Seahawks, 49ers do battle in search of 60 solid minutes
Talk about a tale of two halves.
In the first halves of their first three games, the Seattle Seahawks rank first in the NFL in points per drive, according to TruMedia.
In the second halves, they’re 32nd.
That might explain why the Seahawks (1-2) have blown double-digit leads in each of their past two games. They lost both to drop into the NFC West cellar entering Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers (2-1) in Santa Clara, Calif.
“We can always be cleaner and we can always be better,” Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said. “But I believe in this football team. I believe in what we can do and what we will do.”
Wilson, seeking his 100th victory, has never lost three consecutive games in his pro career.
Part of the problem is the Seahawks have nearly abandoned the running game after the intermission. Last week, Chris Carson had 10 carries for 74 yards in the first half, including a 30-yard touchdown run. After the half, he rushed twice for 6 yards.
But even if the Seahawks figure out how to move the ball after halftime, their defense is allowing a league-worst 440.3 yards per game.
Opening divisional play at San Francisco and then hosting the undefeated Los Angeles Rams next Thursday at home means the Seahawks have little time to get things right.
“We can’t keep letting ones like this and last game slip away when we have opportunities in front of us,” linebacker Carlos Dunlap said after Sunday’s 30-17 loss at Minnesota. “Opportunities don’t come twice, so we’ve got to take advantage of each and every one because they count. They matter.”
The 49ers would be undefeated if not for leaving 37 seconds on the clock for Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, the reigning league MVP, last Sunday night.
Kyle Juszczyk’s 12-yard TD catch completed a comeback from a 17-point deficit and gave the 49ers the lead.
But Rodgers drove the Packers into field-goal range and Mason Crosby made a 51-yarder on the final play to give visiting Green Bay a 30-28 victory.
“You always worry with Aaron on the other side,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “That’s why we didn’t use any timeouts. We were hoping to take (the clock) down.”
Expect this to be another close one, as four of Seattle’s past five trips to the Bay Area to meet the 49ers have been decided by three points or less.
While the Seahawks have been starting fast, the 49ers haven’t. They’ve scored just once so far in the first quarter and have been outgained by a league-worst 262 yards.
“We’ve got to take a long, long look in the mirror as an offense and just what we could do better, how we could start faster,” 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. “There was just one mistake here, one mistake there by guys, starting with myself, and if we eliminate just half of those, it’ll lead to better football early and we won’t have to play from behind the eight ball like we were Sunday.”
The 49ers have been decimated by injuries in the offensive and defensive backfields. They’re down four of their top five running backs and three cornerbacks.
San Francisco running back Elijah Williams (shoulder) has been a limited participant in practice this week while cornerbacks Josh Norman (chest) and K’Waun Williams (calf), defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (knee) and tight end George Kittle (calf) have missed time.
For Seattle, wide receiver Tyler Lockett (hip) has been limited, with receiver Dee Eskridge (concussion), running back Rashaad Penny (calf), offensive tackle Brandon Shell (ankle) and defensive end Kerry Hyder Jr. (concussion) missing time.
–Field Level Media