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Niner Talk Bonus: Trench Battle in Seattle

Posted Jan 15, 2014

This week's Niner Talk Bonus looks at the upcoming battle in the trenches this week in Seattle.

For a third consecutive year, the 49ers find themselves one game away from the Super Bowl.

To get there, however, San Francisco will need to go into a hostile Seattle environment and come away with a victory. This week's bonus round of "Niner Talk" touches on the questions that just missed out on being featured in our weekly video mailbag.

Let's get right to them.

I've been studying weather reports all morning. Still have no idea if it will rain. I think it would help Seattle slightly because they pracitce and play in it more frequently than San Francisco. The 49ers might have one rainy practice every season in Santa Clara, whereas the Seahawks have an indoor practice facility to avoid rainy conditions during the week.

When it's all said and done on Sunday, weather won't matter. The "chance at the ultimate chance" is on the line for both teams. Plus, the 49ers proved they can play in any weather condition with a tough road win in Green Bay to start the postseason. If Jim Harbaugh's team can compete in the blistering cold, why can't they compete in the rain?

I see no reason why they can't.


Just kidding. I'm sure there will be greaer attention to hand signals and non-verbal communication this week. There has to be. The team will practice with loud music blaring in the background. But they do that for every road game. It's worth noting that the line of scrimmage communication appeared to go without a hitch last week in Carolina. It was loud, but it wasn't Seattle-loud.

This week is a whole different animal. That being said, this team has played in the environment so there won't be any shock once the game starts going.

Keep doing what they’re doing, let the pads do the talking.

The 49ers offensive line plays with a high level of confidence without bragging or boasting about their accomplishments. Harbaugh, however, did some of that for them on Monday.

"I felt really good about the offensive line, in particular the way they seemed to grow stronger as the game went on," the 49ers coach said while addressing the unit's performance against the Panthers. "I thought they played extremely well."

For the offensive line to keep Seattle's relentless defense away from "Kap," it will require the same approach the line used for last week's matchup in Carolina. The Panthers led the NFL with 60 sacks in the regular season and they were only able to sack Colin Kaepernick one time in the game.

Perhaps Joe Staley said it best. "This is not our first rodeo," the three-time Pro Bowl left tackle said on Tuesday. Staley's comments illustrate the state of mind of the 49ers maulers up front. Confident, not cocky.

It's a big game, so year, that's very much a possibility. Harbaugh praised the rookie wide receiver for making big plays on the big stage. We saw it with his deep sideline reception against the Arizona Cardinals to set up a game-winning field goal in Week 17. We also saw it in a different way last week. Patton made an excellent block at the point of attack on Kaepernick's 4-yard touchdown run.

I don't necessarily expect the 49ers to use many three-receiver sets against Seattle's No. 1 passing defense, but Patton will likely see the field and when he does, he'll continue to spark this team.

The 49ers have to keep Russell Wilson in the pocket. If Seattle's quarterback breaks contain, he's able to make plays with his legs and chuck the ball downfield. That's not what the 49ers want at all.

If Wilson is kept in the pocket it's tougher for him to throw over the top of the offensive and defensive linemen. The tall trees will be in his way.

San Francisco had success in limiting Cam Newton's running last week, but the Panthers quarterback is different than Wilson. Newton is more of a power-running quarterback. Wilson is more of a scrambler. You won't see any quarterback power calls from Seattle this week.

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