It’s safe to say the Seattle Seahawks will have a specific plan in mind when they attack the San Francisco 49ers run defense on Sunday. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh spoke to the media after practice on Thursday, and he said the Seahawks’ biggest success was attacking the edge of the 49ers defensive front seven. According to Saleh, the Seahawks had over 110 yards on seven rushing attempts at the edges, and a little over 50 yards rushing in between the edges on their remaining 20 or so carries.
The folks at Pro Football Focus track rushing attempts by direction. Their numbers differ from Saleh, but the point still stands. According to PFF, in Week 13, the Seahawks had six rushes off the left edge for 84 yards, plus another four toward the left tackle for 22 yards. PFF charted three rushes at the right edge for a loss of one yard. It’s not quite seven rushes for 110 yards, but they had considerable success off the left edge.
That side of the 49ers defense sees plenty of rotation, but Ronald Blair and Cassius Marsh have been on that side more often than not. Solomon Thomas gets some work on that end as well, but he moves around a bit more than Blair and Marsh. Whatever the case, that’s where the Seahawks found success rushing the ball.
This past week, Thomas ended up spending more time on the defensive interior than he had all season. Jullian Taylor is getting some work on the right side, so he will be one to watch on run downs. The Seahawks were incredibly successful running to the left side of the offensive line, and I doubt we see them drastically change that until the 49ers prove they can stop it with any sort of consistency.