The San Francisco 49ers pass protection might have received at least a modest reprieve this week against the Seattle Seahawks. Pete Carroll said Bruce Irvin suffered a sprained MCL in Sunday's loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He injured his knee in the fourth quarter, and did not return to the game. A sprained MCL likely means at least two or three games missed. The Seahawks will also likely be without wide receiver Paul Richardson, a 2014 second round pick, due to a hamstring injury.
Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril have been the two best pass rushers on the Seahawks this season. They will give the 49ers offensive line and running backs plenty of work on Sunday, but losing Irvin does at least remove one aspect of that rotation. Anything that can help to limit the Seahawks pass rush is a good thing.
It will be interesting to see just how the 49ers game plan against the Seahawks pressure. The team held the Atlanta Falcons in check two weeks ago, but the Falcons pass rush has been a question all season. The Seahawks defense is not as good as it has been the last few years, but it is still a much stiffer test than that of the Falcons. And one of Blaine Gabbert's biggest weaknesses comes when facing tremendous pressure. He did well two weeks ago, but it was not the kind of duress that has caused problems in the past.