Keys to the Game – 49ers: Round Two

Programming note – I’ll be at the game today (Thanks Ben!) so I won’t be around for an updating game thread or any of that fun stuff, so the blog might be a little sparse, but hopefully you won’t notice too much. Anyway, onto the game:

  1. Hasselbeck – Step one to success: don’t slide back-first into Patrick Willis. Step two to success: get the ball downfield to Burleson and Butler. The short game is cute and all, but lets use multiple layers for once, especially against this 49ers secondary that is missing Nate Clements. But really, don’t slide into Willis.
  2. Control Frank Gore – this is not a difficult thing to do for any team but the Seahawks. I think the main reason people think Gore is so good is that he plays the Seahawks twice a year. Gore has 643 rushing yards this year in 9 games, almost a third came in week 2 against the Hawks (207 yards). Keep Gore under 100 yards and we’re looking good.
  3. Get Pressure – The 49ers are playing what amounts to a poor man’s spread offense. Alex Smith excels in the shotgun formation and has a good arm. If he has time, he can usually find someone to get the ball to. The Seahawks must get pressure and take Smith out of the game. In turn, this should prevent him from getting much going downfield. Look for blitzing and a lot of it. The 49ers’ O-Line is actually worse than ours statistically, so if we can’t get Smith on the ground early and often, we might as well stop playing the game.
  4. Vernon Davis – Quickly becoming the biggest TE threat in the game (took long enough), Davis must be contained inside the Red Zone. If the Hawks can keep the 49ers inside the 20s, Davis’ impact is minimized. If not, my fantasy team will be okay with that, but I won’t.
Go Hawks!