Let's take a look at a few different things San Francisco must do in order to overcome the most hostile environment in the NFL.
No Early Timeouts
This has been a major issues for Jim Harbaugh's squad on the road since Colin Kaepernick took over as the starting quarterback last season. For some reason, San Francisco tends to struggle getting the play to Kaepernick on the field in a timely manner. Even when the coaching staff does do its job, there has been a ton of miscommunication in lining up for the play prior to the snap.
Outside of the 49ers needing to save their timeouts for challenges and specific situations to end each half, being forced to burn a timeout because of the crowd will only amp up the Seahawks faithful come Sunday afternoon. It also causes issues as it relates to rhythm and timing on the offensive side of the ball. The good news here is that it took San Francisco until the second half last week against the Carolina Panthers to burn a timeout. Though that's a tad tongue-in-cheek, it's a step in the right direction.
Fix Communication Issues
This not only goes back to what I was talking about on the offensive side of the ball, it extends to defense as well. Multiple times in San Francisco's 29-3 loss to Seattle back in Week 2, I noticed its defense struggle communicating prior to the snap. This caused issues as it relates to scheme and enabled Marshawn Lynch to find open holes at the line with 49ers linebackers and safeties out of the equation.
While Russell Wilson doesn't necessarily make a lot of audibles at the line, he does a great job recognizing mismatches and formations on the defensive side of the ball. San Francisco must be in a position to change the play call on defense if it is going to be able to matchup against various formations that Wilson and Co. run.
Offensively, it's pretty much the same old thing. Kaepernick has to be able to utilize both the silent count and audible in order for the 49ers to be successful on offense. He changes from a run to a pass and vice versa more than any other young quarterback in the NFL. It is this that really what enables the 49ers to create mismatches based on the defensive look it gets prior to the snap.
Hold Seattle to Multiple Three and Outs
This goes without saying. Hold an offense to multiple three and outs throughout a game, and you are likely going to come out on the winning side of the ledger. The bigger key as it relates to handling the rough environment in Seattle will be to keep the crowd out of the game. By forcing multiple short drives from the Seahawks offense, San Francisco should control the time of possession battle and decrease the impact the fans have.
The same could also be said about maintaining long drives on the offensive side of the ball. Those tend to quiet down opposing fan bases a great deal.
Vincent Frank has been covering the National Football League for three years. He started out writing for Bleacher Report and is currently the head editor at eDraft and a columnist at Pro Football Focus. Vincent co-hosts a weekly radio show called "Football Debate Central" with former NFL player Ryan Riddle and has seen his work featured on CNN, BR and Los Angeles Times, among many other outlets.
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Seattle Seahawks
- San Francisco
- San Francisco 49ers
- Colin Kaepernick