49ers key matchup No. 1: Goldson vs. Wilson

October 18, 2012, 6:47 pm
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This is the final part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Seahawks matchups to watch Thursday, 5:20 p.m. (NFL NetworkKGO-TV, Ch. 7), at Candlestick Park.
Matchup 3 -- Patrick Willis vs. Marshawn LynchMatchup 2 -- 49ers coverage unit vs. Washington
49ers FS Dashon Goldson vs. Seahawks QB Russell WilsonTale of the tape
Goldson (38): 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, sixth season, Washington
Wilson (3): 5-foot-11, 206 pounds, rookie, WisconsinThe 49ers will be facing a rookie quarterback Thursday evening who has every reason to feel confident.Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes in the final eight minutes Sunday to pull off a 24-23 upset victory over the New England Patriots.The 49ers will try to confuse Wilson, and make the rookie look like, well, a rookie. But Wilson is certainly no typical youngster.He played three seasons at North Carolina State. Coach Tom O'Brien did not welcome him back for his senior season when Wilson decided to juggle football with baseball after signing with the Colorado Rockies as a fourth-round draft pick.Wisconsin was more than happy to accept Wilson to its program last season to replace Scott Tolzien, the 49ers' third-string quarterback the past two years.Wilson's one season with the Badgers was memorable. He broke Colt Brennan's (Hawaii, 2006) NCAA record for passing efficiency. In his career, he started 50 games and set another record with 379 consecutive pass attempts without an interception.Despite mixed NFL draft evaluations, due mostly to his under-6-foot height, Wilson decided to end his quest to become a major league second baseman after two rough seasons in the minors.Now, Wilson's sole focus is on being great on the football field. He said he studied a lot of quarterbacks through the years, including 49ers Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young, to attempt to figure out the dynamics of his position."If you look at the great quarterbacks in the National Football League and Hall of Fame quarterbacks, they have tremendous leadership and unbelievable attention to detail and the competitive nature is relentless," he said. "That's what I try to bring to Sundays and every day in practice."And in his first year, it's clear he is not in awe of his surroundings."I've been impressed with him," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "I think he'll be their quarterback for a long time and credit to them for seeing through his height and picking him."Said Tolzien, "It's funny, because everyone gave him a hard time in the draft process that he was too small. He's a confident, humble guy and a good leader."The Seahawks figured they got their starter of the future in free agency when they signed former Green Bay backup Matt Flynn to a three-year, 19.5 million contract.It ended up that they got their starter in the third round of the draft."We loved what Matt brought us and we needed to see if we could upgrade the position, and then we got to the draft and Russell was available, we saw the same thing there, too," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.The Seahawks' offense is geared around the running of Marshawn Lynch. But Wilson is adept at using play-action pass to get the ball deep. He has five touchdown passes on throws of 20 yards or more down the field.The 49ers own the No. 2 pass defense in the NFL. They did not give up a pass play for a touchdown of more than 10 yards in the first six games.Pro Bowl free safety Dashon Goldson will have tough duty Thursday. Goldson often lines up between 10 and 15 yards off the line of scrimmage. With Lynch providing a huge threat in the run game, Goldson will aggressively attack the line of scrimmage to instigate huge collisions with Lynch.But if Goldson bites too hard on run support, the 49ers' defense will be susceptible to big plays over the top. The Seahawks feature a deep receiving corps that features Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Braylon Edwards.Goldson is known for making big plays in the secondary. Over the past 52 games, Goldson has intercepted 12 passes and forced five fumbles and recovered three fumbles.The 49ers are 4-0 in games in which they've intercepted a pass this season. They're 0-2 when they have not picked off the opposing quarterback. Wilson is completing 62.5 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and six interceptions.

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