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San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks: A Prospector's Guide

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And we're back with the latest edition of the Prospector's Guide.  This week features the division rival Seattle Seahawks in an early battle for NFC West supremacy.  The winner of this game will occupy sole possession of first place for at least one week and get a 2-0 leg up in divisional play.  Both teams struggled last year, and are looking to return to form.  At this point I'd say the pressure is on the 49ers as the home team.  It's essential to hold serve at home.  If the 49ers can do that they're guaranteed no worse than a 4-2 divisional record.

The 49ers host the Seahawks in what will be the 21st contest between the two teams in the series, dating back to 1976. The Seahawks hold an 11-9 advantage over the 49ers, with the teams having split the series in 2008. The last meeting between the two teams marked Mike Singletary’s debut as the 49ers head coach.

San Francisco is coming off a 20-16 victory over the Cardinals in the season opener. RB Frank Gore recorded both a rushing touchdown and receiving score for the first time in his career, while QB Shaun Hill posted a 89.3 passer rating.  LB Patrick Willis led the team in tackles and recorded an interception that led to a 49ers field goal. San Francisco’s defense limited Arizona to just 40 rushing yards and 29% on third down conversions.

The 49ers have won five of their last six games, dating back to 2008. With a win last week, Hill improves his career record as a starter to 8-3, which includes a perfect 5-0 record when playing at home.

49ers-Cardinals Seahawks Connections
Coaches

• 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye coached alongside Seahawks offensive line coach Mike Solari with the Kansas City Chiefs from 1998 – 2005. Both served in the same capacity for the Chiefs.
• 49ers quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson coached for the Atlanta Falcons with Seahawks head coach Jim Mora and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp from 2004-05.
• 49ers tight ends coach Pete Hoener coached with Seahawks strength and conditioning coach Mike Clark at Texas A&M.
• Head Coach Jim Mora, a native of Los Angeles, CA, coached for the 49ers from 1997-03, coaching the secondary from 1997-98 and serving as defensive coordinator from 1999-03 ...  Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp served as the 49ers quality control/offense (1995-97), quarterbacks coach (1998-00) and offensive coordinator from 2001-03 ... Special teams coach Bruce Dehaven served in the same capacity for the 49ers from 2000-02 ... Defensive coordinator John Marshall coached for the 49ers from 1989-98, coaching the defensive line from 1989-93, the linebackers from 1994-96 and as defensive coordinator from 1997-98 ... Offensive assistant/assistant special teams coach Chris Beake coached for the 49ers in the same position on defense in 1999, as a defensive assistant from 2000-02 and as an offensive assistant in 2003 ... Offensive line coach Mike Solari was the tight ends/assistant offensive line coach for the 49ers from 1992-1996.

Players
49ERS-WASHINGTON CONNECTIONS: WR Jason Hill attended Washington State ... DB Dashon Goldson attended the University of Washington.

SEAHAWKS NOR CAL CONNECTIONS - S C.J. Wallace is a native of Sacramento, CA ... RB Justin Forsett played at UC-Berkeley.

PLAYERS: 49ers LB Patrick Willis played at Mississippi with Seahawks C Chris Spencer.  49ers RB Frank Gore played at Miami with Seahawks CB Kelly Jennings.

Series Highlights
Matchups: 20
Series Record: Seahawks lead series 11-9
49ers Home Record vs. Seahawks: Seahawks lead series 3-6
First Meeting: 9/26/76, 49ers win, 37-21, at Seattle
Last Meeting: 10/26/08, Seahawks win, 34-13, at San Francisco
Current Streak: Lost 1
Longest 49ers Win Streak: 3 (11/25/85-12/8/91)
Longest Seahawks Win Streak: 6 (10/12/03 | 12/11/05)
Most 49ers Points: 38 (9/25/88): 38-7, at Seattle
Most Seahawks Points: 42 (11/7/04), 42-27 at San Francisco
49ers Shutouts: None
Seahawks Shutouts: Two Times: Last (11/12/07), 24-0 at Seattle 1-0

SEATTLE 34, SAN FRANCISCO 13
At San Francisco, CA, October 26, 2008

The Seahawks beat the 49ers on two fullback swing passes that went for TDs and also returned an INT for a score in a 34-13 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Mike Singletary’s debut as head coach. Seattle CB Josh Wilson scored on a 75-yard INT return, and Seattle FB Leonard Weaver scored on TD passes of 43 and 62 yards to give the 49ers their fifth straight loss. QB J.T. O’Sullivan lost a fumble early in the game and then threw the INT that was returned for a TD before being replaced by backup QB Shaun Hill at the end of the first half. Both of his turnovers happened inside Seattle territory.

Down 3-0 early in the game, O’Sullivan connected with TE Delanie Walker for a 53-yard gain to the Seattle 21-yard line. The 49ers moved to the 6-yard line when O’Sullivan fumbled on a sack. The ball was recovered by DE Patrick Kerney, who raced to the San Francisco 27-yard line to set up a Seahawks FG and a 6-0 first quarter lead. The Seahawks extended their lead to 13-0 early in the second quarter before the 49ers answered with a FG to make it 13-3 midway through the second quarter. The 49ers were driving inside Seattle territory and were faced with a 4th-and-4 situation from the 29-yard line with 44 seconds to play in the first half. With two time outs remaining the 49ers elected to try to convert on fourth-down, but O’Sullivan’s pass was picked off and returned for a TD to make it 20-6 at the break.

Hill completed 15 of 23 attempts for 173 yards with one TD in relief.  On his first drive in the second half, he took the team on a 14-play, 56-yard drive that ended in a 40-yard FG to close the gap to 20-6. On the ensuing series, Seattle QB Seneca Wallace completed a short pass to Weaver that resulted in a 43-yard TD to put the Seahawks in front, 27-6, heading into the final quarter. A two-yard TD pass from Hill to WR Jason Hill closed the gap to 27-13 early in the fourth quarter, but Weaver sealed the Seattle win with a 62-yard TD on a swing pass from Wallace with six minutes to play for a 34-13 win.

2009 Statistics

49ERS (rank) SEAHAWKS (rank)
1-0 (t-1st NFCW) Record 1-0 (t-1st NFCW)
20.0 (t-16th) Points per game 28.0 (6th)
203.0 (29th) Total Offense 446.0 (6th)
21.0 (32nd) Rushing Offense 167.0 (6th)
182.0 (22nd) Passing Offense 279.0 (7th)
31:37 (t-13th) Possession Avg 32:27 (12th)
16.0 (12th) Points allowed/gm 0.0 (1st)
299.0 (15th) Total Defense 247.0 (8th)
40.0 (6th) Rushing Defense 77.0 (t-12th)
259.0 (22nd) Passing Defense 170.0 (9th)
3 (t-9th) Sacks 3 (t-9th)
49.1 (9th) Punting Avg (Gross) 53.2 (4th)
+1 (t-8th) Turnover Differential -2 (t-26th)