The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks enter a Week 11 matchup possessing clearly regressed records and performances on the field. Each of the Seahawks four victories have come against teams with losing records. For the 49ers, Blaine Gabbert is making his second consecutive start, looking for a second straight win, and to deliver the first San Francisco victory at CenturyLink Field since the 2011 season.
If successful, Gabbert will bring the Seahawks current home losing streak to three games — something that hasn’t happened in seven years.
Unlike the 49ers, the Seahawks roster has remained intact for much of the three years they’ve been contenders in this league. Because of that, the teams clear regression since the start of the season has left several scratching their heads. But not San Francisco head coach Jim Tomsula. It’s just tough to remain competitive in the NFL for an extended period of time, he said Wednesday.
“I think Seattle is really good,” Tomsula said. “In terms of is it hard to stay consistently winning in the NFL? Yeah, I think all know that. Winning a game in the NFL is extremely hard, let alone multiple, let alone for years. It’s a tough business.”
They’ve reached the last two Super Bowls, but their odds of returning for a third consecutive are looking more and more unlikely as the weeks of the season tick by. This despite still carrying one of the league’s most potent defensive units — Seattle ranks second in total yards and second in passing defense, something that will likely keep Gabbert on his toes, Sunday.
It seems one of Seattle’s biggest issue this season have been penalties — last week they were flagged 14 times, which contributed to the offense’s performance of converting just one of eight on third down.
During a Week 7 matchup in Santa Clara, the Seahawks held the 49ers to just 142 total yards in the game. Gabbert carries a record of 6-22 as a starter, and knows he has his work cut out for him against the 12th man.
“It’s going to be loud, we know that,” Gabbert said. “In these stadiums where it is extremely loud, you really have to focus one play at a time because if you don’t hear a call, you don’t hear the play, one or two guys aren’t going to be on the same page and that’s the difference between winning and losing games.”
He remained on the same page for the majority of the 49ers victory over the Atlanta Falcons, going 15-of-25 through the air for 185 yards. However, the two interceptions he threw against Atlanta made for the fourth-straight game where he has thrown two or more, making maintaining possession against the Seahawks defense all more paramount.
Working the still unfamiliar Shaun Draughn into the game could be important for San Francisco, especially with the absence of Anquan Boldin and Carlos Hyde from the game almost guaranteed at this point. Their status for the game remains unknown at this point, but Draughn averaged 3.56 after contact/attempt against the Falcons — good enough for second-best among halfbacks with at least ten carries this year.