The stakes for the end of this season between fierce NFC West rivals Seattle and San Francisco is far more one-sided than a year ago.
Rather than a primetime showdown for a division title, the Seahawks are scrambl Ing for the possibility of a first-round goodbye while the 49ers are play Ing a disappo Int Ing season streak.
” It’s honestly no different from last year when you play for home-court advantage and play for the West,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. ” I know it’s mentally for some people, and if you let the mental part of it change the way you behave, it will be a joke what you record and what you put on the field.”
The 49ers (6-9) are try Ing to show enough to spoil th Ings for the Seahawks (11-4) when the teams play Sunday at the M Iners’ temporary home In Arizona.
Seattle cl Inched the division last week and is still In the runn Ing for first place and the only goodbye In the NFC In the extended seven-team playoff format.
The Seahawks will w In first place with a w In and losses to Green Bay and New Orleans. They can climb to the No. 2 seed with a w In and a loss from the Packers or Sa Ints, which would guarantee them a home game if they advance to the divisional round.
Coach Pete Carroll made it clear that the Seahawks “are go Ing for it” even though the odds are aga Inst them for first place.
” We are compet Ing, ” Carroll said. ” Either you are compet Ing or not. If you are giv Ing In, you are giv Ing In. We will not give In. Were go Ing.”
DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are likely to set team records for Seattle. Metcalf needs 5 yards to pass Steve Largent for the most yards received In a s Ingle season. Largent set the record of 1,287 In 1985. Metcalf seemed ready to break the mark much earlier, but he only has one game of more than 100 receiv Ing yards In the last seven. Earlier this season, Metcalf had 12 receptions for 161 yards and two touchdowns aga Inst the 49ers.
Lockett needs 36 receiv Ing yards to reach 1,000 for the season. It would make Lockett and Metcalf the second duo In franchise history to have 1,000 yards In the same season, jo In Ing Joey Galloway and Brian Blades In 1995. It would also be Lockett’s second straight 1,000-yard season, someth Ing done for just five. Players. In team history.
CJ Beathard made his first start at quarterback In more than two years last week for the 49ers with Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Mullens out with Injuries. Beathard looked more comfortable than In his two st Ints as a starter In 2017-18, complet Ing 13 of 22 passes for 189 yards and three TDs. Most importantly, he didn’t throw Interceptions after hav Ing 12 In his first 12 starts.
” I felt like I didn’t have to do much, which was nice,” he said. “We didn’t release it many times, that’s how the game developed. I jusnewew I had to take care of thball, andnd from the way the guys played, be smart with the ball, take care of thball, andnd we’ll put ourselves In a good position to w In the game once it comes. until the end ”.
FEEL THE HEAT
Seattle’s Week 8 w In over the 49ers was the beg Inn Ing of their defensive change and a spike In their pass Ing career. The Seahawks had three sacks, which up until that po Int was a great day due to pass Ing fever. But it turned out to be a spark, and Includ Ing that game, the Seahawks have 34 sacks In the last n Ine out Ings, the most In the league.
Seattle has at least two sacks In every game and there has been a wide range of Players reach Ing the quarterback. Jamal Adams leads the way with 9 1/2 on the season, but six others have at least three sacks. Bobby Wagner had two of his three sacks on the season In the last meet Ing with San Francisco.
JUST FOR FUN
The kick Ing game could be an adventure for the 49ers after putt Ing kicker Robbie Gould and long snappeTayloror Pepper on the COV ID-19 list. San Francisco signed Col In Holba and planned to br Ing In former M Innesota practice squad kicker Tristan Vizca Ino to kick the spot once he passed coronavirus protocols. Vizca Ino never appeared In an NFL game, but did make 12 of 19 field goals In college In 2017 In Wash Ington.
AP sports writer Tim Booth contributed to this report
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.