After disappointing First week loss to Chicago Bearsthe 49ers are set for Sunday’s opening game against the Seattle Seahawks.
While it’s too early in the season to describe it as a “must-win” game, the 49ers must come out of Week Two with a win over their NFC West rival, not only to keep their playoff predictions the same, but also to calm everyone down. from external noise.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan insists that the pressure from outside the building does not reach the team’s home campus, but there is no doubt that players and staff alike are feeling an added sense of urgency after leaving Soldier Field with a loss to start the season.
“Frankly, we don’t hear the outside noise,” Shanahan said Friday. “Anytime you lose, there’s a lot of outside noise. Anytime you win, there’s a lot of outside noise that tells you how great you are. You can’t respond to noise and that’s hard, but that’s why you don’t look at it that way.”
How the 49 players bounce back from their first week performance makes Sunday’s game attractive. The Seahawks had a short week after their emotional win over the Denver Broncos, led by former Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.
Could the 49ers take advantage of the situation and catch the Seahawks off guard after a sloppy performance in Chicago? All 46 active gameday players will have to do their part, but there are few who can tip the scales with an outstanding performance.
Here are five players to watch in their opening home game at 49ers at Levi’s Stadium:
LB Dre Greenlaw
Greenlaw has been an important part of the 49ers defense since his arrival at Santa Clara, but his debut in 2022 wasn’t his best performance. Fourth year noon Called up for two penalties That kept Bears alive and led to scores.
Greenlaw also allowed four receptions on four targets in coverage, one for touchdowns. The Arkansas producer will need to play a cleaner game, once again taking on mobile quarterback Jenno Smith in Seattle.
RB Jeff Wilson Jr
The fifth year in a row is likely to be used as a start to the first game of the 49ers after Elijah Mitchell It was put on injured reserve. Wilson had a senior training camp removed for one year from a meniscus injury that kept him out of action for most of the 2021 season.
Wilson wasn’t able to gain much ground in the club’s loss to the Bears, but he did serve as a reliable target for Trey Lance by capturing the two passes I sent his way. The Texas native is known for being called to “choice methods” in goal-line situations and can also assist the young quarterback as a checking target.
The 49ers gained 176 yards off the ground against the Bears in the first week, but only 63 yards of it came from their backs. If Wilson can help start a running game on Sunday, it should help take some of the pressure off Lance — especially considering the weather could include rain again.
WR Brandon Ayuk
After spending a lot of time working with Lance, Aiyuk was set to get off to a great start to the 2022 NFL season. But Mother Nature had an effect on his production in the first week as the third year wide caught two of his three 40-yard goals and carried the ball once for seven-yard gains.
Aiyuk’s chemistry developed with Lance Not yet highlighted In the regular season game, but there’s no doubt that the Arizona State producer will be the number one product this season. Aiyuk will have the added challenge of a second straight game in the rain, although the player’s wide ability to gain yards after short passes may be key for the 49ers.
It would be Seahawks High School without All-Pro Jamal Adams, but Aiyuk told NBC Sports Bay Area Thursday that the absence of safety doesn’t change his mental preparation at all. Taking on the Seattle defense will continue to be a challenge with Quandre Diggs safe on the field.
De Nick Bossa
Bosa started strong out of the gates in Week 1, but monsoon conditions kept the Bears’ mostly offensive game on the ground. Without many quick chances in the second half, he looked like he ended the match calmly.
Bossa finished the season opener with five tackles: one solo, one sack and two quarterback hits. The Ohio State producer’s job didn’t get any easier this week with another moving quarterback on board.
It will be essential for Bosa and the defensive line to remain disciplined and not lose control of Smith as he scrambles. With weather being a factor again on Sunday, Bossa’s ability to sway his running game could be a major factor stopping the Seahawks.
QP Tree Lance
Of course, all eyes will be on Lens for his second match since the club’s midfielder was named. How a second year playing student bounces back from his first week loss will be analyzed through a microscope.
Lance finished off his debut in 2022 as the team’s main accelerator with 13 carries for 54 yards along with 13 of 28 passes for 164 yards and one interception. The young midfielder will need to develop his short game as more rain approaches Sunday.
Related: Shanahan says Lance has to keep his running advantage
Being able to check out the talented pool of skilled players surrounding him will be key to Lance’s success on Sunday. Deebo Samuel, Aiyuk and running teams all have the ability to gain yards after contact, and Lance simply needs to give them the opportunity to do so.
The 22-year-old’s great playing ability is not in question, but Lance’s development in dribbling the ball quickly is something the Seahawks’ defense will keep an eye on.
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