49ers preparing for Seahawks' vaunted running game
Marshawn Lynch rushed for 214 total yards in two games against the 49ers last season. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
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As much as Frank Gore and the 49ers running game sputtered in the season-opening win over Green Bay, the Seahawks running game fared worse in its 12-7 victory against Carolina in Week 1.
How tough was it for Seattle?
Marshawn Lynch, who led Seattle's third-ranked rushing attack last season with 1,590 yards, had only 43 yards on 17 carries against the Panthers. The Seahawks finished with 70 total rushing yards.
"Not everything worked out the way that we¹d liked," coach Pete Carroll told The News Tribune (Tacoma). "We didn't run the ball very well. In our program, as you guys know, that's a huge focus and so we were disappointed."
Carroll said before that game, his team altered a few things in the run game after spotting certain tendencies by the Panthers on video. The adjustments obviously didn't work.
The Seahawks will use what does work Sunday against the visiting 49ers.
"We plan to go right back to business," Carroll said. "We have to do something about it this week against a tremendous defense."
The 49ers have viewed some video on Seattle already, but the intense breakdown and game planning doesn't start until today. As always, Lynch will be a focus.
"They know what kind of back he is, and all they're going to do is put him back in the game plan," 49ers linebacker Michael Wilhoite said. "It's almost like a situation where you forget where you're from for a second. And you get back to it and everything starts working better. We know what he can do. We know what he brings to the table, and we'll be prepared for it."
Lynch's potential to break out a big game is burned in the 49ers' collective memory: His 21-carry, 107-yard, one-touchdown effort on Dec. 11, 2011 snapped the 49ers' streak of 37 consecutive games without allowing a 100 yard rusher.
Lynch has rushed for 100 or more yards in four of the six games he's played against the 49ers, including 103- and 111-yard performances in 2012.
"We just got to make sure we are on top of our stuff," outside linebacker Aldon Smith said. "Defending the run, defending the option and defending the pass."
Sunday will be a big test for nose tackle Ian Williams. The third-year player joined the 49ers as an undrafted free agent rookie and earned the starting position this year. He played just 10 snaps against Green Bay last week because the 49ers defense remained in nickel and dime packages much of the game.
Williams played in only 12 of the 55 snaps at nose tackle in last December's 42-13 loss to the Seahawks. But his ability to handle a full load in the middle will be key in slowing Lynch on Sunday.
"We know from the past two seasons we are excited to go out there and have some fun and try to stop the run. They are a great team, and Marshawn Lynch is a great running back," Williams said. "It¹s going to be a great game. The fans nationwide are going to tune in to watch."