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.

Report: Chip Kelly interviews for Jags' OC job

Report: Chip Kelly interviews for Jags' OC job

Former 49ers coach Chip Kelly, who was fired hours after the club’s 2-14 season, is reportedly interviewing Monday to become the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offensive coordinator.

Kelly is interviewing with Jaguars new head coach Doug Marrone, reports radio station 1010 XL in Jacksonville.

Kelly told CSNBayArea.com recently he would take his time to determine his next career move. Kelly interviewed for the Jaguars’ head-coaching job, ESPN reported over the weekend.

“I’m not going to close the door on any opportunity, but I have to be very smart in what I do next,” Kelly said two days after his firing. “I don’t have to take anything, but I wouldn’t rule anything out. I need to make sure that I’m in the right situation.

“I don’t know what the future holds. I’ll do my due diligence. I’m not going to coach just to coach.”

The 49ers fired Kelly with three years, $18 million remaining in his contract. The 49ers hired Kelly just two weeks after the Philadelphia Eagles fired him. Kelly went 26-21 with the Eagles after leaving his successful program with the Oregon Ducks after the 2012 season.

Pats OC McDaniels 'impressed' by York, Marathe

Pats OC McDaniels 'impressed' by York, Marathe

New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels announced Monday morning he has pulled his name from consideration for the 49ers’ head-coaching job.

McDaniels interviewed with 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe on Saturday, Jan. 7, while the Patriots were on the bye week as the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. McDaniels indicated he also met with Brian Hampton, the 49ers’ director of football administration and analytics.

"I was really impressed with Jed York and Paraag and Brian, and people that came for the 49ers organization,” McDaniels said in a conference call with reporters who cover the Patriots.

“They did a great job with their presentation,” McDaniels added. “Again, (I’m) humbled to be included in that process. At this time, it's just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England, and focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out."

McDaniels said his main focus would be on helping prepare the Patriots to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in the AFC Championship game.

McDaniels, 40, was viewed as one of the hot head-coaching candidates, along with Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, this offseasons. He has served the past five seasons as New England’s offensive coordinator under Bill Belichick.

Shanahan becomes the leading candidate for the 49ers’ job. The 49ers interviewed Seattle offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable on Sunday. Shanahan and Cable are the only known remaining candidates for the job to replace Chip Kelly, who was hired after a 2-14 season.

McDaniels became Denver’s head coach in 2009. He was fired after 12 games in 2010 after his teams compiled an 11-17 record. He returned to the Patriots in 2012 and has served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on Bill Belichick’s staff.

McDaniels, who also interviewed with the 49ers last year, also had interviews on Jan. 7 with Jacksonville and the Los Angeles Rams. Jacksonville hired Doug Marrone, while the Rams hired Sean McVay.

“I've always said how grateful I am for this opportunity to work here for Mr. Kraft his family and coach under Bill with a lot of great guys on our staff and have the privilege to work with the players we get to work with each day," McDaniels said. "It's a great opportunity. Very thankful to be here and very much looking forward to this week against Pittsburgh."