49ers 'big four' must step up for Kaepernick vs. Seattle

YSTL: Purdy: Kap has to show he can succeed against Seahawks

49ers 'big four' must step up for Kaepernick vs. Seattle
December 8, 2013, 7:45 am
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Frank Gore has enjoyed more success against Seattle than any other team in the league with 1,254 career yards. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

SAN FRANCISCO – Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has not beaten the Seahawks in his two starts.

But he has not faced them at Candlestick Park, either. The 49ers have a four-game home win streak against Seattle, and 49ers have gone unbeaten in 15 consecutive games at Candlestick against NFC West opponents.

“Home-field advantage is always a big thing,” Kaepernick said. “You get to use your cadence. You get to use a lot of different audibles that you can’t use if you can’t hear on the road.”

If the 49ers' actions are going to speak loud enough to make a statement against the team in line for the top seed in the NFC, Kaepernick must get a lot of help from the big four of Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree.

Offensive production has been difficult to achieve for the 49ers against the Seahawks. Kaepernick had his worst statistical game of his career in Week 2 when he threw three interceptions and the 49ers failed to score a touchdown in a 29-3 loss in Seattle.

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The 49ers believe they must make the Seahawks pay for their aggression on defense. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman said teams that beat Seattle generally are able to make big plays on offense.

“I think one of the common threads is they’re going to make some chunk plays against them,” Roman said “And whether it be in the run game or the pass game, that’s a common thread of teams that have beaten Seattle.”

Tight end Vernon Davis is the 49ers’ big-play threat on offense. In the past three games, Seattle has managed to shut him down. He’s been injured twice – concussion and hamstring strain -- and in the other game he was healthy but was held without a reception.

“I think this is a game where I need to really help this team as much as I possibly can and do all I can to take care of my assignments and handle my responsibilities,” Davis said. “The team needs my help, so I’m here for them.

Wide receiver Michael Crabtree has had his moments against Seattle. But none of his 21 career touchdowns have come against the Seahawks defense. In seven career games against Seattle, Crabtree has 23 catches for 258 yards and no scores.

While there is a lot of focus on Kaepernick’s 0-2 record against Seattle, Crabtree is the first to say that all the team’s playmakers have to step up and produce.

“I wouldn’t say it’s just Kap,” Crabtree said. “It’s me, Vernon, Frank. We’ve been going through it with the Seattle Seahawks. This week is a big week for us. I can’t wait to go out there and do what I can do.”

Crabtree returned to action last week after missing the first 11 games while recovering from surgery to repair a torn Achilles. He caught two passes for 68 yards in a 23-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

As much as he was fired up for his season debut, Crabtree said the game Sunday is on an entirely different level.

“They’re (11-1),” Crabtree said. “Anybody with a record like that is supposed to be like the top team in the NFL, if not the top team. I’m like, ‘We’ll see on Sunday.’ You get hyped.

“It’s about me trying to calm myself down. It’s my second game this year and it happens to fall on the Seattle Seahawks, which is a big game. I can’t wait to go out and play.”

Boldin is new to the 49ers-Seahawks rivalry. But he experienced his fair share of frustrations in Week 2 while All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman locked onto him in man coverage for most of the game.

Boldin caught 13 passes for 208 yards in the 49ers’ opening-game victory over Green Bay. Against Seattle, he managed just one catch for 7 yards.

Gore has enjoyed more success against Seattle than any other team in the league with 1,254 yards, including a club-record 212-yard performance in 2006. The last time the 49ers defeated the Seahawks, it was mostly because of Gore’s 182 yards of total offense, including 131 yards rushing, in a 13-6 victory last season at Candlestick.

But Gore struggled along with everyone else on the 49ers’ offense in the back-to-back losses in Seattle with a combined 15 carries for 44 yards.

Said Crabtree, “It’s not about one person or two people. It’s about going out and playing as a team and winning.”