SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Coach Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks have a lot bigger worries than wondering if the San Francisco 49ers are ready to make a quarterback switch to Jimmy Garoppolo.
With the Seahawks (6-4) having lost two out of three games to remain behind the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West and missing several key defensive players, led by cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Kam Chancellor, they are focused on getting their season going in the right direction headed into Sunday’s game at San Francisco (1-9).
So the fact the 49ers are sticking with rookie C.J. Beathard for at least one more week instead of turning the reins over to the quarterback of the future, Garoppolo, didn’t change a thing for the Seahawks.
“We’re just preparing for the 49ers,” Carroll said. “They’ve got a style of offense, they’ve got really good players that do what they do. Whoever’s triggering it from the quarterback spot, we’re going to go play football.”
The Seahawks are usually at their best at this time of year, going 34-9 after the start of November over the past five seasons to overcome some slow starts and get into position for a playoff run.
But that has not been the case this season. Seattle lost at home to Washington three weeks ago and then this past Monday at home to the Falcons as the injuries have taken a toll.
“November and December have been good months for us,” Carroll said. “And that’s kind of where we are right now. Unfortunately we’re in the same situation. I wish we were ahead of those numbers, but we’re kind of in the same spot.”
The 49ers are in a far different situation, but at least have the good feeling of coming off a win, having beaten the Giants 31-21 before the bye to avoid a possible winless season.
“We’re 1-9. It’s not like we’re doing cartwheels saying we’ve got this figured out,” general manager John Lynch said. “We have a long way to go.”
Here are some other things to watch:
The 49ers are sticking with Beathard while Garoppolo still learns the offense, in part because of how well he played two weeks ago before the bye in San Francisco’s first win. Beathard completed 19 of 25 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-21 win.
“C.J. did play his best football last week, which definitely, to me, made the decision easier,” coach Kyle Shanahan said.
The Seahawks’ underperforming run game will get another remodel this week. With Mike Davis likely out due to a groin injury, the Seahawks will again turn to the combo of Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy to try and get something started on the ground. Seattle ranks 17th in rushing, but Wilson is the leading rusher and the running backs have provided very little since rookie Chris Carson went down with an ankle injury early in the season. Rawls was an unexpected scratch before last Monday’s game against Atlanta. He’s averaging 2.6 yards per carry. Lacy is averaging 2.5 yards per carry.
“I remain the same and I always stay true. I come out here and continue to work, continue to lead,” Rawls said.
San Francisco running back Carlos Hyde is having one of his most productive seasons. He’s topped 100 yards from scrimmage the past two games and already has career highs with 42 catches for 274 yards. Hyde has 36 carries for 227 yards in his past two games against Seattle.
“He can do anything,” Carroll said. “He can run any kind style of football. Whether it’s gap scheme or zone scheme, he can do it all. He’s done a great job coming out of the backfield.”
Cornering The Market
Seattle rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin is expected out due to a concussion suffered against the Falcons. Seattle felt fortunate to sign Byron Maxwell as a free agent last week following the loss of Sherman for the season with an Achilles tendon injury. But Maxwell was thrust into a heavy workload in his first game back with Seattle, playing 59 of 62 possible defensive snaps. Carroll felt Maxwell played well, outside of one pass interference penalty.
“He looked like the guy that we hoped he would look like, and that is without a whole lot of preparation,” Carroll said. “He really kicked right back into the technique and the style of play.”
Searching For Safeties
The 49ers have been decimated by injuries at safety, with starters Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward both being sidelined by broken arms. Rookie Adrian Colbert stepped in and played extremely well last game despite a broken thumb, but will be sidelined this week after having surgery. Antone Exum and Dexter McCoil are next up to play alongside Eric Reid, who has moved back to safety after a short stint as a linebacker.
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