49ers-Seahawks: Matchups to watch

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49ers-Seahawks: Matchups to watch

SEATTLE -- Two streaks collide Saturday when the 49ers face the Seattle Seahawks in a game of utmost importance for both teams.The 49ers are the first team in NFL history to not allow a rushing touchdown through the first 14 games of a season. Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch has scored at least one touchdown in 10 consecutive games. During that time, he has recorded 11 rushing scores.The 49ers have not allowing a 100-yard rusher for the past 36 games -- the second-longest streak since 1970. Baltimore went 39 games (2006-'09) without allowing a 100-yard rusher. Lynch has five 100-yard games in the past seven games.This game, potentially, has playoff implications for both teams. The 49ers would clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs with victories to close the season over Seattle and St. Louis. The second seed gets a first-round playoff bye.
And the Seahawks can still make the playoffs with victories over the 49ers and Arizona to finish the regular season, along with Detroit Lions losses to San Diego and Green Bay.And the way Lynch is playing, he can be counted upon to do his part."He's hungry," 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. "It's the last stretch of the season and he wants to finish strong, and that's what he's doing."Tale of the tape
49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman (53): 6-0, 242, Penn State, second season
Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24): 5-11, 215, Cal, fifth seasonLynch stands as the biggest threat to a rushing defense that has been exceptional against the run all season.And for the 49ers, it all started in the season opener when Lynch gained just 33 yards on 11 carries at Candlestick Park in the 49ers' 33-17 victory. Lynch did not touch the ball in the fourth quarter.But after a slow start, Lynch has turned it on. He has gained 1,011 yards on 245 rushing attempts for a 4.1 average."He's as good as they come in the National Football League," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "He's always showed that. He's having a great season. He's one of, in our opinion, the top backs in the league."Said 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers, "Marshawn, he's running the ball like he just got out of jail. He's running the ball hard."The 49ers have managed to keep every running they've faced behind bars this season. But catching Lynch at this stage in the season might be the 49ers' most difficult challenge.Lynch is a powerfully built runner who does not go down easy. He had only 42 yards on 20 rushing attempts against the Chicago Bears last week, but he found the end zone twice.All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis, who has not played since sustaining a right hamstring strain early in the Dec. 4 game against the St. Louis Rams, is questionable with a hamstring strain.So Bowman will be counted upon to continue his outstanding season as the 49ers' leading tackler.Unofficially, Bowman ranks eighth in the NFL with 121 tackles on the season. The 49ers coaches, based on their film review, have credited Bowman with 135 tackles.He'll see plenty of Lynch on Saturday, as the Seahawks rely on a ground-first approach that has seen them win five of their past six games."He's a tough runner, an their offense feeds off of him," Bowman said. "We're going to have to bring our big-boy pads and stop the run and do what we've been doing all season." Other matchups worth watching
49ers DE Aldon Smith (99) vs. Seahawks LT Paul McQuistan: Smith is making a surge toward NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and he helped his cause Monday night with a 2.5-sack performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the nationally televised game. With 13 sacks on the season, Smith is just 1.5 sacks away from Jevon Kearse's NFL rookie record, which he set in 1999 with the Tennessee Titans. McQuistan saw action in just four games with no starts the previous three seasons before the Seahawks signed him off the scrap heap in January. He has seven starts, including the past two at left tackle after Russell Okung was lost for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. McQuistan has a difficult chore against the blend of quickness and strength that made Smith the No. 7 overall pick in the draft. Moreover, McQuistan and left guard Robert Gallery will be challenged on passing downs by the Smith-and-Smith combo. Aldon Smith and Justin Smith have been extremely effective at working off each other on stunts to cause problems for the left side of offensive lines.49ers RT Anthony Davis (76) vs. Seahawks LDE Chris Clemons (91): Davis will have his hands full against Clemons, who leads Seattle with 11 sacks. And he'll also have to contend with the deafening crowd noise at, perhaps, the NFL's loudest outdoor stadium. Since 2005, the opposition has averaged a league-high two false-start penalties in Seattle. Davis has done a good job this season on reducing his number of penalties. He has been called for three false starts and no holding penalties. As a rookie, he had seven false starts and two holds. Davis has also played well the past two games against Arizona and Pittsburgh after struggling in head-to-head matchups against Baltimore's Terrell Suggs and St. Louis' Chris Long.

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman/defensive end Clay Matthews Sr. passed away on Thursday, March 23rd at the age of 88. 

Matthews originally entered the NFL as a 25th round (247th overall) draft choice by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1949 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons with San Francisco (1950, 1953-55), appearing in 45 games and registering one interception. After spending his rookie season of 1950 with the 49ers, he went on to spend two years (1951-52) in the United States Army where he served in the Korean War.

A native of Charleston, SC, Matthews attended Georgia Tech where he played guard, tackle and end while earning All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1948. In 1949, Matthews was the All-Southeastern Conference heavyweight wrestling and boxing champion at Georgia Tech.

Matthews was the first of three generations to play in the National Football League. His two oldest sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., each spent 19 seasons in the NFL. Originally selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (9th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft, Bruce was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 after 14 Pro Bowl and seven First-Team All-Pro selections. Clay Jr. was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 1978 draft and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

Three of Bruce’s sons, Jake, Kevin and Mike, and two of Clay Jr.’s sons, Clay III and Casey, either have spent time or currently play in the NFL. Clay III is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers and a six-time Pro Bowl selection at linebacker while Jake is currently an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons after being selected in the first round (6th overall) by the team in 2014. 

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After signing with Giants, Draughn pens long thank you to 49ers

After signing with Giants, Draughn pens long thank you to 49ers

Shaun Draughn is now a member of the New York Giants, but he won't ever forget his brief stint with the 49ers. The running back posted a long thank you to the organization and its fans on Thursday:

"I want to say thank you to the @49ers for giving my family and I a place to call home, a chance to be apart of an organization with rich history, class and a passion for family and community," Draughn posted on Instagram. "You guys gave me my first EVER NFL start on November 8,2015 and I will cherish that moment and milestone forever.

"Thank you to all the support staff, cooks(man Ima miss those crispies in the morning lol Travis and the fellas) , custodians (my man Joe keep planting those spiritual seeds my brotha), equipment (Doc, Steve, Gilby, and the crew) trainers( Ferg, ryan, Laura) pastor Earl thank you so much for your time and pouring into us spiritually. Coaches(coach Tom Rathman thank you for having a high standard for your players and forcing me to get better at my craft) and to the Niner Faithful you guys are great and very passionate about your team you made this a great experience as well!! To my teammates I love y'all like brothas and thank you for welcoming me in with open arms and making it a pleasure to go to war with y'all no matter the record!!"

Draughn, 29, averaged 3.1 yards per carry over two seasons with the 49ers, totaling 459 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. 

I want to say thank you to the @49ers for giving my family and I a place to call home, a chance to be apart of an organization with rich history, class and a passion for family and community. You guys gave me my first EVER NFL start on November 8,2015 and I will cherish that moment and milestone forever. Thank you to all the support staff, cooks(man Ima miss those crispies in the morning lol Travis and the fellas) , custodians (my man Joe keep planting those spiritual seeds my brotha), equipment (Doc, Steve, Gilby, and the crew) trainers( Ferg, ryan, Laura) pastor Earl thank you so much for your time and pouring into us spiritually. Coaches(coach Tom Rathman thank you for having a high standard for your players and forcing me to get better at my craft) and to the Niner Faithful you guys are great and very passionate about your team you made this a great experience as well!! To my teammates I love y'all like brothas and thank you for welcoming me in with open arms and making it a pleasure to go to war with y'all no matter the record!! To the @nygiants I want to say thank you for allowing me to be apart of such a first class organization!! I am excited to go to work in the quest for #5 and to the Fans I can assure you, you will get my ABSOLUTE best and nothing less, put a stamp on it‼️‼️ thank you God for ALWAYS making a way!! #Proverbs3:5-6 #BigBlue #GMen

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