The typically-stingy Seattle Seahawks defense surrendered 39 points in a primetime loss to the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday night.
But instead of salivating at that sight, Torrey Smith had a slightly different reaction to the surprisingly high-scoring affair.
"Guys were making plays," Smith said on Thursday. "You can't take away from what Arizona did. It wasn't like Seattle was constantly out of position – they were in position, but guys just made plays. And that's really what you have to do against a great defense like that."
The wide receiver will get another crack at the Seahawks on Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers visit the unfriendly confines of CenturyLink Field. Smith, who signed a five-year deal with the 49ers this offseason, was held without a catch in his team's Week 7 home loss to Seattle. The Seahawks rank second in the NFL in passing defense, allowing 203 yards per game through the air.
"It's a great defense," Smith said. "I hadn't played them since my rookie year – so to come in and see how their defense is, they really have no weaknesses. You have to be on your game and earn everything."
Smith caught three passes for 28 yards and carried the ball once for 16 yards in his only previous game at CenturyLink Field in 2011. The wideout is eager for a return trip to Seattle, where the setting has an intimidating reputation.
The Seahawks are 26-4 at home since 2012; with the San Francisco's last win at Seattle coming in December of 2011.
"I love playing away – you get to see how other teams' fans are and have the challenge of trying to quiet them in a hostile environment," Smith said. "As a competitor, you love that stuff. And obviously Seattle is probably the toughest place to play in the league, so it's going to be fun."
Of course, playing at CenturyLink Field means that the 49ers will have to rely on silent counts on offense. And the cadence changes at the line affect Smith as well.
"I try to pay attention more during the week to what they're doing," Smith said. "You're supposed to watch that ball – that's the perfect thing to say. But I like to get a tip on it, so I've been studying the o-line making sure I have the count down to make sure I can get a good jump as well."
For each of the last two games, the 49ers have been without leading receiver Anquan Boldin. The veteran has returned to practice this week, but his status for Sunday is still uncertain.
Regardless of Boldin's health, Smith is confident in Blaine Gabbert handling the pressure on the road against a divisional opponent. The new quarterback won in his starting debut for the 49ers versus the Atlanta Falcons, but obviously facing the Seahawks in front of their home fans is a different beast.
"He has a great feel for adjustments and communicating and understanding the game," Smith said of Gabbert. "He puts a lot of work in and it shows. I've always thought he was a very talented guy.
"I think people probably view him in a certain light, but there haven't been too many people who have been done well in Jacksonville. That's not a knock on everyone down there, but it's tough when there's a lot of changes and new guys around. Hopefully he's able to showcase his real ability here."