Four Downs: Top Storylines When 49ers Visit the Seahawks

The 49ers and Seahawks have a long history, going back to 1976. Here are photos from their 38 meetings.

Our staff writers break down the San Francisco 49ers Week 2 matchup, a road game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Let's dive into the keys to the game in this "Four Downs" preview of the 49ers first road game, presented by SunPower.1st Down:Who scores the 49ers first touchdown?@Joe_Fann: George Kittle

Let's try this again after the 49ers failed to find the end zone in Week 1. I like the rookie tight end to score a red-zone touchdown in Seattle. Kittle is the clear No. 1 tight end in San Francisco having played 54-of-57 offensive snaps against the Carolina Panthers. He also had six targets in his NFL debut so he clearly has the trust of Pierre Garçon. When the 49ers get near the goal line, Kittle will be one of the best options in the passing game. Seattle has been succeptable to tight ends in the past and allowed three catches for 43 yards to Martellus Bennett in Week 1.

@KeianaMartinTV: Pierre Garçon

I'm going to double down on my answer from last week and stick with 49ers running back Carlos Hyde. Last year, Hyde rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns against the Seahawks, and he is the only player to reach 100 or more rushing yards at CenturyLink Field since 2015. With his history of success up north, I'd like to see a repeat performance from the fifth-year running back, and be the first 49ers player to get into the end zone in 2017.2nd Down: Which player needs to step up?

@Joe_Fann: Brian Hoyer

It all starts with the quarterback. The 49ers must find an offensive rhythm on the road in order to avoid an early deficit and take some of the pressure off of the defense. Hoyer will need to make quick reads against a talented Seattle front and remain mindful of the playclock amid the noise at CenturyLink Field. He threw for just 193 yards and had a pick in Week 1. Pre-snap penalties, drops and airant throws didn't help. Hoyer's numbers will have to improve if the 49ers are to win in Seattle.

@KeianaMartinTV: Marquise Goodwin

If you have followed any news of the 49ers this offseason, you know that Marquise Goodwin has been one of San Francisco's prominent performers. Just look back at his 46-yard touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings in the preseason. The Faithful are ready to re-witness the explosiveness of the former Olympian. Last week against the Panthers, Goodwin dropped a perfectly placed deep ball during the 49ers first possession of the game. That play had the potential shift the momentum of Sunday's contest. We've seen Goodwin make those explosive plays repeatedly throughout training camp. It's time for the 49ers receiver to awe fans again, but this time in the regular season.3rd Down: What is the game's top storyline?

@Joe_Fann: San Francisco's losing streak in Seattle

You know by now that the 49ers haven't won at CenturyLink Field since 2011. The worst part about the six-game losing streak is that all five regular season games have been decided by double digits. Four of those contests have had 15-point margins and two of them have been 20-point blowouts. Kyle Shanahan had two impressive showings against the Seahawks in 2016 with the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons offense put up 24 points on the Seahawks in Seattle last year. Everyone would love a win against the club's top division rival on Sunday, but a competitive game in the fourth quarter would be a nice start.

@KeianaMartinTV: Protecting the quarterback

Success on offense starts with protecting the quarterback. Last week against Carolina, Hoyer was sacked four times, one of which resulted in a sack fumble that put points on the board for the Panthers. Guard Laken Tomlinson, who could make his 49ers debut on Sunday, may offer aid to the San Francisco's struggling o-line.  The 49ers are coming off of one dominant defense in Carolina and right into another against Seattle, who sacked All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers four times in Week 1.4th Down: What is your bold prediction?

@Joe_Fann: 49ers intercept Russell Wilson twice

San Francisco hasn't picked off Wilson in its last three meetings against Seattle. That will likely have to change if the 49ers are to win on Sunday. The Seahawks offensive line had problems protecting Wilson in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers. My thinking is that if the 49es can get pressure on Wilson, they can force him into making a few poor decisions. The 49ers defense will need to be opportunistic as winning the turnover battle is crucial on Sunday.

@KeianaMartinTV:49ers defense gets three sacks and a forced fumble

My last down I spoke about the 49ers challenges on offense. Well, the Seahawks have some offensive line woes of their own. Against the Packers defense in Week 1, quarterback Russell Wilson struggled to find a rhythm. Seattle was limited to just 53 yards rushing and the o-line didn't hold up in pass protection either. The group gave up four sacks, one of which resulted in a fumble. Despite leaving Panthers quarterback Cam Newton practically unscathed last week, I predict that the 49ers defense is eager to redeem themselves on Sunday.

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