After being disappointed Week 1 loss to the Chicago Bearsthe 49ers are set for Sunday’s home opener against the Seattle Seahawks.
While it’s still too early to call this a “must-win” game, the 49ers need to come away from Week 2 with a win over their NFC West rival to not only keep their playoff hopes alive, but also to put everyone at ease. The outside voice.
Coach Kyle Shanahan insists the pressures outside the building don’t carry over to the inside of team headquarters, but there’s no doubt the players and staff feel an added sense of urgency after a losing streak to start the season. .
“Honestly, we don’t listen to outside voices,” Shanahan said Friday. “Anytime you lose, there’s a lot of outside noise. Anytime you win, there’s a lot of outside noise telling you that you’re good. You can’t respond to the noise and it’s hard to do that, but that’s why you don’t see it that way. ”
How the 49ers bounced back from their Week 1 performance made for a fascinating matchup on Sunday. The Seahawks were led by former Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson just weeks after an emotional win over the Denver Broncos.
Can the 49ers take advantage of the situation and get the Seahawks protection after a poor performance in Chicago? All 46 active matchday players should do their part, but there are a few who tip the balance with standout performances.
Here are five players to watch in the 49ers’ home opener at Levi’s Stadium:
LB Drew Greenlaw
Greenlaw has been a vital part of the 49ers’ defense since arriving in Santa Clara, but his 2022 debut wasn’t his best. Fourth year linebacker Two penalties were called. It made the Bears drive alive and it produced results.
Greenlaw allowed four receptions on four targets in coverage, one for a touchdown. The Arkansas product will have to play a clean game again facing a mobile quarterback in Seattle’s Geno Smith.
RB Jeff Wilson Jr.
The fifth-year running back will likely be tapped in the 49ers’ first game behind Elijah Mitchell as a starter. It is placed on the injured area. Wilson had a year of training camp out of the 2021 season with a meniscus injury.
Wilson didn’t get much ground in the club’s loss to the Bears, but he caught both passes and served as a reliable target for Trey Lance. The Texas native is known for calling for “pick routes” in goal-line situations and could help the young quarterback as a scouting target.
The 49ers gained 176 yards on the ground in Week 1 against the Bears, but only 63 of those yards came from their two running backs. If Wilson can help get the running game going on Sunday, it will help take some pressure off the Lance — especially since the weather could include rain again.
WR Brandon Ayuck
After spending most of the offseason working with the Lancers, Ayuck is set to have a special start to the 2022 NFL season. But Mother Nature had an impact on his production in Week 1. The third-year wideout caught two of three targets for 40 yards and carried the ball once for a seven-yard gain.
Chemistry developed with Lance It has yet to stand out. In the regular season game, there is no doubt that the Arizona State product will be the top producer this season. Ayuck will have the added challenge of a second straight game in the rain.
The Seahawks’ secondary will be without All-Pro Jamal Adams, but Ayuck told NBC Sports Bay Area on Thursday that the absence of safety will never change his mindset. Facing Seattle’s defense will still be a challenge with safety Quandre Diggs on the field.
D. Nick Bosa
Bosa got off to a strong start out of the gate in Week 1, but rainy conditions kept the Bears’ offense largely on the ground. In the second half, he seemed to finish the game quietly without passing up too many rushing opportunities.
Bosa closed the season opener with five tackles: one solo, one sack and two quarterback hits. The Ohio State product’s job won’t be easy this week with another mobile quarterback on board.
It’s important for Bosa and the defensive line to stay disciplined and keep Smith from getting out of control when he scrambles. The weather affecting Bosa’s running game on Sunday could be a key factor in stopping the Seahawks.
QB Trey Lance
After being named the club’s starting quarterback, Lance will be the focus of all eyes in the second game. How a sophomore signal caller bounces back from a Week 1 loss will be analyzed under a microscope.
Lance closed out his first game of 2022 with a team-leading 13 carries for 54 yards and went 13-of-28 for 164 yards and one interception. With more rain on Sunday, the young quarterback will need to develop his short game.
Being able to scout the talented skill players around him will be key to Lance’s success on Sunday. Debo Samuels, Ayuck and the running back corps are all capable of gaining yards after contact, and Lance should easily give them the opportunity to do so.
The 22-year-old’s ability as a big player is not in question, but Lance’s development is something the Seahawks defense will keep an eye on to get rid of the ball quickly.
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