San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan is aware of the challenges of attempting to beat an opponent thrice in a season after falling quick a 12 months in the past within the playoffs in opposition to the Los Angeles Rams.
The 49ers open this postseason with an analogous problem after they host NFC West rival Seattle in a wild-card playoff sport Saturday lower than a month after beating the Seahawks for the second time this season.
“I don’t actually take a look at it as it’s a must to beat somebody thrice. I simply take a look at it as now we have to beat them on Saturday,” Shanahan stated. “That’s the sport, I don’t suppose the opposite video games must do with it.”
The Niners (13-4) are searching for a greater end result in opposition to the Seahawks (9-8) than they’d final 12 months in opposition to the Rams, after they blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead and misplaced 20-17 to Los Angeles within the NFC title sport.
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“As soon as you understand one another that properly, normally the sport turns into easier,” Shanahan stated. “You don’t trick one another after that and normally groups are enjoying at a better stage by that third time.”
That sport final 12 months was selected a number of key performs down the stretch, like a possible dropped interception by San Francisco, a failed short-yardage conversion after which an interception by Jimmy Garoppolo on the ultimate drive with the Niners trying a comeback.
The Niners have had the benefit thus far this 12 months in opposition to the Seahawks, successful 27-7 at residence in Week 2 after which going to Seattle for a 21-13 victory Dec. 15 in rookie quarterback Brock Purdy’s first highway begin.
The fixed has been the protection led by edge rusher Nick Bosa and linebacker Fred Warner that restricted Seattle to 1 TD drive on 20 offensive possessions.
“For essentially the most half we have been simply behind the sticks lots,” quarterback Geno Smith stated. “We have been behind the chains and we have been in second-and-longs and third-and-longs and that’s not a recipe for successful soccer for us.”
The Seahawks have had good success through the years in opposition to the Niners with Shanahan in cost, successful eight of the 12 video games. However San Francisco took a very powerful one thus far in a Week 17 showdown in 2019 that determined the NFC West title.
“Generally they get us and generally we get them,” coach Pete Carroll stated. “I say that concerning the chess match factor as a result of I’ve a lot respect for what Kyle does, their complete model of play and all that they’ve developed through the years. It’s going to be a very good problem.”
The Niners can be twenty fifth workforce in Tremendous Bowl period to comb two video games in opposition to an opponent in common season and play them once more in playoffs.
These earlier groups went 14-10 within the third assembly within the playoff, together with the loss by San Francisco to the Rams final season on the highway. However groups that hosted the third sport had a 13-6 report.
For essentially the most half, 2022 was a profession season for Seattle’s DK Metcalf, with a career-best 90 receptions and topping 1,000 yards for the second time in his 4 seasons.
Regardless of these numbers, he largely disappeared the ultimate two weeks. Metcalf was held to 1 catch for 3 yards in a Week 17 win over the Jets and final weekend in opposition to the Rams had extra exercise jawing with Jalen Ramsey than catching passes, it appeared. Metcalf had simply three catches for 40 yards on eight targets in opposition to the Rams.
“Now we have run the ball very properly the previous couple weeks, and I do know that’s taken up plenty of performs on offense however so long as we’re successful I’m not mad or something as a result of that’s my complete goal of being right here is simply to win,” Metcalf stated.
However Seattle might use Metcalf making an impression in opposition to the 49ers. He had 11 catches within the two video games mixed in opposition to San Francisco, however his longest reception went for less than 13 yards as Charvarius Ward did a very good job eliminating his huge performs.
Purdy has been on a exceptional run since taking up for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo, successful all 5 of his begins to increase San Francisco’s successful streak to 10 video games.
Purdy has thrown a number of TD passes in six straight video games for the longest streak for a rookie. Lots of these passes have gone to tight finish George Kittle, who has seven TD catches prior to now 4 video games.
“He does an awesome job of simply creating area and I do know the place he’s going to be,” Purdy stated. “He’s a freak of nature and we simply must proceed to have that connection transferring ahead for this playoff run.”
A technique Seattle can attempt to fluster Purdy is getting some strain on the younger quarterback. Thankfully, Seattle’s cross rush has made an look the previous two video games. The Seahawks had 4 sacks in Week 17 in opposition to the Jets and sacked Los Angeles’ Baker Mayfield 5 instances final weekend.
These 5 sacks have been unfold throughout 4 completely different cross rushers, with Bruce Irvin, Boye Mafe, Uchenna Nwosu and Darrell Taylor all pitching in. That foursome mixed for eight QB hits, 4 coming from Nwosu.
Seattle had only one sack and three QB hits on Purdy when the groups met final month. However pressuring Purdy received’t matter if Seattle can’t gradual the 49ers’ run sport.
“If we will remove the run, we will get after them,” Nwosu stated.
AP Sports activities Author Tim Sales space contributed to this report
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