The San Francisco 49ers return to Levi's® Stadium for the team's 2022 home opener to take on an NFC West rival – the Seattle Seahawks.
The Seahawks will look much different from when the 49ers last played them in Week 13 of the 2021 season when Seattle narrowly defeated the 49ers as the clock round down. The most notable change being that for the first time in a decade, quarterback Russell Wilson no longer leads Seattle's offense. During the offseason, the Seahawks traded Wilson and a 2022 fourth-round draft pick to the Denver Broncos for a 2022 first-round pick, a 2022 second-round pick, a 2022 fifth-round pick, a 2023 first-round pick, a 2023 second-round pick, tight end Noah Fant, defensive lineman Shelby Harris and quarterback Drew Lock.
Here's a list of Seattle's newest additions to their 2022 roster:
- QB Drew Lock - previously on Denver Broncos
- CB Coby Bryant - Seattle's fourth-round pick in 2022 NFL Draft
- RB Kenneth Walker - Seattle's second-round pick in 2022 NFL Draft
- LB Uchenna Nwosu - previously on Los Angeles Chargers
- R Marquise Goodwin - previously on Chicago Bears
- CB Artie Burns - previously on Pittsburgh Steelers
- CB Isaiah Dunn - previously on New York Jets
- CB Tariq Woolen - Seattle's fifth-round pick in 2022 NFL Draft
- CB Justin Coleman - previously on Miami Dolphins
- FS Joey Blount - undrafted rookie
- DE Darryl Johnson - previously on Carolina Panthers
- LB Boye Mafe - Seattle's second-round pick in 2022 NFL Draft
- G Austin Blythe - previously on Kansas City Chiefs
- T Charles Cross - Seattle's first-round pick in 2022 NFL Draft
- T Abraham Lucas - Seattle's third-round pick in 2022 NFL Draft
- DE Quinton Jefferson - previously on Las Vegas Raiders
- WR Dareke Young - Seattle's seventh-round pick in 2022 NFL Draft
- TE Noah Fant - previously on Denver Broncos
- DE Shelby Harris - previously on Denver Broncos
Now, the Seahawks starting quarterback is Geno Smith, who began with the Seahawks in 2019 as Wilson's backup. In his first game this season, Smith threw for 195 yards (seven yards per attempt), two touchdowns and a 119.5 QB rating against the Bronco's defense under the "Monday Night Football" primetime lights. Wide receiver DK Metcalf led Seattle in receptions, catching seven passes for 36 yards. Yet, the Seahawks players who had the biggest game in Week 1 were tight ends Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson who each notched 43 yards and one score.
Smith and his offensive weapons will be up against a solid 49ers defense. San Francisco ranks first in total defense, passing defense and opposing yards per play after Week 1 according to NFL Media Research. Cornerback Charvarius Ward will be tasked with containing Smith's No. 1 target, Metcalf. In his first game as a Niner, Ward allowed just two catches on five targets. The 49ers defensive backs unit performed well overall against the Chicago Bears, limiting quarterback Justin Fields to just 121 passing yards and an 85.7 rating.
Before Smith can reach his receivers and tight ends through the air, he'll have to get through San Francisco's pass rush, who came up with 2.0 sacks (one from Nick Bosa and another from Samson Ebukam) and three quarterback hits at Soldier Field. Bosa and Co. will be matched up against an offensive line which allowed 2.0 sacks and four quarterback hits in their "MNF" contest.
"They play the game the right way," defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said. "They run the ball well. They play good defense, good special teams and they surround Geno with good players, so we have to do our part on Sunday. We have to finish... For us, the thing coming in is, 'How much better can we play? How can we help support our team and put us in position to win the game?'"
Seattle wasn't the only team to make some big adjustments to their roster ahead of the season. The last time quarterback Trey Lance matched up against the Seahawks was in Week 4 of the 2021 season when he had 18 passing attempts behind Jimmy Garoppolo.
Against Chicago's defense, Lance led the 49ers in rushing yards (54) averaging 4.2 yards per attempt. Seattle's rushing defense gave up 103 yards in their last contest – a golden opportunity for the young quarterback, starting running back Jeff Wilson Jr. and rookie RBs Tyrion Davis-Price and Jordan Mason to take advantage on the ground.
"They've (SF's rookie running backs) been working real hard out there the last couple days. Watching them run, they've been really working hard to pick everything up and to do things the right way," offensive line and run game coordinator Chris Foerster said. "There's always going to be a learning curve with every young player, but boy, they've worked really hard this week and they look good."