49ers-Seahawks matchups to watch
Last December, the Seahawks hold Colin Kaepernick to just 19-of-36 passing for 244 yards in the 49ers' 42-13 loss. (AP)
SEATTLE – It was Colin Kaepernick’s worst game as an NFL starter. And it was the 49ers’ worst performance of the Jim Harbaugh era.
The 49ers were already trailing 35-6 when Richard Sherman intercepted Kaepernick in the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter. During and afterward, the Seahawks did plenty of squawking on the occasion of Harbaugh’s 49th birthday.
“I hope he enjoyed his gift,” said Sherman, who played at Stanford under Harbaugh.
This week, the 49ers offered no excuses for their performance in the 42-13 loss to the Seahawks in December. But they also made it clear the blowout loss is still fresh in their minds -- and they plan to do something about it against their biggest NFC West rival.
“We performed bad as a team,” said Kaepernick, who completed 19 of 36 pass attempts for 244 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His passer rating was a career-low 72.0.
Kaepernick added. “We’re going up there to try to prove that’s not who we are.”
“They just beat us,” running back Frank Gore said. “They beat us. This should be a good game.”
Said guard Alex Boone, “Any time you get blown out like that on Sunday Night Football it’s a disgrace and an embarrassment. I think they just got the better of us that day. I think this week, it’s going to be: “Let’s going out and just do us. Let’s have fun and play 49er football.”
Although the 49ers would not say it, this game sets up a lot more favorably than a year ago when the 49ers got blasted in their annual trip to the Pacific Northwest.
--The 49ers were short-handed for the trip to Seattle. Defensive end Justin Smith did not play due to a partially torn left triceps, and outside linebacker Aldon Smith was nursing a shoulder injury that would require offseason surgery.
--The Seahawks will play Sunday night without cornerback Brandon Browner (hamstring) and pass-rusher Bruce Irvin (suspension for use of PEDs). Also, defensive linemen Cliff Avril (hamstring) and Chris Clemons (knee) did not play in Week 1.
--The 49ers are healthy. Running back LaMichael James is the only player on the 49ers’ injury report. He will not be one of the 46 active players. (And even if he were healthy, it’s no guarantee that he would be active, anyway, as the No. 3 running back behind Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter.)
--Of course, the 49ers do not have wide receiver Michael Crabtree (Achilles). And the Seahawks do not have offseason pickup Percy Harvin (hip). Both players have strong chances to be available for the return match on Dec. 8 at Candlestick Park. And Mario Manningham should also be available for the 49ers, too.
--The 49ers completely downplayed the travel element of last season. But it’s worth mentioning, nonetheless. The 49ers traveled to New England the previous week and played an intense Sunday night game against the Patriots. This time, the Seahawks are coming off a tightly contested cross-country. The Seahawks squeezed out a 12-7 victory in 87-degree heat at the Carolina Panthers.
--This time, the game is being played on Pete Carroll’s 62nd birthday. Will the 49ers return the favor and have a gift for the Seahawks coach?