How Ryans believes 49ers' defense can outplay Smith, Seahawks originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
After outdueling longtime 49ers nemesis Russell Wilson and his new team, the Denver Broncos, on Monday, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith now has his eye on the 49ers.
Ahead of San Francisco’s Week 2 matchup with Smith and Co. at Levi’s Stadium, 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said the veteran journeyman’s Monday Night Football showing was a good reminder that the team can’t underestimate the Seahawks on Sunday -- even with Wilson gone.
“Geno was successful,” Ryans told reporters after practice on Thursday. “Yeah, I think [Seattle] set it up for him where he can make some quick reads. He gets the ball out on time, does a good job of going through his motions.
“He’s a veteran quarterback who’s done it for a while. So we have high respect for Geno and what he can do with that offense and the way they play.”
Smith and the Seahawks upset the Broncos in a 17-16 victory at Lumen Field, while the 49ers were on the other end of an unexpected outcome, losing to the Chicago Bears 19-10 at Soldier Field last Sunday.
When the NFC West rivals face off this weekend, all eyes assuredly will be on second-year signal-caller Trey Lance, in his first season as a full-time starting quarterback, and Smith, who is in his 10th NFL season and first as a starter since 2014.
The stark contrast doesn’t end with time spent in the league.
Smith finished the Seahawks’ win on Monday with an 82 percent completion percentage (23-of-28) for 195 yards and two touchdowns after completing almost all of his first-half passes. In comparison, Lance struggled with accuracy in the Chicago rain and went 13-for-28 with zero touchdowns and an interception.
It’s safe to say it won’t be easy for the 49ers to walk away with a win, though Seahawks coach Pete Carroll views Lance as "dangerous." Ryans believes the key to the game lies in the 49ers' defense performing better than they did against the Bears.
“[The Seahawks] play the game the right way,” Ryans said. “They run the ball well. They play good defense, good special teams. And they surround Geno with good players, so we have to do our part on Sunday. We have to finish.
“That’s one thing we didn’t do this past Sunday, we didn’t finish. We had opportunities to close that game out and defensively, we didn’t get the job done.”
Every Bears touchdown on Sunday came courtesy of drives extended by one of the 49ers’ 12 penalties on the day. Defensive end Nick Bosa said the mistake-riddled game was "annoying," and the team certainly will look to clean it up against Seattle this week.
“So, for us, the thing coming in is how much better can we play?” Ryans said. “How can we help support our team and put us in a position to win the game?”
While Smith and Lance differ in their experience, they both are looking to prove themselves as NFL starters.
If everyone around the 49ers’ young quarterback can do their jobs, the task at hand will become that much easier on Sunday.