Tale Of The Tape: San Francisco 49ers At Seattle Seahawks
- QuarterbackColin Kaepernick was a phenom last year, taking the starting job from Alex Smith in large part because of his overwhelming athletic ability. Kaepernick still can outrun and outperform most defenders, but it was his passing that took apart the Green Bay Packers in Week One. Kaepernick threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns and he will challenge any defense he faces, including Seattle’s.Russell Wilson wants to show the world he is as good or better than Kaepernick. He’s not going to make the comparison in yardage or touchdowns, but simply in who wins these matchups. Wilson is an accurate passer with a strong enough arm and is very athletic and smart. His greatest asset is his ability to make the big play when the game is on the line.
- OffenseThe 49ers want to show off their power early and then flash their speed. This is one of the toughest and most brutal teams in the NFL. It starts with their stellar line led by left tackle Joe Staley. Running back Frank Gore wants to run the ball between the tackles on every play. Anquan Boldin is a tough, hard-nosed receiver who will fight to catch the ball on every play.The Seahawks may not have as much firepower as the 49ers, but they can move the ball effectively. They have their own power back in Marshawn Lynch, who can also flash his speed when he gets to the outside. Golden Tate has the ability to make the tough catch over the middle or go downfield, while Doug Baldwin is also dependable.
- DefenseThe 49ers rely on the strength of Justin Smith and the speed of Aldon Smith up front. Justin dominates against the run while Aldon is a top-notch pass rusher. NaVorro Bowman had eight tackles and one forced fumble in the win over the Packers, while fellow linebacker Patrick Willis had five tackles.Richard Sherman believes he is the league’s best cornerback and he makes no apologies to Darelle Revis for his thoughts. Sherman excels in one-on-one coverage, but he will be challenged by Boldin. FS Earl Thomas had a team-high 10 tackles at Carolina while middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is one of the most underrated players in the league.
- Special TeamsThe addition of Phil Dawson was an excellent move by the 49ers. Dawson missed a FG attempt in the victory over the Packers, but he’s not likely to miss many more because he has been so accurate – 83.9 percent over his career. Andy Lee averaged 47.2 yards per punt against the Packers, but he is usually a middle-of-the-pack performer.The Seahawks have long taken pride in their special teams play. Jon Ryan has a powerful leg and averaged 49.5 yards per punt in Week One. Steven Hauschka made both of his FG attempts while Tate has the potential to make a big play as a return specialist.
This is most likely a matchup between the two best teams in the league. It’s hard to see either of these teams falling back unless they get hit with a slew of injuries. Look for the Seahawks to use the homefield advantage to get the early lead in the division. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor