
“Good football team – tough football team,” Harbaugh said of the Seahawks, the first 49ers divisional opponent of 2012. “It’ll be a football fight Thursday night. They play hard, they play fast – really good defensively.”
Players inside the 49ers locker room instantly rallied around Harbaugh’s “dust off” message.
“What he means by that is, ‘Let it go - let’s get the next one,’” tight end
San Francisco’s second primetime matchup of 2012 also features the NFL’s No. 1 and No. 4 ranked defenses. The 49ers have allowed 275.8 yards per game, fewest in the NFL. Seattle, on the other hand, boasts the league’s fourth-best defense, allowing 294.7 yards per game.
Harbaugh pointed out Seattle’s defensive line as the key to the stellar defensive play. The Seahawks have allowed 15.5 points per game, second best in the league.
The matchup comes into greater focus this week with the 49ers offensive line potentially having to shuffle its starting lineup. After giving up six sacks to the Giants last week, the line might be without the services of Pro Bowl left tackle
Harbaugh said Staley would meet with a neurologist on Monday to determine the severity of the injury.
The 49ers coach said he was pleased with right guard
“I felt great,” Boone said of his brief action at left tackle. “It’s like riding a bike… For not playing the position in over the year, it was good, had a good feel.”
The 49ers still lead the NFL with 176.8 rushing yards per game, but the unit was held under the 100-yard mark for the second time this season. In both cases, the 49ers suffered defeats in Minnesota and again to New York.
No matter who gets the nod at left tackle and right guard, players remain confident with the team’s offensive line depth.
“This roster is deep,” Walker stressed. “We’ve got guys who can step up and play. We all have confidence in them. Boone and Davis did a great job at the end of the game. We’re confident in those guys getting it done.”
Even with players stepping up in unlikely roles, Harbaugh pointed out that the gameplan didn’t work out to the 49ers liking on Sunday. Asked about backup quarterback
Harbaugh also said he doesn’t view Kaepernick’s playing time as a slight on his starting quarterback,
“We feel like we’re getting plenty of everything from Alex Smith,” Harbaugh said.
That said, the 49ers put together successful drives in the first quarter and only had 3 points to show for it. The lack of initial production proved to be costly as New York put together 26 unanswered points following a 42-yard
Akers went on to miss two more field goals in the first half. Asked if he had concerns about his Pro Bowl kicker missing five of his last 10 attempts, Harbaugh scoffed at the notion and reiterated his full-confidence in the veteran kicker.
Harbaugh lamented the offensive execution more than anything.
“We had two good drives, two 12-play drives,” Harbaugh said. “We didn’t finish them the way we wanted to.”
In comeback mode for most of the second half,
“Every time you felt like you were getting momentum or seizing momentum,” Harbaugh said, “we weren’t able to keep a hold.”
The 49ers won’t spend too much time dwelling on the loss to New York. Players won’t watch the film together due to the shortened work week. Instead, they’ll get an overview of the game from the coaches and move on to Seattle immediately.
“We lost the ballgame,” Harbaugh said, reasoning the largest defeat of his NFL head coaching career. “We’ve just got to pick ourselves up and get right back at it.”
The challenge of facing Seattle for division supremacy is all that matters Monday morning.
“They’ve been doing well,” Walker said of the Seahawks. “They just got a good victory and that’s going to fuel us. We know we’re coming off a loss, we know we’re going to have to go hard against those guys. We know they always give us a good fight. Plus, it’s a Thursday night game so that always livens it up.”