GameScout: 49ers at Seahawks
49ers QB J.T. O'Sullivan
49ers QB J.T. O'Sullivan

Posted Sep 12, 2008


With a rookie at tight end in John Carlson, QB Matt Hasselbeck has no comfortable targets downfield. He also has no comfort in his line, which struggled mightily in week 1 and must account for 49ers DE Justin Smith, who lined up at seven different positions in the opener.

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San Francisco 49ers (0-1) at Seattle Seahawks (0-1)
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GAME SNAPSHOT
KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:05 ET
GAMEDATE: 9/14/08
SURFACE: FieldTurf
TV: FOX (Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa)
SERIES: 19th meeting. Seahawks lead the series 10-8, including victories in both games last season. The Seahawks outscored the 49ers 47-3 in two games a year ago.

KEYS TO THE GAME: The 49ers will run RB Frank Gore between the tackles in an effort to overpower the Seahawks' smallish front seven. Gore will also be involved in the passing game as San Francisco attempts to take the bite out of the Seahawks' pass rush. QB J.T. O'Sullivan won't be asked to win the game - just manage it - after the 49ers self destructed with a minus-five turnover ratio in their opener. ... The Seahawks' wide receiver woes are well documented - their top four will be sidelined and a pair of second-year players will start. With a rookie at tight end in John Carlson, QB Matt Hasselbeck has no comfortable targets downfield. He also has no comfort in his line, which struggled mightily in week 1 and must account for 49ers DE Justin Smith, who lined up at seven different positions in the opener.

KEY INJURIES: 49ers: C Eric Heitmann (right shoulder) is expected to start. Seahawks: RG Rob Sims (pectoral) is out for the season, replaced by Floyd Womack; RT Sean Locklear (knee) is expected to return next week; WR Deion Branch (knee) is practicing but will not play this week; RB Mo Morris (knee sprain) is out at least two weeks.

FAST FACTS: Gore has averaged 6.2 yards per carry in four career starts against Seattle. ... Hasselbeck has a 97.2 passer rating with 21 TDs in 10 career starts against San Francisco.

PERSONNEL NEWS:

49ers

Offensive coordinator Mike Martz liked a lot of what he saw from the San Francisco 49ers' 23-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. After all, the 49ers gained 291 yards of total offense despite being on the field for just 44 snaps. "We all, as coaches, expect them to be perfect all the time whether or not you're disappointed," Martz said. "The turnovers really bother me. The rest of it, there was real progress in a lot of areas there."

The 49ers return to action Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. Martz said he likes what he has seen from quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan, and he's pleased with the group of playmakers on offense. Tight end Vernon Davis caught a 37-yard pass in the season opener, which was longer than any play in which he was involved a year ago. Davis finished with three receptions for 51 yards.

"If we have the opportunity for him to make a play then we'll do that but don't worry about anybody but Frank (Gore) on how many touches they get," Martz said. "Frank has to touch the ball. He's got to be one of the very, very elite in this league. We know we have to feature him and find ways of getting him the ball."

Gore carried 14 times for 96 yards and caught a team-high four passes for 55 yards for the 49ers. Martz does not mind spreading the ball around to his other players, but he knows the one guy he wants to touch the ball over and over.

"Isaac (Bruce) and Vernon and all the other guys, they're all good players and they'll have their opportunities," Martz said. "But (Gore is) the only guy that you go into a game and say, 'You know what? This guys needs to touch the ball.'"

Does that mean that Martz has a number of times in mind that he wants Gore to touch the ball on a given week? "Yes, I do," Martz said. "(But it's) nothing that I would ever share with you guys."

Seahawks

--CB Marcus Trufant injured his hand in Thursday's practice. He is probable for Sunday's game.
--LB Lofa Tatupu, who injured his right thumb in Sunday's loss, is wearing a cast on his hand. He will play Sunday.
--WR Deion Branch went through practice with Seattle but at only about half speed. He is not likely to play until Week 5.
--RB Maurice Morris sat out practice with a sprained knee and will not play against the Niners.
--OT Sean Locklear sat out Thursday's practice and will not play Sunday.
--If WR Michael Bumpus has a good week of practice, he could be activated off the practice squad for Sunday's game.

INSIDE THE CAMPS:

49ers

Offensive coordinator Mike Martz liked a lot of what he saw from the San Francisco 49ers' 23-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. After all, the 49ers gained 291 yards of total offense despite being on the field for just 44 snaps. "We all, as coaches, expect them to be perfect all the time whether or not you're disappointed," Martz said. "The turnovers really bother me. The rest of it, there was real progress in a lot of areas there."

The 49ers return to action Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. Martz said he likes what he has seen from quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan, and he's pleased with the group of playmakers on offense.

Tight end Vernon Davis caught a 37-yard pass in the season opener, which was longer than any play in which he was involved a year ago. Davis finished with three receptions for 51 yards.

"If we have the opportunity for him to make a play then we'll do that but don't worry about anybody but Frank (Gore) on how many touches they get," Martz said "Frank has to touch the ball. He's got to be one of the very, very elite in this league. We know we have to feature him and find ways of getting him the ball."

Gore carried 14 times for 96 yards and caught a team-high four passes for 55 yards for the 49ers. Martz does not mind spreading the ball around to his other players, but he knows the one guy he wants to touch the ball over and over.

Seahawks

Upon first glance, it looks as if the Seattle Seahawks defense was torched by the Buffalo Bills in Seattle's 34-10 loss on Sunday. But while defensive coordinator John Marshall was not entirely happy with the outcome, he said the defense, which returns 11 starters, actually had a decent say considering the special teams could be blamed for giving up 24 points.

"Did we play badly? No, we didn't," Marshall said. "We had a number of three-and-outs and we made them punt the ball a bunch of times. But we didn't make plays and we didn't create turnovers.

"We were OK but we were not good enough. We didn't get it done. Our expectation in a game like that in that environment is to play better than that."

With the Seahawks offense saddled by numerous injuries this week, the Seahawks are relying on the defense to give it a chance against the San Francisco 49ers, who have attempted to ramp up their scoring by hiring offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

Two years ago, Niners running back Frank Gore gained 212 yards in one game and 144 yards in another game, both San Francisco victories.

Last year, the Seahawks placed more of a focus on Gore and limited him to a combined 151 yards in two games, which the Seahawks swept by a combined score of 47-3.

"We played very well against him, we would like to think we prepared differently and it was advantageous to us, but to say that we have him figured out, I wouldn't go that far," Marshall said. "It would be nice to say we have him figured out though."

The Seahawks must stop Gore this Sunday if they are going to be able to get to Niners quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan, who is starting only his second NFL game. The Bills stymied Seattle's pass rush by using max protection and having Trent Edwards dink and dunk on short routes to loosen up the defense.



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